The rare natural features of Hot Springs National Park were first protected when Congress declared the area a reservation in 1832, around 40 years before Yellowstone landed the title as the nation’s first national park in 1872. Hot Springs Reservation was designated Hot Springs National Park in 1921 and is now known as the oldest protected area in the National Park System. From prehistoric natives forward, people have been using the thermal hot springs for therapeutic baths for millennia. To replace earlier wooden structures susceptible to fire, a row of luxurious stone and masonry bathhouses was constructed in the early 1900s along Central Avenue of Hot Springs, Arkansas.
Now, the remaining Bathhouse Row
structures in Hot Springs National Park are part of a National Historic Landmark District and represent the grandest collection of such bathhouses in North America.
While preserving an array of 47 hot springs and their watershed, the park provides hiking trails, scenic drives, camping and picnic areas. Throughout the town of Hot Springs, which surrounds the park, there are plenty of lodging properties, ranging from bed and breakfasts, historic and modern hotels to lakefront condos, cabins and cottages. The Hot Springs National Park visitors center is located in the restored Fordyce Bathhouse, which is open to free self-guided tours. Hot Springs National Park is located in and around downtown Hot Springs, Arkansas's top tourist destination. (800) SPA-CITY.
For more information about Hot Springs National Park, call or visit: 501-624-2701; www.nps.gov/hosp/.