Hot Springs National Park Things to Do

  • Road Up Mountain
    Road Up Mountain
    by Basaic
  • Road Up Mountain
    Road Up Mountain
    by Basaic
  • View From Free Viewpoint
    View From Free Viewpoint
    by Basaic

Best Rated Things to Do in Hot Springs National Park

  • Basaic's Profile Photo

    Charger/Challenger Rally

    by Basaic Written Sep 9, 2009

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    As I drove my Dodge Charger into the parking area at the top of the hill, I noticed the car next to me was another Charger, and next to that another one, then a Challenger. I had happened on a Charger/Challenger Rally. Needless to say I fit right in. Mine is Photo 5.

    Challenger Charger R/T Charger Charger Superbee Charger R/T Daytona Special Edition (Mine)
    Related to:
    • National/State Park
    • Road Trip

    Was this review helpful?

  • Basaic's Profile Photo

    Bathhouse Row

    by Basaic Written Sep 9, 2009

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Of course one of the main things to do at Hot Springs National Park is to go to bathhouse row and experience the springs. People have flocked to the area since the mid 1800s to experience the healing powers and just plain comfort from the hot natural water. Bathhouse row started then and has changed in some ways and stayed the same in some. Of the eight original buildings on the row; one is now the visitor's center and two (I think) function as bathhouses.

    Ozark Bathhouse
    Related to:
    • National/State Park
    • Luxury Travel
    • Spa and Resort

    Was this review helpful?

  • grandmaR's Profile Photo

    Bathhouse Row

    by grandmaR Updated Apr 10, 2006

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    The core of the Hot Springs National Park includes eight restored bathhouses. Although all the literature says there are eight, I only count seven of them. The southmost one is Buckstaff, and then, in order are Ozark, Quapaw, Fordyce, Maurice, Hale and Superior. Of the bathhouses, only Buckstaff remains open for the traditional baths, although baths can be taken at other locations such as the Arlington Hotel or the Majestic Hotal.. Both Fordyce and Maurice Bathhouses can be leased.

    We walked up the street along Bathhouse Row and I took pictures of the bathhouses on the south end before we toured Fordyce Bathhouse. I wish we could have tried a traditional bath, but our health concerns precluded it.

    The mission style Ozark bathhouse opened for business in 1922. In 1946 (a peak year) they gave over 82 thousand baths. Ozark closed in 1977 after giving fewer than ten thousand baths that year. It is now being restored by the NPS and will be available for lease when restoration is complete. The twin towers are strictly decorative. Quapaw, Fordyce and Hale also have the red clay roof tiles.

    The Caddo, Quapaw and Choctaw tribes lived in or visited the area in the 1700s and 1800s. The Quapaw bathhouse was named for the Quapaw Indians, and the owners incorporated an indian head design over the entrance. It was completed in 1922 and occupies the side of two earlier wooden bathhouses, the Horseshoe and the Magnesia.

    Buckstaff Baths Models of the eight bathhouses Ozark Bathhouse Quapaw Bathhouse Maurice and Hale Bathhouses
    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • National/State Park
    • Architecture

    Was this review helpful?

  • frankcanfly's Profile Photo

    Fordyce Bathhouse

    by frankcanfly Written Feb 25, 2003

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Fordyce Bathhouse Visitor Center
    An extensively restored bathhouse, it was reopened in 1989 and gives an excellent feeling of how it was to bath in a bathhouse in 1915.
    You can see restored furniture, steam cabinets, mechano-therapy machinery, tubs, massage tables, chiropody tools, billiards table, Knabe piano, beauty parlor and hydro-therapy equipment prevalent in those days.

    See my Fordyce Bathhouse travelogue.

    Related to:
    • Adventure Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • grandmaR's Profile Photo

    Drive up West Mountain

    by grandmaR Written Feb 13, 2006

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    There are two automobile roads up into the mountains in the Hot Springs National Park. One of them is up West Mountain. This road is steep (goes up to 1100 feet above sea level) but is relatively straight (for a mountain road). It has two or three overlooks, one of them with a picnic area shelter and there is a loop at the summit.

    We drove up this mountain after we visited the NPS Visitor's Center.

