Jacob’s Well: Gorgeous (and Dangerous) Fun

There’s something so alluring about a place filled with so much beauty and pristine nature- yet that has taken the lives of multiple people.

Under her crystal clear waters- more specifically, 120 feet under her crystal clear waters- Jacob’s Well has quietly claimed at least 12 lives since 1935.

And yet, this artesian spring remains quite a popular destination for those in the Texas Hill Country.

If you know me, you know I’m a sucker for some gorgeous nature and a good story. That’s why I jumped at the chance to see Jacob’s Well last summer.

(You can see some other beautiful parts of the Texas Hill Country in my video below.

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When splashing around in the crystal clear water, you can’t imagine the chilling tales that lurk beneath!!

Read on, my friend!

What it is

Jacob’s Well is a perpetual artesian spring north of Wimberley, Texas. It goes down for 120 feet, gushing water from the Trinity Aquifer which acts as the well’s primary source of water.

Born from an eroded two-mile thick layer of limestone, Jacob’s Well is also the headwaters of Cypress Creek (formerly Jacobs Well Creek) that flows through the City of Woodcreek, the City of Wimberley, and the Blue Hole Regional Park before feeding right into the Blanco River.

In the 1850s, it was used by the first Texas pioneers as a water supply for their saw mill and to irrigate the fields. In the 1900s, it would actually push gallons of water up into the air- as high as 6 feet!

It is normally open for swimming from May 1 to September 30 and closed from October 1 to April 30. This is in time for its annual period of aquatic restoration to keep the wildlife and vegetation around it healthy. It’s also closed during major holidays like Christmas, New Year’s Day, etc.

Aside from swimming in this gorgeous spring of water, scuba diving was one of the water activities you can do in the area, as Jacob’s Well is believed to have the longest underwater cave in the state.

But after it stopped flowing water in 2000, restrictions were made on human activity at Jacob’s Well Natural Area to help preserve it.

2023 Note: The Hays Trinity Groundwater Conservation District has declared an emergency stage on its groundwater supplies because of the exceptional drought being experienced in the area. Jacob’s Well is also affected by this drought and currently has very low water levels; consequently, it is closed for swimming until further notice.

Hays County Parks Department will only allow swim access and swim reservations once the Well has regained its sustainable, continuous flow. Meanwhile, the Wimberley Valley Watershed Association (WVWA), a non-profit organization led by David Baker, is also closely keeping an eye on the status of Jacob’s Well. Let’s just hope things get better soon!

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The Caves’ lure

So back to Jacob’s Well claiming lives. At least twelve divers have lost their lives trying to conquer the water, according to the Houston Chronicle.

The danger of the Well lies in her four cave chambers, and trying to dive into them.

These caves are alluring, so much so that people will risk their lives to see them – despite it being one of the most dangerous diving spots in the country.

The first two chambers of the Well are easy enough to explore. They are both bright and accessible. The first chamber is even home to algae and wildlife!

The one problem with the second chamber is its false exit– a spot that looks like it will lead you to the surface but will trap you as you run out of air. One of the eight perished in this spot.

Moving further into Jacob’s Well, the third chamber is much more difficult to navigate.

It is a smaller chamber with a gravel floor that requires water wings to navigate.

When you reach the fourth chamber, things start getting near impossible. The passage gets very narrow, making it extremely difficult to dive without having to remove your air tank.

So why explore it? The fourth chamber is a “virgin cave” that features beautiful limestone formations and no gravel, which makes divers want to witness it for themselves.

But what makes it more difficult is the silt lining the bottom. One accidental step could easily block your vision as silt fills the water, completely blinding and disorienting you.

The body of a young diver from Pasadena remained at the bottom of the chambers for almost two decades, until the San Marcos Area Recovery Team accidentally discovered it while videotaping the caves.

These caverns quietly claim lives, even with restrictions put in place by local authorities.

Planning on visiting?

Swimming is currently not allowed in Jacob’s Well as of April 2023. There is no advice yet on when they’ll reallow swimming in the waters since that will depend on precipitation and groundwater flow, and the ongoing drought has adverse effects on both.

Be sure to always check this website for updates regarding the water situation before your scheduled trip.

If you want to visit, you can reserve your spot online here. After all, you can still hike around the area and view the spring without paying a fee!

You’ll get a wristband that corresponds with your time slot at the ticket booth at the entrance to the parking lot.

Also, when we went, Google Maps was giving us all sorts of strange directions to get to the Well.

You’re going to want to listen to the signs on the road instead of your phone map.

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After parking, you’ll go down a trail to reach the Well. It’s a pretty easy and relatively short hike (you can definitely do it in sandals). It’s not stroller friendly though, so if you have little ones with you, you may want to consider leaving behind their strollers in the car.

What you’ll find

  • Other people. When I looked it up, the Hays County website said that 300 people were allowed per day, and it can easily reach that number during peak hours. You pay for a two-hour time slot, and once reservations for your time slot are full, no one else can join. When we went, there were about 30 people. Keep in mind that you can go into the surrounding park without a reservation, you just can’t swim in the water.
  • Slippery rocks. The bottom of the river surrounding the well is quite slippery, so move slowly!
  • Multiple jump-off points. There are two main levels where people jump from, one at a decent height from the water, and one way above. You’ve really got to have the guts to jump off the top one, in my opinion.

