Jacob's Well – Wimberley, Texas - Atlas Obscura

Jacob's Well

Wimberley, Texas

A popular swimming hole that hides one of America's most deadly diving spots. 

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Sitting at the bottom of an enticing pile of large rocks, Jacob’s Well welcomes playful swimmers each year in addition to scuba divers who don’t mind taking their lives into their own hands.

From the surface, the circular, blue pond reaches down 30 feet deep in a vertical drop, the perfect depth for young rock jumpers, but even further down, the hole becomes a network of dangerous caves perfect for adventure-seeking divers. After the initial shaft, the chamber curves into a number of tight caves that have trapped over a dozen divers who suffocated in the dark caves, unable to get out.

The well is the second-largest fully-submerged cave in Texas and is fed from the Trinity Aquifer. It’s a constant 68°F.

Despite the numerous deaths, thrill-seekers refuse to stay away from the dive. One local diver went so far as to install an iron grate over the entrance of one of the more dangerous caves. Shortly after the grate was put in place it was found removed, accompanied by a note scrawled on plastic that said, “You can’t keep us out.” 

Jacob’s Well looms large in the minds of local children, who challenge one another to jump off ever higher rocks into the pristine depths and tell one another ghost stories about the divers who have lost their lives below.

Despite the ghost stories and dangers of scuba diving, swimming at Jacob’s Well is reasonably safe and incredibly popular.

Know Before You Go

Reservations are required to go swimming, although you are free to look around year-round without a reservation.

The swim season runs from May 1 to October 1 each year, and reservations tend to fill up weeks in advance.

Looking around is free (in addition to the well, there's a small nature trail at the park), but swimming comes with a fee.

It's about a 15-minute walk from the parking area to the well, including a sometimes slippery descent right before you reach the swimming area.

If you're visiting during the swim season but want to enjoy the park without the crowds, Jacob's Well offers "hiking only" hours from 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m.

No dogs or pets are allowed at the park.

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