    Panorama from the summit Through the winter striped branches to town Telephoto from an overlook From an overlook - telephoto picture of church Road in winter
    Related to:
    • Budget Travel
    • Eco-Tourism
    • Road Trip

    Was this review helpful?

  • mrclay2000's Profile Photo

    Your Guide to Natural Steam

    by mrclay2000 Written Feb 25, 2003

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Bathhouse Row is easily marked as a line of 'mansions' advertising themselves as 'baths.' From start to finish, most houses have an attractive facade and facilities inside that once catered to the idle wealthy. Today you can march among the same stalls where plump plutocrats steamed out imaginary toxins, see the amenities and furnishings in hall and stair where pianos played to afternoon tea, and generally wonder why these ancient relics have not yet been transformed into bed and breakfasts to cater to Hot Springs' present lifeblood, idle tourism.

    Quapaw Baths, one of many
    Related to:
    • Family Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • grandmaR's Profile Photo

    National Park Bathhouses

    by grandmaR Updated Apr 10, 2006

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    The sign outside Fordyce Bathhouse (which has been restored to the original appearance by the NPS) says:

    "Inspired by the spas of Europe, Colonel Samuel Fordyce opened this Renaissance Revival bathhouse in 1915. With its copper-framed glass marquee and elegant window design, the Fordyce reflects a crowning achievement of the Golden Age of Bathing.

    The bathhouse occupied an ideal location next to the Formal entrance to the park, its roof garden was within sight and sound of the grandstand on the hillside above."

    Inside the Fordyce Bathhouse is the Visitor's Center for the National Park. The whole bathhouse has been restored and is a museum where you can see such things as the gymnasium, the dressing rooms, the treatment rooms, and the roof garden areas.

    Bob with the Maurice bathhouse and a hot spring Treatment room Ladies dressing room Ladies state room Gym with medicine balls
    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Architecture
    • National/State Park

    Was this review helpful?

  • grandmaR's Profile Photo

    Hot Springs Mountain Tower

    by grandmaR Updated Sep 17, 2006

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    We saw this tower from the top of the opposite hill. It is part of the National Park, but is operated bya concessioner, so even though there is no admission for other parts of the park, there is an additional fee to go to the top of the Tower. The road up to the tower winds up the side of the mountain, with many hairpin turns which is inaccessible to motorcoaches. We had a difficult time, just in a regular car. On a clear day you can see 140 miles. There were two of those coin operated binoculars. But it isn't just the view - there is also historical info is located on the enclosed observation deck, and includes a souvenir shop.

    The drive up is Free and there is Free Parking at the top.

    This tower, which is a 65.8 metre high observation tower built of lattice steel built in 1983 is not the first tower to be built on this location. The Wikipedia entry notes: In the nineteenth century, a 75-foot wooden fire tower was constructed on the site. This tower was later struck by lightning and burned to the ground. The mid-twentieth century saw the construction of a 175-foot steel structure [later renamed the Rix Tower] which later proved unstable and was torn down.

    Hours

    November 1- February 28 9 a.m. -5 p.m.
    March 1- May 15 9 a.m.-6 p.m.
    May 16-Labor Day 9 a.m.-9 p.m.
    Day After Labor Day-October 31 9 a.m.-6 p.m.

    Admission (which is rather steep)
    Adults(12 and over) $4.00
    Seniors $3.50
    Children(5 to 11) $2.00
    Children (4 and under) FREE

    Some people report that the fee was $6.00, but if that is so, they haven't changed the website yet.

    Mountain tower from West Mountain Base of the tower from the parking lot Information display at the top View from the tower Road up the mountain
    Related to:
    • Road Trip
    • National/State Park
    • Hiking and Walking

    Was this review helpful?

  • mrclay2000's Profile Photo

    Idle Visitation

    by mrclay2000 Written Feb 25, 2003

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Inside the bathhouses the styling is typical regardless of which house or houses you choose to visit. In some you can readily imagine the elegance of a bygone age, while in others you might readily give advice as to where to lay the next coat of paint, or what sealant might better serve the drains in the floor. Bathhouse Row is where Hot Springs' tourists come to spend their idle time, but not their dollar. The rest of town is the true emporium, like a miniature Branson but without the shows.

    where caulking need not apply
    Related to:
    • Spa and Resort

    Was this review helpful?

