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Is it safe? How to check greenbelt swimming conditions

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There’s an app, and a Facebook page, for that

Twin Falls on Barton Creek

This article was originally published June 16, 2017, and was most recently updated August, 2019.

Swimming season is upon us—at least on some days. When the temperature is not flirting with its summer norms, the torrents of rain we’ve been experiencing can cause rapid changes in swimming conditions in the area’s natural swimming spots along the Barton Creek Greenbelt. Heavy rains can cause swift currents, followed by icky/unhealthy runoff in the water.

How to know before you go? Enterprising Austinites have come up with a couple of tech-based ways to keep tabs on your favorite watering holes—at least the ones on the Barton Creek Greenbelt.

Greenbelt Now

One of the quickest ways to inquire is to use an app called Greenbelt Now. Built by UT student Serena Nguyen, it currently contains information about the following spots:

  • Sculpture Falls
  • Twin Falls
  • 360 Loop
  • Gus Fruh
  • Spyglass
  • Campbell's Hole
  • Barton Creek Above Barton Springs Pool
  • Lost Creek
Drawn map of Barton Creek Greenbelt with swimming spots
Greenbelt Now map
Greenbelt Now

The app is available online only at this point, and while it’s not available through any app store, it’s quite user-friendly. Nguyen told KVUE in 2017 that she uses data from United States Geological Survey water gauges to determine water level and flow and that her next step for what she calls her “simple” app is to connect spots with Google Maps.

Is There Any Water in the Greenbelt?

The Facebook page Is There Any Water in the Greenbelt? is another way to get water-flow info. Though more chaotic and bro-toned than the Greenbelt Now app, it’s still a reliable, crowdsourced option for timely information about specific spots. You have to ask to join, but it’s a public group.