Exploring the Blue Hole in San Antonio: A Legendary Texas Location

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Tony Maples Photography


Travel approximately three miles north of downtown San Antonio to the campus of the University of the Incarnate Word, and you’ll find the Blue Hole. The tourist, as well as the San Antonio resident, would never believe the bustling, huge city of San Antonio is nearby. The serene, wooded area contradicts the location of a heavily populated city. This gem is a secret to many. So, what is the Blue Hole?

It’s the source of the San Antonio river.

Water is a necessity, and Native Americans first discovered the springs thousands of years ago. Later, Spanish settlers also needed water and built missions in and around the Blue Hole. Many of the early springs have dried up, but the Blue Hole remains.

Exploring the Blue Hole in San Antonio: A Legendary Texas Location

Photo: Pamela Ball

The source of the San Antonio River sits on the property of the largest Catholic University in Texas. The Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word have been the owners of the site since 1897.

The Blue Hole was once a geyser, and many believe the geyser shot twenty feet into the air. An old Spanish map dating from 1764 shows a diagram of a conduit built from the hole to the Alamo.

A nonprofit group, The Headwaters at Incarnate Word, now safeguards this special spot. When you visit, you’ll traverse 53 acres of lovely, natural, woodland right smack-dab in the middle of San Antonio. The 53 acres are what’s left of the George W. Brackenridge estate in Alamo Heights. Civilization now dominates the sources that gave life to indigenous peoples. Stop for a moment of gratitude at the serene Texas location. Envision the past societies who benefited from the water.

Travelers can see the Blue Hole on their own, or make an appointment with the university for a great tour of the chapel, Grotto, and Blue Hole. Unfortunately, until the Edwards Aquifer reaches 672 feet, the Blue Hole doesn’t flow at the surface.