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Balmorhea State Park - Toyahvale TX


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History: Balmorhea State Park is located on 45.9 acres in the foothills of the Davis Mountains southwest of Balmorhea in Reeves County. Built by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) in the early 1930s, the park was deeded in 1934 by private owners and Reeves County Water Improvement District No. 1. The park was opened in 1968.

San Solomon Springs has provided water for travelers for thousands of years. Artifacts indicate Indians used the spring extensively before white men came to the area. In 1849, the springs were called Mescalero Springs for the Mescalero Apache Indians who watered their horses along its banks. The present name was given by the first settlers, Mexican farmers who used the water for their crops and hand-dug the first irrigation canals.

Situated about four miles west of Balmorhea, Texas, the 45.9-acre Balmorhea State Park was constructed by Company 1856 of the Civilian Conservation Corps, or CCC, between 1936 and 1941. The CCC was established as a New Deal program by President Franklin D. Roosevelt during the Great Depression as a way to employ people that would have otherwise been out of work. Many of the state parks in Texas were developed during this time.

The 77,053 square ft San Solomon Spring is the focal point of Balmorhea State Park. From 22 to 28 million gallons of water flow through the spring-fed swimming pool each day. Other CCC structures in the park include a limestone concession building, two wooden bathhouses, an adobe superintendent residence, and San Solomon Courts, an early expression of the modern-day motel, constructed of adobe bricks. All of the CCC buildings are constructed in a Spanish Colonial style with stucco exteriors and tile roofs.

Visitors to Balmorhea State Park can enjoy a swim in the CCC-constructed pool and, if staying overnight, may choose to relax in one of the historic rooms at San Solomon Courts. The lobby of the park office includes several photographs of the CCC at work in what is now Balmorhea State Park. When visiting the park, take time to see what the park property looked like in the late 1930s and what it looks like today. Balmorhea State Park is a substantial monument to the construction skills and hard work of the CCC crew and their supervisors.

Activities: Along with motel-type accommodations, the park’s main attraction is a large (77,053 sq. ft.) artesian spring pool that is open daily and fed by San Solomon Springs. The springs also fill a ’cienega’ (desert wetland) and the canals of a refugium, home to endangered species of fish, assorted invertebrates, and turtles. The pool differs from most public pools in several respects: the 1 3/4-acre size, the 25-foot depth and the 72 to 76 degree constant temperature. It also has a variety of aquatic life in its clear waters. With a capacity of more than 3 1/2 million gallons, the pool has plenty of room for swimmers, while offering a unique setting for scuba and skin diving.

Visitors can enjoy swimming, picnicking, and camping. An honor box is located at the park entrance for those arriving after hours. Scuba divers must meet safety regulations. Scuba diving rules and regulations for Balmorhea State Park.

Comments

Eric2112 - 11 days 3 hours ago.
I went scuba diving here on 3/17/2017. Average viz: 131-140ft/40-43m. Water temp: 76-80°F/24-27°C.
Kang2995 - 23 days 3 hours ago.
I went scuba diving here on 2/25/2017. Average viz: 51-60ft/16-18m. Water temp: 66-70°F/19-21°C.
BradApril - 1/01/2017 10:11 PM
I went scuba diving here on 12/28/2016. Average viz: 91-100ft/28-30m. Water temp: 71-75°F/22-24°C.
Awesome time. Lots of fish. Turtles were out and about. Really good dive.
ScubaDabaDo - 10/07/2016 9:59 PM
I went diving here on Oct. 01, 2016 & Oct 02, 2016.
ScubaDabaDo - 10/07/2016 9:58 PM
Rating Added: 5
Best lake dive around (or is it a pool) closest thing to the blue ocean waters. Had a great time.