  • Toughluck's Profile Photo

    Stroll Bathhouse Row

    by Toughluck Written Jan 26, 2007

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Bathhouse Row is the center of the original 'Medicinal Reserve' created in 1832. The Federal Gov't set aside the hot springs and the mountains to protect this natural curative waters. Because it was so remote from the population centers of it's time, it never became a common goal of health seekers like the Spa's of Europe. But it did provide comfort, both medically and physically to those who came here to take the waters.

    For more information, see my Bathhouse Row Travelogue.

    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • National/State Park

    Was this review helpful?

  • PinkFloydActuary's Profile Photo

    West Mountain Drive

    by PinkFloydActuary Updated Dec 4, 2005

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    When coming into the town from the north, the first opportunity for activity is to turn on to Whittington Ave. You can drive a small loop which will take you past the Whittington Spring (sample the water if you have something to collect it in!) Once you get past the Spring, you can take a right and head up the relatively short mountain drive. There are several overlooks you can pull off at that will give you a nice panoramic view of Hot Springs. This short drive and the drive off Fountain Street up Hot Springs Mountain are more like your typical National Park scenic drives.

    Hot Springs Mountain Tower
    Related to:
    • National/State Park

    Was this review helpful?

  • Toughluck's Profile Photo

    See one of the springs

    by Toughluck Written Jan 26, 2007

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Since the 1940's, all of the springs have been closed in and the water is piped to the bathhouses and fountains. This has been done to protect the health of those who bath and drink the water. A few of the original springs are still open and you can visit them. Take the walkways on either side of the Maurice Bathhouse, around back. You will find several open springs for your viewing.

    Related to:
    • National/State Park
    • Historical Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • Toughluck's Profile Photo

    Take a walk on the Grand Promenade

    by Toughluck Written Jan 26, 2007

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Running along the side of Hot Springs Mountain, behind the bathhouses is the Grand Promenade. It is a quieter area, where you can find shade, benches and a pleasant walk. When your day seems long, take a break and listen to the wind in the trees somewhere on the Promenade.

    East entrance to the Promenade The Promenade Between the Bathhouses to the Promenade
    Related to:
    • Hiking and Walking
    • National/State Park

    Was this review helpful?

  • PinkFloydActuary's Profile Photo

    Hot Water Cascade / Tufa Terrace Trail

    by PinkFloydActuary Written Dec 4, 2005

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    If possible, park along Fountain Street and take a walk over to the Hot Water Cascade. Here, you'll see the steam rise from the hot water as it pours down the mountain side. You can stick you finger in it to see just how warm it is (somewhere in the neighborhood of 140 degrees.) This also is the trailhead for the Tufa Terrace trail. This trail takes you past several other springs, and branches off to other various hiking trails.

    Hot Water Cascade - Hot Springs NP
    Related to:
    • National/State Park

    Was this review helpful?

  • PinkFloydActuary's Profile Photo

    Gulpha Gorge Drive

    by PinkFloydActuary Written Dec 4, 2005

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Continuing through town, take a left onto Fountain Street, where you'll find the beginning of the road up Hot Springs Mountain. Here, there are also several overlooks, as well as the Hot Springs Mountain Observation Tower. The road itself is fairly short (only a couple of miles long), but there are many trailheads for hiking trails as well as the overlooks. We got there as the sun was setting, so we didn't take any of the hikes. Midway through the drive is the trailhead which leads to Goat Rock, which did seem appealing for another day. The drive ends back on Fountain street, with another opportunity to sample the water at the Happy Hollow Spring.

    Observation Tower in Hot Springs NP
    Related to:
    • National/State Park

    Was this review helpful?

Instant Answers: Hot Springs National Park

Get an instant answer from local experts and frequent travelers

14 travelers online now

Comments

Hot Springs National Park Things to Do

Reviews and photos of Hot Springs National Park things to do posted by real travelers and locals. The best tips for Hot Springs National Park sightseeing.

View all Hot Springs National Park hotels