It’s no secret — the peak of summer is hot in the Lake Travis area!
When temperatures start to climb and reach the triple digits, you might find it difficult to go outside. But after a few days spent indoors with your kids watching movies and playing video games in the comfort of air conditioning, you all start to get the cabin fever.
Trying to find relief at the neighborhood pool is tough when the water temperature is like that of a hot tub. Even the swimming holes at Lake Travis can feel like you’re jumping into a warm bath this time of year.
There are still a few places where the water is cold and refreshing.
You could head downtown and join the crowds getting relief from the heat in the cool waters of Barton Springs. But if you don’t feel like leaving the Lake Travis area, then you don’t have to go far. Just head on over to the Low Water Crossing located just below Mansfield Dam on Lake Austin.
The water that drains through the lower gates of the Mansfield Dam and runs under the bridge just downstream comes from the bottom of Lake Travis. You can expect it to be clear and cold! After a few rope swings and jumps off the bridge, you’ll be ready to rest in the sun and let the summer heat start to warm you up again.
If you’ve never been to the Low Water Crossing, here are a few things you’ll want to know:
Swift water and weeds
The water in this part of Lake Austin can have a strong current, especially if the Lower Colorado River Authority (LCRA) is releasing water from Mansfield Dam. Also, be aware of hydrilla and other weeds that could entangle you and make it difficult to swim.
Wearing a life jacket is not required but the LCRA encourages all swimmers (especially your little ones) to wear one. You never know what might happen when you combine cold water, swift currents, jumping, rocks, and weeds. Be careful out there!
Jumping off the bridge is illegal
There’s an Austin city ordinance that prohibits jumping or diving from any bridge over the Colorado River (Lake Austin). So technically, it’s illegal to jump from the span going across the lake.
The Lake Patrol Unit of the Austin Police Department patrols this area frequently. It’s not unlikely that you’ll see all kinds of people jumping from the bridge on a hot summer day. Just know that it could result in a ticket if it happens to be your unlucky day.
You can access this cold swimming hole by turning on the Low Water Crossing Road off Ranch Road 620 on the north side of Mansfield Dam (map).
The land on the north side of Lake Austin is owned by the Lower Colorado River Authority. It’s not a park but there are several parking spots and an area for day use. Fishing and swimming are allowed (but you’re not supposed to fish off the bridge).
As with most activities on the lake, weekends can be busier than weekdays, so plan accordingly and keep this spot a secret!