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 eight lives since 1935.
And yet, she 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, so I jumped at the chance to see Jacob’s Well last summer.
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 natural spring that goes down for 120 feet, gushing water from the Trinity Aquifer.
In the 1900’s, it would actually push water up into the air- as high as 6 feet!
But after it stopped flowing water in 2000, restrictions were made on human activity at Jacob’s Well to help preserve it.
The lure of the caves
So back to Jacob’s Well claiming lives. Eight, to be exact.
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.
The first two chambers of the Well are easy enough to explore. They are both bright and accessible.
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 (source).
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 features beautiful limestone formations, 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 (source).
The body of a young diver from Pasedna remained at the bottom of the chambers for over 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.
But don’t let this scare you from jumping into her cool waters! As long as you’re not cave diving, I think it is relatively safe!
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Planning on visiting?
Reservations are most definitely required!
You can easily reserve your spot online here, and pay by card when you arrive.
You’ll get a wrist band 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.
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).
What you’ll find
- Other people. When I looked it up, the Hays County website said that 300 people were allowed per day. 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 in to 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 guts to jump off the top one, in my opinion.
What to bring
- 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!
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!
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