Hot Springs National Park

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Hot Springs National Park is a United States National Park located in Central Arkansas.

Hot Springs National Park

Understand[edit]

  • As the Nation's first federally protected reservation, Hot Springs National Park has been the hub of central Arkansas attractions since 1832. Today the park protects eight historic bathhouses with the former luxurious Fordyce Bathhouse housing the park visitor center. The entire "Bathhouse Row" area is a National Historic Landmark District that contains the grandest collection of bathhouses of its kind in North America.

History[edit]

  • The park was created by Congress in 1832. It is the nation's oldest and smallest national park. Originally named Hot Springs Reservation, it was renamed in 1921. It was originally created to protect the region's 47 natural flowing thermal springs.

Landscape[edit]

Climate[edit]

  • Climate in the park is four-seasonal and generally mild except in winter when temperatures can reach down to freezing.

Get in[edit]

By plane[edit]

  • Hot Springs Memorial Field,
  • Little Rock National Airport (with shuttle service and rental cars.)

By car[edit]

  • From Interstate 30 take the Hot Springs US 70 West exit south of Benton, the Hot Springs US 270 West exit at Malvern, or the Hot Springs Ark. 7 North exit near Arkadelphia.
  • If traveling south on Ark. 7, come through downtown Hot Springs where the visitor center is located.
  • If traveling south on US 71 from Fort Smith, or north on US 71 from Texarkana, take the US 270 East exit and take 270B through town.
  • Coming from Oklahoma on US 70 go all the way into Hot Springs. When you get into the city you will see signs for the National Park.
  • The Visitor Center is located downtown on Highway 7 North or Central Avenue.

By bus[edit]

  • Greyhound Bus Lines, 1001 Central Ave, Suite D, Hot Springs, 1-800-231-2222.

By train[edit]

  • Amtrak's Texas Eagle route serves Little Rock, Arkansas, with shuttle services to Hot Springs.

Fees/Permits[edit]

There are no fees charged for entry, but camping fees range from $5–$24 per night (see Camping below).

Get around[edit]

  • Personal vehicles or bicycles can be used on the roads. The City of Hot Springs runs a trolley to the tower on Hot Springs Mountain from May to October. Vehicles more than 30 feet long are prohibited on Hot Springs Mountain because the road has hairpin curves.
  • Tours are available from private companies.

See[edit]

  • Hot Springs National Park Visitor CenterCentral Avenue (Hwy 7) (between Reserve and Fountain Streets),  +1 501-624-3383 ext. 640. Daily 9AM-5PM. The visitor center in the former Fordyce Bathhouse is also a 24-room museum offering self-guided tours. Considered the most elegant bathhouse when completed in 1915, it exhibits beautiful mosaic tile floors, marble, stained glass windows and ceilings, a gymnasium, and routine bathing equipment. The 15-minute orientation movie, Valley of Vapors, offers a brief history of the area. Taking the Baths is a 9-minute video showing the traditional bathing routine in the Hot Springs bathhouses. Rest rooms and water fountains are located in the basement. Other rooms shown include the music room, massage rooms and a bowling alley.
  • Bathhouse Row on Central Avenue includes the Fordyce Bathhouse and seven other bathhouses all built in the early 20th century. The Row is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Aside from the Fordyce which serves as the park visitor center, the Buckstaff is the only other operating bathhouse; it is still in use as a spa. The other bathhouses are vacant but awaiting new uses.
  • The Grand Promenade is a landscaped walkway behind Bathhouse Row which offers a glimpse of the springs and historic landscape features. Entrances are from behind the Visitor Center and from Fountain Street.
  • Scenic mountain drives on West Mountain, Hot Springs, and North Mountains have overlooks to the surrounding areas. An observation tower on top of Hot Springs Mountain is operated by a concessioner and offers a panoramic view of the Zig Zag range of the Ouachita Mountains.

Do[edit]

  • Take a bath! at one of the many concessionaires.
  • Guided tours can be arranged by calling the Visitors Center two weeks ahead.
  • Hike the 26 miles of trails in the Park.

Buy[edit]

Eat[edit]

Drink[edit]

Sleep[edit]

Lodging[edit]

  • The Arlington Resort and Spa. A historic downtown hotel.
  • Embassy Suites - Hot Springs (next to the Hot Springs Convention Center). Has a reasonably priced in-house spa.
  • Hot Springs Village +1 501-922-3633. Ask for Jeff
  •    Lookout Point Lakeside Inn104 Lookout Circle +1 501-525-6155, toll-free: 1-866-525-6155, e-mail: . Bed and breakfast on Lake Hamilton. Each room has a view of the lake and many have a private balcony. Exceptionally groomed gardens, packages & add-ons are available. $199-$549.
  • The Park Hotel211 Fountain St. Hot Springs (in historic downtown Hot Springs on first right past Bath House Row),  +1 501 624-5323. Check-in: 2PM, check-out: 11AM. Exemplifies the architectural brilliance of the 1920's and 1930's. Completed in 1929 and opened to the public in 1930, a mélange of Spanish Revival influences. Throughout its long and varied history, original architectural elements have been beautifully preserved, immediately evident upon entrance into the spectacular tiled lobby.

Camping[edit]

Campgrounds with more amenities can be found in commercial, State Park, Corps of Engineers, and Forest Service campgrounds in the surrounding area.

  • Gulpha Gorge. These sites are available on a first come, first served basis, no reservations. Campsites have a picnic table, pedestal grill, and water nearby. While there are no showers, there are modern restrooms. Water is available at several stations throughout the campground most of the year and at the dump station. Quiet hours are 10PM-6AM. Pets are allowed if leashed. Primitive sites (no hookups) cost $10 per night, $5 per night with a Golden Age or Golden Access pass. $24 for a site with full hookups, $12 with a Golden Age or Golden Access pass..

Stay safe[edit]

Caution is advised when handling the thermal spring waters, as their temperatures may reach 143 degrees Fahrenheit. Also, persons with heart or respiratory conditions as should have written consent from a physician before bathing. The average temperature for the hot spring water emerging is 143°F or 62°C.

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