DOTW: Where it all began.......the NPS,
Find a Conversation
|Mon, 06-14-2004 - 6:17pm|
that is. Hot Springs National Park is the smallest and oldest of the National Parks.
Hot Springs National Park
Hot Springs National Park lies at the heart of the Hot Springs Experience, and shouldn't be missed on your visit to America's Spa.
Steeped in the amazing healing thermal waters, history, scientific/geological experiences, beautiful architecture, hiking, camping and just plain enjoyment - Hot Springs National Park is just plain fun.
Hot Springs is the smallest and oldest of the parks in the National Park System, dating back to 1832, when Congress established - 32 years ahead of Yellowstone - the first federally protected reservation in the nation's history. Hot Springs Reservation - which was renamed Hot Springs National Park in 1921 - originally was created by Congress to protect the 47 naturally flowing thermal springs on the southwestern slope of Hot Springs Mountain.
Although it's compact, you'll discover plenty to keep you busy during your sojourn through the National Park, which is located right in the heart of Hot Springs' Historic Downtown District.
Begin your visit with a stop at the opulently restored Fordyce Bathhouse right in the middle of World Famous Bathhouse Row. You'll be transported back to a different time when Hot Springs literally "Bathed the World." Guided and self-guided tours through this marvelous edifice will give you a quick understanding of where the thermal waters come from, how they are used and how the federal government supervises the use of the 800,000 gallons of hot water that gushes uninterrupted from the earth every day.
There are display springs that let you feel just how hot the water really is (147 degrees Fahrenheit), and the beautiful cascade of thermal water at the northern end of Bathhouse Row lets you dip your feet in the thermal waters as you relax and enjoy the beauty of Arlington Lawn Park.
A twisting scenic drive up Hot Springs Mountain behind the bathhouses takes you to breathtaking Hot Springs Mountain Tower, where you'll be whisked by elevators to the top and a spectacularly beautiful view of the city, mountains, forests and lakes that surround Hot Springs 40 miles in all directions.
On the northern side of the mountain is lovely Gulpha Gorge Campground, which offers camping amenities in a cool and tranquil natural setting on the banks of Gulpha Creek.
An extensive 26-mile network of hiking trails that range from the easily negotiated Grand Promenade to some challengingly rugged mountain treks crisscrosses the park.
At the southern end of Bathhouse Row you may relax and let the world go by at the Buckstaff Bathhouse, which is operated under the supervision of the Park Service in much the same manner as the other bathhouses in their heyday.
Hot Springs National Park - it has something for everyone.
For detailed information on Hot Springs National Park call 501-624-3383 or visit http://www.nps.gov.hosp.
I have never experienced any hot springs, nor barely any warm-enough-to-swim-in lakes, being from Maine. But I've often imagined the hot tub or spa I'm in to be a natural one instead of chlorinated and chemicalized. How lovely....dream a little!! Anyone have first hand hot springs stories to share?