Hot SpringsArkansas 

The Smallest National Park in the US.

Hot Springs National Park in Arkansas is the smallest national park in the country, protecting 40 hot springs used by vacationers to heal and relax. Since the 1800s, people have traveled here to enjoy “America’s Spa.” The 5,500 acres of the national park protect the north end of the city of Hot Springs, the western slope of Hot Springs Mountain and several other nearby mountains, composing a wilderness area with 20 miles of trails and a campground. The park preserves the hot springs and bathhouses that have been visited for over 200 years, including Bathhouse Row, which is a National Historic Landmark District. Despite its small size, more than 1 million people visit the park a year.


Hot Springs National Park calls itself the oldest area in the national park system because it was set aside by President Andrew Jackson in 1832 as a special recreation area.  It was converted to a national park in 1921.


The park land on the mountains serve as the recharge zone where rain and snow soak into the ground to return as some of the 700,000 gallons of water flowing from the springs every day at a temperature of 143 degrees Farenheit. The runoff sinks about a mile into the ground where it is heated by the Earth. The hot water then rises through a fault at the base of Hot Springs Mountain. The western slope is the only place in the park or the city where the hot water emerges.

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Fordyce Bathhouse: The decadent historic bathhouse which operate for nearly 50 years in the early 20th century is now a visitor center for the park, allowing guests to enjoy the building and its authentic exhibits.

Buckstaff Baths: This national park concessioner is the only remaining bath house operation within the National Park. It has been operating continuously since 1912 and allows visitors to relax and unwind in the waters enjoyed by visitors to the area for decades. Buckstaff Baths offers a 90 minute process beginning with individual bath tubs to a maximum termperature of 100 degrees and concluding with a full body Swedish style massage.

Superior Brewery: The only brewery inside a national park uses the Hot Springs water to make small-batch craft beers at the old Superior Bathhouse. The brewery also serves food and sells growlers of its beer to take home.

Fountains: The city has hot water jug fountains around the city where you can drink the Hot Springs water (mostly along Bathhouse Row or Reserve Street). It arrives tasteless, odorless, crystal clear and free of bacteria, so no purification is necessary. There are also cold spring water jug fountains at Happy Hollow and Whittington springs.

Hot Water: There are three areas within the park where you can touch the hot water, including the hot springs cascading pool at Arlington Lawn.

Hiking Trails:

There are 27 miles of hiking trails in the park.  The most popular trail is probably the  first section of the Sunset Trail, which traverses West Mountain and overlooks the south side of Hot Springs and Lake Hamilton.

Recent Bird Sightings

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Gulpha Gorge Campground is the only campground in Hot Springs National Park.

Some Hotels and Other Lodging Options:

Roundtrip Flights to Little Rock


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