What to bring

If you’re lucky enough to visit Jacob’s Well when they’re allowing visitors to swim in the crystal clear waters, don’t forget to bring the following essential items!

  • Sunscreen!
  • Your bathing suit
  • You are allowed to bring water shoes if you want
  • A towel
  • Your reservation email (though I’m pretty sure they can look up your name to confirm your reservation)
  • A waterproof phone case like this one!
  • Snacks
  • Small coolers for food

Hopefully, the water supply in Jacob’s Well and in the surrounding area will improve soon so that you too can experience the great fun we had during our visit!

Have you been to Jacob’s Well before? What is your favorite sight in the Texas Hill Country? Comment below!

If you’re visiting the area, check out the 12 Most Instagrammable Places in Austin!

Heading further south? Check out the Top 40 Instagram Spots in San Antonio!

And if you are planning on going, stay safe, and have fun!

Safe travels!


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Jasmine Alley

Jasmine Alley

I'm a Dallas-based, full-time travel blogger with a serious case of wanderlust! Through my website and Instagram, I hope to help others plan picture-perfect trips to the most beautiful places in the world! When I travel, I like to emphasize nature, hidden gems, and unique places.
Jasmine Alley

Jasmine Alley

I'm a Dallas-based, full-time travel blogger with a serious case of wanderlust! Through my website and Instagram, I hope to help others plan picture-perfect trips to the most beautiful places in the world! When I travel, I like to emphasize nature, hidden gems, and unique places.

35 Responses

        1. Great question- and it’s not obvious at all! Local legend has it that it was named Jacob’s Well because of it reminded the locals of the biblical Jacob’s Well. Originally the Wimberley well spouted clear, cool water up to 10-30 feet high!

  1. It looks just beautiful, but just how cold is the water? What is the average daily temperature during the summer months? I would really love to experience Jacobs Well, when would be the best and least busy time to swim?

    1. Hi Sadie! The water is cold but compared to the hot Texas summers, it feels amazing! It is usually in the 90s during the summer. I’d recommend visiting on a weekday if possible or earlier in the day if you want it to be less busy! Enjoy it!

  2. I went there several times around 2013 and 2014 but I don’t remember needing a reservation or anything else. So it must have become more regulated in the last few years.

    1. I had heard that it used to be like that! They started regulating it when they noticed a change in the Well’s behavior, so now a reservation is required. I bet it was a beauty in 2013 and 14!

    1. Hi Megan! From what I saw, it seemed to be child friendly in the shallow areas around the well- just make sure they have proper flotation devices on and that you keep an eye on them since it can get crowded! The ticketing for Jacob’s Well only allows a specific amount of people at one time, but it still can feel like a lot of people at max capacity!

  3. Are there two places in Texas called Jacob’s Well? My husband and I were visiting Texas so we googled it and followed signs. We came to a place called Jacob’s Well and we hiked to it. We did not have to pay but it didn’t look like this at all. If there was a deep well, it want visible and the water wasn’t clear it was murky. Maybe the well was under the murky water and we just couldn’t see it? I was very confused and disappointed. I wonder if this has happened to anyone else?

    1. Hi Julia! Did you pass an entrance station? You need to pay to go in and get a stamp or wristband. And unless there was a huge storm recently, the water should be crystal clear! My friend went in June and it looked just like my visit to Jacob’s Well! I hope you are able to visit again because it’s a stunning place!

  4. I was there in the 70’s as in 1970’s. Looks as beautiful now as then, but never saw water shooting up at all. Was there several times.

  5. I hate to be asking this but at the same time I’m not cause I would really love to plan our next family vaca around going to this place. How much is it per person to go to Jacob’s well for the 2 hrs and can you reserve your spot for say like 6 hrs??

    1. Hi! It is $9 for adults and $5 for children (5-12) and seniors. But unfortunately that only holds your spot for two hours! I guess if you wanted six hours, you could potentially book three time slots in a row!

  6. I visited Jacob’s Well the summer of 1979. Made the trip on the back of a motorcycle, wearing cut offs and my bathing suit top, so leaving from Galveston I was exposed to all those burning rays for quite a while! And I had a huge muffler burn on my leg, so when we arrived I immediately submerged myself in those crystal clear cold waters and never wanted to leave! It wasn’t as commercialized back then, just free and open to the public and being on the motorcycle we parked right close to the well. But it was getting dark so we had to leave, but from what I remember it was a beautiful place to cool off after riding in the hot sun all day!

  7. I visited Jacob’s Well for the first time in the early 1980s when it was privately owned by 5 surrounding ranches that had easements to it. It was much better then – no crowds, no litter, no time limits. Only family members and guests of those ranches had access. We stayed at Coleman’s Canyon each time. Sharon Coleman died several years ago; the property belongs to her sons now. The spring is now being operated as a park, to its ultimate detriment.

  8. This sounds like a great place to dive but you didn’t mention that on your article. May I dive the well? May I bring my own diving gear? Are there gear or breathing gas available on site or nearby? What’s the minimum certification needed. Thanks

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Hi, I’m Jasmine! I’m a nature-obsessed, beauty-finding, Jesus-loving dreamer with a serious case of wanderlust. I love to create photo-worthy travel content and hope to fill your travel plans with incredible beauty and breathtaking views! Thanks for following along on my adventures!

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