Krause Springs is just the right amount of trashy. Not Florida trashy. Just trashy enough that if you want to spend the day with your kids floating in tubes, drinking beer and ashing your cigarette into the water, you’re welcome to do so.
But you know, that’s kind of what makes it great.
These springs used to be the drinking water for the town of Spicewood, when they were called Spicewood Springs. Today, they are managed by the Krause family. You can find the Krauses at the springs everyday, collecting entry fees from their patio or their kitchen window. That’s part of what makes this place great, too: it feels like you’re checking into a summer bible camp held at some church member’s ranch house. Except you are dragging a cooler of beer.
The springs bubble up all over the property, and over the years the Krauses have channeled their flow to feed various water features: a wishing well, a babbling brook, an ice cold swimming pool.
All of that water eventually pours over one of the most picturesque waterfalls you’ve ever dreamed of, a rocky ledge draped with maidenhair fern and elephant ears, and at its base sitting stones carpeted in emerald green moss.
You can float for a little while past cypress, dodging children catapulting from rope swings and the bluffs lining the bank, before the creek tapers off. Or if you are braver than I am, explore the caves below the waterfall.
A friend told me the first time she took visitors to Krause Springs, they insisted that the waterfall was fed by city water. Maybe it was the juxtaposition of such a lush and constant supply of water in the midst of sprawling dryness that inspired this logic. But I know for certain that the water streaming over those falls is not piped in from some municipal treatment plant. The reason I know this is that today, the town of Spicewood has no drinking water supply.
Sometime back in the latter part of last century, Spicewood switched its supply from the Krause Springs to a well tapped into nearby Lake Travis, hit hard by our ongoing drought. I was at the meeting when the Lower Colorado River Authority announced to Spicewood residents that their well had run dry, and that folks who wanted to drink from then on would have to pay to have their water trucked in.
Meanwhile here at Krause Springs, the water keeps flowing.
Entry to Krause Springs is $6. Onsite RV and tent camping is around $15/person per night, and looks to me to be an ideal destination for an overnight date.
Photos courtesy of Maura Grace Ambrose.