Important: It IS an altitude dive at 3200’ elevation (air is not 14.7 psi at ground level now) so your dive tables are no longer accurate. but at 20’ you are only about 2 atmospheres. however, if you visit Fort Davis or the McDonald Observatory, it is almost like taking a flight. PLUS your body will off gas too rapidly if you’re not careful. Go to ScubaDabaDo.com for altitude diving info and accurate tips to help you have a Safe, enjoyable dive.
BillParker - 10/10/2016 7:38 PM
It depends on which system you are planning. Under PADI’s system (I just looked it up) I still get the same bottom time.
Blazey_07 - 9/02/2016 9:47 AM
I went scuba diving here on 8/27/2016.
Great day of west Tex’s diving. Lots of fish and not a lot of people there on this particular weekend. Visibility around 25’, water temp 72, surface 88.
PorkChop22 - 8/22/2016 8:29 PM
I’m looking to dive here this weekend. The weather says there’s a 50% chance of rain. Does anyone know what the visibility is usually like with all the rain there. I hear its usually around 80’ on a good day. I called the park office earlier and I was told by the lady that it doesn’t effect the visibility there but I’m not sure if that’s true. I would hate to drive 6+ hours to be let down. Any tips and advice will be appreciated!
Eric2112 - 8/22/2016 11:07 PM
the visibility will be great no matter what the weather up top is doing. 25million gallons go through that pool daily. Enjoy it
WarmWaterTurner - 8/29/2016 9:58 AM
One day I saw a Open Water class completely silt up almost the entire deep area. It took about one hours until the water was crystal clear again. Eric2122 is right. The aquifer flow so much water through there that I have never seen it murky for more than a very short period of time.
BillParker - 8/18/2016 2:07 PM
I went scuba diving here on 8/17/2016. Average viz: 91-100ft/28-30m. Water temp: 71-75°F/22-24°C.
Summer is a great time to dive here. The temps are high but the dry air makes it very comfortable to be outside. This is one of the few Texas dive sites where swimmers have almost no impact on the quality of diving. It’s easy to avoid them by staying away from the edges of the pool and diving boards leaving 99% of the water to divers. They can’t mess up the viz either. The worst thing they do is take up parking spots but all you have to do is get an early start and beat them to the park. The spring water is cleaner than tap water.
aquaphile - 8/16/2016 10:48 PM
Rating Added: 3
Great water temps & great viz, lots of critters to see. Too bad it’s such a small body of water, & so shallow - max depth 20-21 ft. Too crowded with swimmers in summer.
RMToure - 6/12/2016 10:00 PM
I went scuba diving here on 12/26/2015. Average viz: 26-30ft/8-9m. Water temp: 76-80°F/24-27°C.
RMToure - 6/12/2016 9:53 PM
I went scuba diving here on 12/25/2015. Average viz: 26-30ft/8-9m. Water temp: 76-80°F/24-27°C.
cathy_mcwilliams - 5/31/2016 5:21 PM
I went scuba diving here on 5/29/2016. Average viz: 81-90ft/25-27m. Water temp: 71-75°F/22-24°C.
cathy_mcwilliams - 5/31/2016 5:04 PM
I went scuba diving here on 5/27/2016. Average viz: 51-60ft/16-18m. Water temp: 71-75°F/22-24°C.
undercover08 - 4/10/2016 12:12 AM
I went scuba diving here on 12/26/2015. Average viz: 16-20ft/5-6m.
undercover08 - 4/10/2016 12:10 AM
I went scuba diving here on 12/25/2015. Average viz: 16-20ft/5-6m. Water temp: 71-75°F/22-24°C.
undercover08 - 4/10/2016 12:07 AM
I went scuba diving here on 11/8/2015. Average viz: 16-20ft/5-6m. Water temp: 71-75°F/22-24°C.
undercover08 - 4/10/2016 12:05 AM
I went scuba diving here on 11/7/2015. Average viz: 16-20ft/5-6m. Water temp: 76-80°F/24-27°C.
RMToure - 4/09/2016 11:53 PM
I went scuba diving here on 10/17/2015. Average viz: 16-20ft/5-6m. Water temp: 71-75°F/22-24°C.
Tony_B - 3/20/2016 6:28 PM
Eric2112 - 3/20/2016 10:52 AM
I went scuba diving here on 3/6/2016. Average viz: 61-70ft/19-21m. Water temp: 71-75°F/22-24°C.

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