feature of the park is the 1.75-acre, 3.5 million gallon freshwater
pool built around the springs. The spring has a constant flow of 22 to
28 million gallons a day so no chlorination is required. The water
temperature ranges from 72 to 76-degrees F and up to 30 feet deep.
The pool is used for both swimming and scuba diving. Company 1856
of the Civilian Conservation Corps built the pool between 1936 and
1941. The Civilian Conservation Corps also built San Solomon Springs
Courts, which rents rooms available for overnight stays. Camping and
recreational vehicle sites are also available.
The Balmorhea State Park Cienega Project recreated a desert
wetland in the park. The cienega now serves as a habitat for
endangered fish such as the Comanche Springs pupfish and Pecos
gambusia as well as other aquatic life, birds and other animals.
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 feet 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.
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.