Hot Springs National Park Travel Guide

  • Tower shop
    Tower shop
    by grandmaR
  • View
    View
    by Basaic
  • The Ozark Bathhouse
    The Ozark Bathhouse
    by Basaic

Hot Springs National Park Things to Do

  • Have a Picnic

    There are picnic tables situated at various locations in the park. A nice leisurely place to eat lunch.

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  • Charger/Challenger Rally

    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.

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  • Viewing Tower

    At the top of the mountain is a viewing tower. The tower is run by a private organization and was fairly expensive. The view from the free viewpoint was good enough for me.

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  • Mountain Road

    There is a nice drive up one of the mountains belonging to the park right near bathhouse row. The road is very twisty with tight turns but the view at the top is worth it.

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  • Bathhouse Row

    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...

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  • See one of the springs

    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...

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  • Take a walk on the Grand Promenade

    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.

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  • Take a Bath

    Take a traditional bath at the Buckstaff Baths, a park concessionaire since 1912, or at any of the following bathhouses in the city of Hot Springs that have Park Service special permits to offer thermal bathing:Arlington Resort Hotel and Spa, Austin Hotel and Spa, Downtown Hotel and Spa

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  • Stroll Bathhouse Row

    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...

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  • Tour a Bathhouse

    Fordych Bathhouse has been fully restored by the National Park Service. Today, you can visit the entire building and find out what was involved in taking a 'medicinal' bath. It's more than just soaking in the tub. For a feel of the tour, please visit my Fordych Bathhouse Travelogue.

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  • Hot Springs Mountain Tower

    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...

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  • National Park Bathhouses

    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...

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Hot Springs National Park Restaurants

  • frankcanfly's Profile Photo

    by frankcanfly Updated Oct 10, 2002

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    This little place has been around since the 1930's, and has the best Barbeque I've had in Arkansas! It's informal, and very busy. This little dive has been featured in Gourmet Magazine. Yes, it's that good.

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Hot Springs National Park Shopping

  • grandmaR's Profile Photo

    by grandmaR Updated Mar 8, 2009

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    Like almost all National Parks, the Hot Springs park has a souvenir store. Actually there are two of them. A bookstore located in the Visitor Center is managed by Eastern National. It is in the visitor center on the first floor in what formerly was the Men’s Cooling Room.

    The Hot Springs Mountain Tower includes a souvenir shop (photo 2) which has more in the clothing line.

    What to buy: Mostly what I noticed was that they had water bottles to fill with hot spring water. They also sold them across the street in the regular stores.

    Among the items carried are books about Hot Springs history, the plants and animals of the area, other national parks, post cards, and bath-related souvenirs. You can purchase reproduced Fordyce towels, whetstones, traditional luffa bath mitts, and many more spa items

    What to pay: A book with photos of the park is $4.00
    A patch, pin. medallion or refrigerator magnet with a steaming tub on it is $4-6.
    A book on antique post cards is $19.00

    Visitor's center gift shop Tower shop Hot Springs National Park picture book Hot Springs Arkansas in Vintage Postcards ANP Hot Springs National Park Patch
    Related to:
    • Road Trip
    • National/State Park
    • Water Sports

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Hot Springs National Park Local Customs

  • Have a drink

    In addition to bathing in the hot waters, some of the locals swear by drinking the water. It will cure what ails you. Located around the park are many fountains from which you can fill your water jug. If you don't have a jug, they're available at the Fordyce Bathhouse and many of the stores around Bathhouse Row.

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  • Water from the Springs

    There are two kinds of springs outdoors. One type where the water is out in the open is decorative. The other type has a place for you to fill up a jug or other container with the water from the hot springs. Containers are on sale in the Fordyce bathhouse and also in local stores. It is NOT true that the water is hot enough to kill bacteria.There...

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  • Hot Springs National Park Hotels

    0 Hotels in Hot Springs National Park

Hot Springs National Park Warnings and Dangers

  • frankcanfly's Profile Photo

    by frankcanfly Updated Oct 10, 2002

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    When collecting firewood, be sure to park twice as far from the tree as the tree is tall.

    hey, I didn't do it......

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Hot Springs National Park Tourist Traps

  • frankcanfly's Profile Photo

    by frankcanfly Updated Mar 5, 2004

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    If you have some spare time, go up the 216 ft.Observation Tower and get a look at the surrounding area.

    I wouldn't make this a priority though, if your time is limited there are better things to see

    (This photo was taken during my first visit to Hot Springs in 1992)

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Hot Springs National Park Off The Beaten Path

  • Hot Springs Mountain Tower

    The springs are located on the east side of Central Ave, behind the Bathhouses. This is Hot Springs Mountain. There is a pleasant drive up the mountain to the Tower. The entrance is at the north end of Bathhouse Row (Central Ave), turning onto Fountain St (right at the Arlington Hotel, which is blocking you from going straight anyways). A block up...

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  • Drive West Mountain

    The road up West Mountain can be driven from either end. The south entrance is on Prospect Avenue about 1 mile (1.6km)west of Bathhouse road. The north entrance is off Whittington Ave about 1 mile from the north end of Bathhouse road. The road had significant traffic as some local drivers use it to avoid having to pass up the slow moving Central...

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  • National Baptist Bathhouse

    1951 February The National Baptist Bathhouse opened for business on the 8th. Since their creation, the 'bathhouses' did not let Blacks use their services. There were many Blacks working in the bathhouses, but they were not allowed to be patron. In 1951, The National Baptist Association opened a bathhouse exclusively for Black patrons. 1982 The...

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Hot Springs National Park Sports & Outdoors

  • Basaic's Profile Photo

    by Basaic Written Sep 9, 2009

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    There are a total of 26 miles of hiking trails in the park. One of the trails leads from Bathhouse Row up the mountain to the viewpoint. The trail is pretty steep and footing is challenging at some points. Be advised!

    Equipment: Good walking shoes, sunscreen (although the trail is pretty wooded), a hat, plenty of water.

    Hiking Trail
    Related to:
    • Hiking and Walking
    • National/State Park
    • Budget Travel

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Hot Springs National Park Favorites

  • frankcanfly's Profile Photo

    by frankcanfly Written Feb 25, 2003

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    Fondest memory: Here's an airborne photo of the city. You can see Bathhouse row in the upper left, as well as the observation tower nearby.

    The 'Zig Zap' mountains rise gently in the background.

    You can also see the Horse Race Track in the foreground; a popular local destination.

    Related to:
    • Adventure Travel

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Explore Deeper into Hot Springs National Park
Army-Navy Hospital
Off The Beaten Path
Bathhouse Row
Things to Do
Drive up West Mountain
Things to Do
Sample the Water
Things to Do
Grand Promenade
Things to Do
Bathhouse Row
Things to Do
Hot Water Cascade / Tufa Terrace Trail
Things to Do
Gulpha Gorge Drive
Things to Do
West Mountain Drive
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Idle Visitation
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Your Guide to Natural Steam
Things to Do
Fordyce Bathhouse
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Map of Hot Springs National Park

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