Are you looking for an alternative to visiting the Hamilton Pool Preserve in Dripping Springs? Or maybe you are an avid rock climber? Then Reimers Ranch is the park for you!
A quick drive from Austin, just past Bee Cave, you can explore Milton Reimers Ranch Park! This is a wonderful park to spend the day with kids. You can hike, bike and even swim!
Read on for all the details you need to know before planning a day trip to Reimers Ranch! This is the guide I wish we would have had before our last minute trip to check out another wonderful park in Travis County!
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Overview of Milton Reimers Ranch Park
Milton Reimers Ranch Park is a well known destination for bouldering and rock climbing! When rock climbing is open to the public, the park fills up quickly in the morning. (Currently closed for Covid).
Reimers Ranch Park has trails that are great for mountain biking and hiking. This Travis County Park is a great destination for spending time with the family.
There is easy access to the Pedernales River, and the sandy beach is open year round. Even in the middle of winter, families can go and play in the sand and enjoy the (very) cold water! This is especially great now since the Hamilton Pool Preserve is closed for swimming.
Best of all, Reimers Ranch Park is in Dripping Springs, Texas and only a short drive from Austin. So check out this underrated park for an excellent day trip from Austin!
How to get to Milton Reimers Ranch Park from Austin
Milton Reimers Ranch Park is only 40 minutes away from downtown Austin. To get to the park you will need to drive west on either Bee Cave road or the I-71.
After you pass Bee Cave, on the I-71 West you will turn off to Hamilton Pool Road. Continue on this road for about 15 minutes (11 miles). The turn off to Milton Reimers Ranch will be on your right.
As you enter the park you will pass a booth to pay the entrance fee, which typically runs 5 dollars per adult. (As of January 2021 the fee is being waived).
It is another 2 miles to get to the first parking lot for hiking (Reimers Climbing Parking Lot). Alternatively keep driving to the second parking lot (Reimers Ranch Swimming Hole) for quick access to the beach or the third parking lot for more hiking and climbing (Reimers North Shore Climbing Parking Lot).
If you are using navigation to get to the park, I suggest inputting the specific parking lot you wish to access.
The Pedernales River
When you first get to the park, have a look at the blue green water of the Pedernales River.
The Pedernales River was named Arroyo de los Pedernales by Spanish explorers after the type of flint rock that is found in the riverbed. It flows for 106 miles, flowing into the Colorado River at Lake Travis.
It is the most northern watershed of the Balcones Canyonlands section of the Edward Plateau. The Pedernales River flows through Lyndon B Johnson State Park and Pedernales Falls State Park.
Trails at Milton Reimers Ranch Park
See that picture of the map above? That is the best map that was available at Reimers Ranch. Unfortunately, the trail names on the map do not match up with the actual signage at the park!
So I will try to give you some more insight into the actual trails.
Multi Use Trail
The big yellow multi use trail, is the trail you would use for mountain biking. You could also walk it, however, it is all above the river, so there are no views.
Nature Trail and ADA Compliant Trail
The small red trail “Nature Trail” is a really tiny walkway that is near the Rock Climbers parking lot. It is flat and there are a few signs with some information about the plants and natural features in the surroundings.
What is marked as the ADA compliant trail, is partially paved and partially flat dirt. I believe it was marked as the Granite trail on the sign coming from the parking lot. This trail will take you easily and quickly to the beach parking lot.
Trails from the Beach Parking Lot
From the beach parking lot you have three choices. The beach road is large enough for a vehicle and goes straight down to the beach. You are not allowed to park at the beach, but you can drop off and pick up there. Great if you are planning to spend time playing by the water.
Your other two choices are the Upper River Trail which goes along the river to your left, and is half a mile long. Alternatively, the Lower River Trail to your right is a mile and a half. These are the green markings on the map labeled as Primitive Trail.
Note that at the end of the Upper River Trail, you will need to climb up rocks in a portion of Climbers Canyon to get back to the parking lot! (Or walk back the way you came).
Hiking at Reimers Ranch (with Kids)
We spent several hours at Reimers Ranch with our four kids. The older three were walking and our baby in the hiking carrier. (I’m sure if you’ve been reading this blog for a while you’re starting to see a trend!)
We started with the nature trail to get some views of the Pedernales River from above. There is a picnic area right between the trail and the parking lot, and restrooms right there. (Closed for Covid).
From there we took the flat wide trail to the beach access. All of the kids had the best time playing in the sand, and sticking their feet in the freezing water.
From there we hiked the Upper River Trail along the water. This was a really fun trail with lots of different access point to go down to the river along the way.
When we reached what was supposed to be the end of the trail, we had to figure out how to get back! There were no markings, but with the help of some other hikers, we were able to find the turn off to the left which started climbing back up.
You will see the the trail curve in toward the hill, and thats where the trail narrows, and and you can start climbing up. Here ↓.
After a few steps climbing up, we found ourselves surrounded by rocks. Essentially we were doing a section of Climbers Canyon!
The kids absolutely loved the cave like formations and as we continued climbing up there was a section for holding on to a chain for a little bit while walking along the water! Exciting stuff! The final section had a few more steps and a clear trail to go up and reach the parking lot.
I have to say that figuring out how to get back was a little unnerving, since there were so many different turn offs and possibilities. However, it ended up being quite the adventure and we definitely recommend it! The big kids especially had a blast!