Part of my trip being an adventure rather than a vacation is never knowing what I am going to find until I get somewhere. I made a reservation at this park because someone recommended it and told me it had a spring and pool, and it was on my way to San Antonio and not far off Interstate 10. It was a long drive from Carlsbad across some of the flattest and dryest land I had ever seen. Then when I got close to the state park, the land got hillier and I could see mountains in the distance.
Some history: This park was constructed over a natural spring by the Civilian Conservation Corp in the 30s. They built a campground, motel units, administration buildings, and a 3.5 million gallon pool over the springs. This web site gives more detail: http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/state-parks/balmorhea
The water comes directly into the pool through the sandy and rocky bottom, at the rate of 1,000,000 gallons per hour. That's enough to produce a very fast-flowing stream coming out of the pool and into a reconstructed wetland and then into draining ditches that are used for irrigation. I have not seen this much flowing water since I came west! In a desert environment, this is amazing and must have been used by native Americans, but I could not find any information on this. There are fish in both the pool and the wetlands, including two endangered species, one of which lives lnly in this spring.
The bottom of the big pool is natural rock and sand, although I am sure it was moved around a bit during construction. The sides are cement and depth ranges from 3' to 25'. You can rent skin diving gear and get lessons there, as well as just enjoy swimming.
Here are some pictures of the pool and the stream leaving the pool. You can see how crystal clear the water is. One of the irrigation ditches ran directly behind my campsite, and I could see little fish even there. You would have difficulty standing up in this ditch because of the fast current produced by this spring.
And here is the campground and the motel units. (Notice that all picnic sites in this part of the country have metal or cement roofs because of the summer sun.) If you ever go to west Texas, just south of Pecas, stop here for a swim or a dive! It's only about 5 miles off of I 10.