Wednesday, January 28, 2015

San Solomon Springs "A Desert Oasis" at Balmorhea State Park in west Texas

San Solomon Springs pool from diving board.Julianne G. Crane)
Situated about about seven miles south of I-10 on Hwy. 17 in west Texas, Balmorhea State Park is known as "A Desert Oasis" for its 77,053 square-foot San Solomon Springs pool. It is reported that 22 – 28 million gallons of water flow through the spring-fed swimming pool each day.

CCC digging the San Solomon Spring Pool (circle 1936)
The 45.9-acre Balmorhea State Park was constructed by Company 1856 of the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) between 1936 and 1941, according to the Texas State Parks web site. The CCC was established as a New Deal program by President Franklin D. Roosevelt during the Great Depression as a way to employ people who would have otherwise been out of work. (Click on images to enlarge.)

San Solomon Spring Pool 2014. (Julianne G. Crane)
Said to be the world’s largest spring-fed swimming pool, covering 1.75 acres, its water stays at 72–76 degrees year round. The pool ranges from 3.5-feet to 25-feet at the deepest point. Scuba divers love the clarity, even at a 25-foot depth.

Scuba divers test the waters. Julianne G. Crane)
"With a capacity of more than 3.5 million gallons, the pool has plenty of room for swimmers, offering a unique setting for both scuba and skin diving."

"Other CCC structures in the park include a limestone concession building, two wooden bathhouses, an adobe superintendent residence and the San Solomon Springs Courts offer motel-style retro lodging. All of the CCC buildings are constructed in a Spanish Colonial style of adobe bricks with stucco exteriors and tile roofs."

Viewing platform along the canal. (Julianne G. Crane)
"In addition to swimming and camping, canals from the springs pool lead to a restored ciƩnega (wetland). San Solomon Springs is home to assorted invertebrates, turtles and endangered fish, including the "rare and declining" Headwater Catfish.

Young headwater catfish. (Julianne G. Crane)
"Found exclusively in spring-fed streams of the Pecos and Rio Grande basins, the headwater catfish prefers shallow runs like this canal where it finds shelter and food among rocks and aquatic vegetation. There are fewer headwater catfish today than in decades past due to habitat loss and hybridization with channel catfish. Balmorhea State Park remains one of the last strongholds of survival for this species," states a park information board.

Other animals seen in the park include resident and migrant birds, deer, javelina, hawks, barn swallows, waterfowl, ground squirrels and roadrunners.

For information on the Balmorhea State Park campground that features 34 campsites, click here for a post I wrote for RVWheelLife.com.

Balmorhea State Park
P.O. Box 15
Toyahvale, TX 79786

URL: Latitude: 30.944829
Longitude: -103.785147
URL: www.tpwd.state.tx.us/state-parks/balmorhea
Fee: Swimmers pay only the $7 day use fee.

BTY: From Mon., May 4--Sun., May 10, 2015, San Solomon Springs pool will be closed for annual cleaning.

For more articles by Julianne G. Crane about RV lifestyle go to RVWheelLife.com.
Photos by Julianne G. Crane.

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