Barkin' Springs – Austin, Texas - Atlas Obscura

Barkin' Springs

A free, canine-friendly alternative watering hole near the more famous Barton Springs.  

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Located immediately downstream from the spillway current that comes out of Barton Springs, Austin’s big, spring-fed, municipal swimming hole, Barkin’ Springs just might be regarded as a direct rebellion against its bigger neighbor, and its admission fees, lifeguards, and no-dogs policy. 

The visitors from all walks of life who congregate at this swimming hole seem to share one common value: their love for dogs. This canine-lover’s paradise is almost always filled with life and activity, from owners playing fetch, children sliding down the spillway, dogs chasing each other through the water, and people who come to swim and watch. It’s a little rougher around the edges, but it is in keeping with Austin’s spirit. 

Know Before You Go

The easiest way to access Barkin’ Springs is down the staircase off of the Hike and Bike Trail just east of the Zilker Park Playground. The best parking for this access point is in the first parking lot adjacent to William Barton Drive when coming from Barton Springs Road.