Swimming Holes on Bull Creek

This is swimming weather. A hot and sunny afternoon like we had today transports me back in time.

Before we moved back to Marble Falls, we spent almost a decade living near Jollyville in two locations.

From 1958 until 1965 we lived down Spicewood Springs Road, where I’ve written about breaking Shetlands, raising Angora goats, playing with copperheads and rattlesnakes and had every kind of adventure young boys could have ever wished for.

The beautiful Bull Creek meandered up through a nice peaceful valley from Lake Austin just below the Loop 360 – Pennybacker Bridge to the head of it near where we lived. Our mother would take us all along that creek when we were real young and let us swim in the many swimming holes. Many times cousins and friends would be with us.

After we were older and started riding horses we’d ride our horses or in my case my donkey to those same swimming spots. All were on private land but no one ever objected. It was a way of life for people to take advantage of the creek and it’s cool clean water.

It’s unthinkable now but as the road, Spicewood Springs Rd., found its way right along the length of the creek through the valley is crossed back and forth. At almost any of the crossings there was a rock bottom adjacent where people would drive their cars into the shallow waters and park, get out with buckets and soap and give them a bath. No one ever thought about the environmental impact of those actions. It was just a part of life.

Time and increases in population has taken a toll on this creek. The runoff from development has left this once pristine creek with a lot of algae growth and many of the deep swimming holes have silted up. It’s heartbreaking to see it now and remember what it was like sixty years ago.

The pictures below are a good representation of the beauty that we lived among. Just imagine how it was in the 1950s and 1960s.

10 thoughts on “Swimming Holes on Bull Creek

  1. I also lived in Jollyville and enjoyed the splendid joy of playing, riding and yes, washing cars in that creek. It was long before the subdivisions swallowed up the beauty of that place!! Thank you for the pic’s and bringing back all the wonderful memories they brought back to my old mind. Do you remember all the Cedar Choppers that lived along Spicewood Rd? A guy I went to highschool with wrote a wonderful book about them. I had gone to High School with a few. They seemed a bit scary until getting acquainted then I realized they were the nicest down to earth people. AHS 60-63. Lived there, Spicewood area, 1975-1985 then built a home and moved to Lake Travis between Cedar Park & Leander….now being swallowed up by rooftops so remembering back when was truly heartwarming!! Thanking you again!!


  2. The dogs pictured in the article running loose in the water are a major contributor to the pollution of Bull Creek. Dogs are required to be on a leash here, folks. Otherwise there’s no way you can monitor and control your pet’s pooping habits.


  3. When I was at UT in the mid-sixties, my friends and I would walk up the creek, in the water, starting just before it emptied into Barton Springs. The water was frigid, and felt so great on a hot, Texas afternoon. We scoped out just the right place, put our drinks in the freezing water, and lie on our backs on flat rocks in the sun, like lazy lizards, for hours. Just thinking about it, I can still feel the warmth of the rocks, taste the ice-cold beer, and smile at the easy camaraderie of bygone days!

    Liked by 1 person

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