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Heart of the Hill Country: Jacob’s Well

Jul 18, 2017

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Some places are just different — there’s a brightness to them, an energy, and they have the power to bring together people of all ages and all walks of life. They’re the lifeblood of our region, and over the year, we’ll be highlighting some of these special places across our service area. We’re calling them Hearts of the Hill Country — because when we’re there, we’re community.

Jacob’s Well, an artesian spring a few miles north of Wimberley, isn’t your average dip in the pool. With its crystal clear waters fringed with green and blue, this popular swimming hole has been drawing Central Texans for at least 150 years.

"[Visitors] always ask, 'How deep is the well?'" Quincy Kennedy, education coordinator of Jacob’s Well Natural Area, said. "The long cave system flows out of this location and forms all of Cypress Creek, but it all started as a small crack in the limestone, as a small spring."

Over the course of millions of years, the water continued to erode the limestone, creating a cave. Today, it descends 30 feet at its opening, but its restricted, narrow chambers extend to a total depth of 137 feet.

There are two different legends behind the origin of the name Jacob's Well. One credits William Winters, a founder of Wimberley. He went for a hike up the creek one day, and when he found the well, he felt inspired, Kennedy said.

"Its depth and clarity reminded him of biblical times, and ever since then, it was referred to as Jacob's Well," Kennedy explained. "The other story we have around here is [that the well] was named after Jacob de Cordova, who owned the land in the area, and people would go to Jacob's well to swim."

Regardless of how its name came to be, Jacob's Well is one of the most popular cool-off spots in Central Texas. The swimming season there runs May 1 to Oct. 1, and because of its popularity, swimmers must make a reservation on the Hays County website to take the plunge. 

But the swimming hole isn’t the only feature at the site: Jacob’s Well is surrounded by a natural area where visitors can hike, bird watch, go geocaching or just enjoy a family picnic. Free educational tours are led by the Master Naturalists of Hays County, and more is in the works.

"The county is trying to create an educational facility here to allow people to see some of the photos of the research that's been done about groundwater in the area and why it's so precious," Kennedy said. "It will give something to the people to take away with them about how groundwater works and what they can do to protect it in the future."

Whether you're looking to escape the Texas heat in its cool water or enjoy its hiking trails, the Jacob's Well Natural Area is one of Central Texas' truly special places. Learn more and make your reservation for the swimming hole at www.co.hays.tx.us/jwna.aspx.


Read more Heart of the Hill Country features about unique local spots where our community comes together.

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