Krause Springs, 34 miles west of Austin in Spicewood, is possibly the most beautiful swimming hole in the state. Situated on a bluff overlooking Cypress Creek, Krause Springs is actually two swimming holes in one. As the rolling ranch land begins its rapid descent to the creek and Lake Travis, the Krause home sits at a high point with the parking lot. At the next level below the house is the spring-fed swimming pool and below that is the creek, lined with towering cypress trees and a waterfall coming over a cliff covered with ferns. Elton and Jane Krause bought the property in the 1950s from an aunt. Every year, Elton, his sons, and hired help find more improvements to add to the privately owned park. They did all of the landscaping that makes the area look like a tropical oasis and built all of the rock picnic benches. They used to have wooden picnic tables, but after every weekend the tables would be clustered together and they would have to spread them all out again. Elton retired to operate the park full-time in 1994. The site is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and was probably used by Native Americans for centuries before white settlers arrived. There are 32 springs throughout the campground, which made it perfect for the original Native American residents and now benefits latter-day campers and swimmers. Two springs feed the 70’ by 20’ swimming pool at a rate of 70 gallons a minute at a temperature of about 70 degrees. The springs have never slowed down, even during severe drought. Over the years, the Krauses have added 24 sites with hookups for recreational vehicles. The tent camping area is a meadow above the creek with lots of shade trees. Boaters often put in at the boat ramp at the LCRA park at the end of Spur 191 and ride around to the campground. Hikers are welcome to explore the trails on the property, but are reminded to respect fence lines. Krause Springs is west of Austin off of TX 71 and Spur 191 into Spicewood. Take Texas Highway 71 west from Austin, cross the Pedernales River, drive 7 miles, turn right on Spur 191 at the Exxon Station, right on County Road 404 and look for a sign on the left directing you to this private park. The campground is open year-round and during the summer months for swimming, 9am-dusk.