Barking Springs Austin

Exploring Barking Springs

The unofficial name of the spillway which pours water out of Barton Springs into Lady Bird Lake, Barking Springs is a popular spot for swimming, especially when Barton Springs is closed due to temperature or other factors. It is easily distinguishable by its chain link fence and has developed a devoted following due to its beauty and tranquility.

Nestled downstream from Austin’s world-renowned Barton Springs, Barking Springs is the perfect way to escape the hustle and bustle of the municipal swimming area. Perfectly suited to those who prefer a more relaxed atmosphere, this canine lover’s paradise offers a refreshing respite from the crowds and restrictive fees at its nearby neighbor.

Barking Springs
Barking Springs Austin

Children are often seen playing in the mini rapids of the springs, while pet owners have their furry friends take the plunge as well! Furthermore, it’s not uncommon to hear some sort of percussion playing in the background – from someone’s makeshift drum kit – adding another layer to this idyllic landscape.

What Is Barking Springs?

For those of you unfamiliar with Barking Springs (or “Dog Barton Springs”), it is a small wading area located just east of Barton Springs. Unlike Barton Springs, there is no admission fee, nor lifeguards on duty; however, four-footed friends are allowed (or at least tolerated). Hence the name “Barking” Springs. The cool waters of Barton flow over a small waterfall and into this wading area. Here, there are plenty of rocks to climb, fish to catch, and ducks to chase; making it an ideal spot for a hot summer day.


The atmosphere of Barkin’ Springs is alive with activity – owners playing fetch, children slithering down the spillway, dogs chasing each other through the water, and visitors just taking in the beauty of nature can all be found here. Despite having a rougher edge than Barton Springs, this haven captures the true spirit of Austin; where people of all walks of life can come together and enjoy an afternoon with their canine companions.


Although Barkin’ Springs does not feature the amenities offered by its neighboring swimming hole, it does provide a unique atmosphere filled with laughter, camaraderie and adventure. Lifeguards are never present, so swimmers should always be mindful of their own safety. With cooler temperatures and calmed waters, many visitors opt to take an evening dip under the stars.

Fun and Memories to Be Made

My boys have always loved visiting Barking Springs. They love playing in the water and chasing the ducks. Having our puppies along makes it all the more fun too! After a few hours spent here, we stopped by a nearby snack shack for some refreshments. It offers both sweet and savory treats as well as bags of bird food. For those looking for an even greater adventure, bringing your own bird food will ensure an abundance of pigeons coming quite close, even if there’s barking from dogs nearby. This has been known to keep my boys entertained for nearly as long as their time spent in the springs!

Tips for Visiting Barking Springs

For those wanting to access Barking Springs from the North, parking is available in the first or second lot on William Barton Drive (inside Zilker Park). The second lot is the same as the one at Barton Springs. Head east along the trail, with the Zilker Zephyr and playground on your left. Once you reach a black gate that marks the end of Barton Springs, head a bit further and you’ll find steps leading down to Barking Springs. However, note that these parking lots charge a $5 fee on weekends. From the South, you can park in the lot off of Robert E Lee road just east of Barton Springs, then take the Lady Bird Lake Trail until you pass the end of Barton Springs. There will likely be a path leading down to a concrete beach.

Some additional tips while visiting include wearing water shoes as the ground can become slippery and bringing a blanket to sit on as the area is mostly rough concrete. Also, please be aware that many people bring their dogs here; so those scared of canines should be mindful. Finally, be aware of the current flowing through here as it’s coming straight from Barton Springs and heading towards Lady Bird Lake. Floaters may be necessary for little ones or even doggy life preservers!

Before leaving, keep in mind that the snack shack only accepts cash; however, there is an ATM close by next to the Zilker Zephyr.

Whatever you’re looking for in a swimming hole, Barking Springs has it covered. So, grab your furry companion and come join the party!

Dog Barton Springs (Barking Springs Austin)
2105 Andrew Zilker Rd, Austin, TX 78746