Home of the world’s largest spring-fed swimming pool, Balmorhea State Park is located in Toyahvale in West Texas. The park has been open since the 1930s and welcomes more than 200,000 visitors each year.
Balmorhea State Park gets its water from the San Solomon Springs, which has provided water for humans, animals, and plants for thousands of years.
The area was used by Native Americans who called the springs Mescalero Springs to water their horses. Later, Mexican farmers who gave the springs their current name hand-built canals they used for their crop’s irrigation.
Farmers still use the water from the springs today and take advantage of its current as it travels almost four miles to irrigate alfalfa and cotton crops in the area.
Activities at Balmorhea State Park
Swimming at Balmorhea State Park
Swim at Balmorhea State Park’s pool, where more than fifteen million gallons of water from the San Solomon Springs pass through each day. The pool encompasses 1.3 acres of land and is up to 25 feet deep.
The pools’ water temperature always stays between 72 and 76 degrees making it the perfect swimming spot year-round. You will be able to access the pool whenever you want since it is open every single day and available once you purchase the park entry fee. Keep in mind that there is no lifeguard on duty.
Visitors must be older than 15 years old to swim in the park without a guardian. All those who are younger must be supervised at all times by a responsible adult, parent, or legal guardian who is older than 17.
Scuba Diving at Balmorhea State Park
You’ll able to Scuba Dive at the park if you are licenses or a student that is accompanied by your instructor. All individual scuba divers must use the buddy system, meaning that a minimum of two certified divers is required to dive.
The park will charge a $5 scuba diving fee and will ask you to sign a diving agreement (make sure you check the office hours prior to showing up). You will also be required to show your certification cards (“C” Cards) or up to date logbooks.
Please visit here to learn more about scuba diving in Balmorhea State Park.
Wildlife at Balmorhea State Park
The area is home to a variety of wildlife within the springs and on land. The springs are home to two endangered fishes: the Pecos gambusia as well as the Comanche Springs pupfish. The park is also home to white-tailed deer, turtles, lizards, and songbirds.
Plants at Balmorhea State Park
When it comes to plants, the desert wetland area is the perfect environment for moisture-loving plants that tend to grow near the water’s edge. In the higher regions of this Texas state park, you will be sure to find grasslands and farm fields.
Shop at Balmorhea State Park
Don’t miss out on taking some souvenirs with you from the park’s shop. In it, you will find t-shirts, knickknacks, and swimming and snorkeling gear.
Protecting Solomon Springs at Balmorhea State Park
The historic state park is home to many endangered species that are dependent on the San Solomon Springs to survive.
This is why the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department has taken measures to make sure that oil and gas productions in the area does not impact the springs.
The plan to take action began in 2016, and in 2018, the scientists working to save the springs published recommendations on how the impact on the park, the wildlife, and the springs can be minimized.
As of 2017, the park along with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality has been monitoring water quality, quantity, and species.
Attractions near Balmorhea State Park
There are several other attractions you can visit in the area like the Fort Davis National Historic Site. The frontier post is of significance to the history of the southwest and is open to visitors daily from 8am to 5pm. Once at the site, you will be able to tour the barracks, commissary, kitchen, and post-hospital to look inside the daily life of the fort during its active years.
McDonald Observatory is also nearby located near Fort Davis. It is the perfect stop for those who like to look up at the sky. Tour their exhibits and learn about their research telescopes on your next visit.
Learn about the wild west at the West of Pecos Museum. This historical landmark opened back in 1963. The museum is made up of a saloon and a hotel. Today, the museum has three floors that host more than fifty rooms full of exhibits about West Texas.
The Chihuahuan Desert Nature Center & Botanical Gardens can be found at the bottom of the Davis Mountains. The center offers exhibits where you can learn about the geology, culture, and history of the area.
You will also be handed maps of the trails at the visitor center if you would like to take a closer look at the majestic views. The botanical gardens are also a nice place to walk as they offer trails covered by different native plants and lively birds, lizards, butterflies, and bees.
Another nearby attraction is the Museum of Big Bend in Alpine in the Sul Ross State University Campus in Alpine, Texas. The museum offers a variety of exhibits and workshops focused on local history, art, and culture.
Camping at Balmorhea State Park
Balmorhea State Park offers visitors the opportunity to stay overnight at one of their 34 campsites or the San Solomon Springs Courts a retro lodge built by the CCC.
There are some campsites that offer electricity, cable, or both. There are also campsites for larger groups and a group hall for gatherings.
The park has picnic sites, a playground, and outdoor sports areas for those looking for dry activities.
Make sure to check availability and reserve online.
Adult: $7 Daily | Child 12 Years and Under: Free
8 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. (or sunset, whichever comes first).
Balmorhea State Park
Toyahvale, TX 79786
Here is a short YouTube video showcasing several attractions at Balmorhea State Park: