DescriptionHot Springs National Park, in western Arkansas, can be reached from the north and south via scenic SR 7, as well as via US 70 from the east and US 270 from both the east and west.
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iStockphoto.com / zrfphoto
In 1832, because of tourism brought on by the water's reported medicinal properties, the federal government set aside the springs and surrounding area as the country's first park-type federal reservation. In 1921 Hot Springs became a national park, the country's eighteenth. Numerous bathhouses, eight of which still stand along a portion of Central Avenue known as Bathhouse Row, catered to thousands of health seekers. The popularity of the springs began to decrease in the 1950s, but the springs still attract many visitors.
General InformationThe springs are found along the west slope of Hot Springs Mountain. Within about 10 acres there are 47 springs with a daily flow of approximately 750,000 gallons. The water is collected into one central system and distributed to bathhouses and the drinking and jug fountains near the corner of Central and Reserve. The standard tub baths can be taken at the Buckstaff Bathhouse on Bathhouse Row. Options, at no extra cost, include showers, sitz tubs, vapor cabinets and hot packs. You can also experience the hot spring water in a modern day spa setting at the Quapaw Baths and Spa, the only business that uses the spring water in pools.
Other bathhouses in the city are managed in connection with hotels; prices vary according to equipment and available accommodations.
The park has 10 miles of good mountain roads for sightseeing by car, as well as 26 miles of walking and horse trails for outdoor enthusiasts; the trails are open daily year-round. Interpretive programs are presented from mid-June to mid-August; phone for schedule. Note: Because of sharp switchbacks, vehicles more than 30 feet long cannot negotiate Hot Springs Mountain Drive.
Fall and spring offer displays of flowering trees, shrubs and colorful foliage. Nearby Catherine, Hamilton and Ouachita lakes offer fishing.
ADMISSIONADMISSION to the park is free.
PETSPETS are permitted in the park only if they are leashed, crated or otherwise physically restricted at all times. Pets are not permitted in park buildings.
ADDRESSADDRESS inquiries to the Park Superintendent, 101 Reserve St., Hot Springs National Park, AR 71901; phone (501) 620-6715 for Fordyce Visitor Center.
Points of Interest
Things to SeeDisplay Hot Water Springs
GEM DescriptionThe water from these springs is so free of bacteria and contaminants that it was used to store moon rocks.