Hot Springs National Park in Arkansas

Hot Springs National Park in Arkansas

Water attracts people, so the town of Hot Springs arose at the Hot Springs springs and became a popular holiday destination in the USA as early as the early 19th century. Both rich and poor flocked to the Hot Springs National Park area, giving the area the nickname “The American Spa”.

The hot springs are said to have healing effects, they are located directly in the Hot Springs National Park, which begins on the northern edge of the town of Hot Springs and the Ouachita Mountains in the US state of Arkansas.

The hot springs come from the western slope of Hot Springs Mountain, part of the Ouachita Mountains. There are currently about 43 hot springs in the park.

Originally, visitors used the spring to get warm water, the healing effect was not known at that time.
When the healing effect was recognized, many sick people were treated with it and bathhouses were built. These old bathhouses are now listed as National Historic Landmarks.

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History of Hot Springs National Park

In 1832, the Hot Springs Reservation and its hot springs were made available to visitors. Almost a hundred years later, on March 4, 1921, the area was declared a national park. In 1922 the name of the national park was changed from the Hot Springs Reservation to Hot Springs National Park. With an area of ​​22.5 km², it is the smallest national park in the USA.

Activities in Hot Springs NP

Many historic buildings, such as the bathhouses on the Grand Promenade and a beautiful nature reserve with lots of forest and water can be visited in Hot Springs National Park. Hiking tours through the Hot Springs National Park are therefore particularly popular. The trails have a total length of 26 miles. There are hiking trails of different lengths and difficulties to admire the beauty of the landscape.

Scenic mountain roads take you through the mountains of the Hot Springs and offer breathtaking views of the entire area. Maybe you combine that with a picnic on Gulpha Creek.

Also worth seeing in Hot Springs Park is the Hot Springs Mountain Tower, an 1877 lookout tower. It is 216 feet tall and offers great views of the surrounding Ouachita Mountains.

Another highlight is bathing in spring water. It is possible in approved bathhouses at an additional cost.
The Buckstaff and Quapaw Bathhouse are currently the only facilities still in operation as bathhouses. The Fordyce Bathhouse serves as the park’s visitor center and a contemporary art museum can be found at the Ozark Bathhouse, which can also be rented as a reception room.

The Visitor Center & Museum at the Fordyce Bathhouse

In the historic Fordyce Bathhouse you can see the beauty of the former bathhouse on the ground floor. Marble and stained glass show that it was one of the finest bathhouses in Hot Springs. At the end of the ground floor there is a ceramic fountain from which spring water flowed.
The Fordyce Bathhouse was used as a bathhouse from 1915-1962. It is now used as the Hot Springs National Park Visitor Center. Here you can view exhibits, watch park movies and learn about tours of Hot Springs Park.

A park shop, Bathhouse Row Emporium, is located in the Lamar Bathhouse. Hot spring water souvenirs can be purchased here.

Both facilities are open daily from 9am to 5pm. They are only closed on New Year’s Day, Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day.

Campgrounds in Hot Springs National Park

Hot Springs Park operates a public campground, Gulpha Gorge Campground, on Gulpha Creek about two miles from downtown Hot Springs.
There are no showers here, but modern relaxation rooms with toilets and running water. You get a place at the Gulpha Gorge Campground on a first come, first served basis. Several hiking trails through Hot Springs National Park begin at Gulpha Gorge Campground.

Nature of Hot Springs National Park

The area in Hot Springs NP is extensively forested. Mainly pines and oaks grow here. Animals such as deer, rabbits, possums, coyotes, skunks, raccoons, weasels, mink, squirrels and frogs can be seen at Hot Springs NP.

Opening hours & entrance fees to Hot Springs National Park

Hot Springs National Park and Gulpha Gorge Campground are open year round. Admission to Hot Springs National Park is free.

The Fordyce Bathhouse Visitor Center is open daily from 9am to 5pm except on New Year’s Day, Thanksgiving Day and December 25th. Guided tours take place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. daily.
The Bathhouse Row Emporium, the Park Store at Lamar Bathhouse, is open daily from 9am to 5pm except New Year’s Day, Thanksgiving Day and December 25th.

Directions & Getting to Hot Springs Park

Hot Springs National Park is located near downtown Hot Springs. The bathhouses are located on Central Avenue with the mountains. For more information on how to get to Hot Springs National Park click here.

Attractions near Hot Springs NP

We have put together a list of sights in Arkansas that are near Hot Springs National Park: Little Rock Central High School, President William Jefferson Clinton Birthplace Home, Clinton Presidential Center and Park in Little Rock, Arkansas Post National Memorial, Fort Smith, Buffalo National River and Pea Ridge National Military Park.

Address of attraction Hot Springs National Park

Hot Springs National Park Visitor Center
369 Central Avenue
Hot Springs AR 71901

Hot Springs National Park in Arkansas