Plan your visit to
Hot Springs National Park
The First is Still One of the Best
The thought of setting aside a piece of land for recreational purposes however was not always something that was done by the government. The first ever national park was Hot Springs National Park and even before it became a national park in 1921 it was set aside by the government as a preserve in 1832. Why is this piece of ground in Arkansas so important you may be asking yourself? Here are a few reasons why you need to make it your next national park trip.
It’s All in a Name
Hot Springs National Park is named for the geological anomalies that can be found within the park. The hot springs that are found throughout the park are heated by a crack in the earth’s crust and therefore the water coming through the crack is both hot as well as rich with minerals. The minerals that are found within the heated waters of the park are said to have medicinal healing properties. Although many may not believe in such mystic factors, the fact that people are drawn to the pools year after year prove that scientific fact is not all it is cracked up to be.
It may seem odd to think of a bathhouse in the midst of national park, but the heated waters are not just in the springs that dot the park. They are also found in the Fordyce Bathhouse that attracts the curious year after year. A tour of the bathhouse will give you the opportunity to look into the past when hot springs were used by local people to heal the body. The bathhouse today doubles as a tourist attraction as well as the visitor’s center to Hot Spring National Park.
The hot springs are not the only draw to Hot Springs National Park. This part of the country is known for having some of the most picturesque mountains in the nation and Hot Springs National Park has two. North Mountain and West Mountain are there for the visitors to enjoy and whether you want to hike up the mountains or take a leisurely drive through them, you can accomplish that within the park. Hot Springs National Park has something for everyone from those that want to stay below and enjoy the springs to those who would rather reach for the stars atop the mountain. You can do it all here.
Camp and Relax
After you have enjoyed all that Hot Springs National Park has to offer you may be a little tired and not want to find lodging within the city. There is no need to worry about leaving the park to get a good night’s sleep. Gulpha Gorge Campground gives guests the chance to camp how they want to. Whether you have a 30-ft. land yacht you wish to park and hook up or just a simple tent for the family, you can have the night’s sleep you desire within the park. Camping fees are $30 per night no matter if you camp in luxury or primitive style and there is a limit on how many consecutive nights you can stay within the park. As with all American national parks the you are not allowed to stay more than 14 consecutive days to discourage people from permanently residing within the park.
Things to Know
The first thing you will want to know about this area of the country is that the weather can change without warning. Summer time is particularly vulnerable to afternoon thunderstorms and spring travelers may have to contend with the rain as well as the occasional tornado. The rangers within the park can advise on any weather conditions that may cause concern and where you need to go if there is an emergency.
You also need to understand the animals of the area. There are snakes during the summer and they like to hide out in cool dark places. Some snakes are poisonous while others are not and a keen knowledge of both will give you the ability to distinguish a rattle snake from a rat snake. The basic rule is the respect nature where it is and never try to approach a wild animal. That is their home and they have been known to protect their space at all costs.
The national parks are protected areas within North America and the rangers do their very best to maintain the integrity of the parks they service. Visitors are encouraged to enjoy the parks including Hot Springs National Park for their natural beauty, but never disrupt the natural order of things. Always clean up after yourself and keep the park as you and your group found it. These national treasures are for all to enjoy and need to be maintained by all of us.
[rating itemreviewed=”Hot Springs National Park” rating=”8″ reviewer=”Adventure Review – National Parks” dtreviewed=”28 December 2016″ best=”10″ worst=”0″]The national parks of North America have become destination spots for families and individuals of all ages for many years. The Hot Springs National Park is something special.[/rating]
Download a Hot Springs National Park Map
Planning a Hot Springs National Park? Be sure to download the official Hot Springs National Park map, below, or use our interactive maps to find restaurants, hotels, or activities along the route of your choosing in and around the park. Either way, don’t leave home without a map of Hot Springs National Park. This free Hot Springs National Park map shows park roads, attractions, and more.
Average High/Low Temperatures
Official Hot Springs National Park Map – Click on the Map to download