Hot Springs National Park
Congress established Hot Springs Reservation on April 20, 1832 to protect hot springs flowing from the southwestern slope of Hot Springs Mountain. This makes it the oldest area currently in the National Park System- 40 years older than Yellowstone National Park. People have used the hot spring water in therapeutic baths for more than two hundred years to treat rheumatism and other ailments. The reservation eventually developed into a well-known resort nicknamed "The American Spa" because it attracted not only the wealthy but also indigent health seekers from around the world. Today the park protects eight historic bathhouses with the former luxurious Fordyce Bathhouse housing the park visitor center. The entire "Bathhouse Row" area is a National Historic Landmark District that contains the grandest collection of bathhouses of its kind in North America. By protecting the 47 hot springs and their watershed, the National Park Service continues to provide visitors with historic leisure activities such as hiking, picnicking, and scenic drives. Private concessioners still offer traditional relaxing baths with water from the springs. Hot Springs Reservation became Hot Springs National Park by a Congressional name change on March 4, 1921.
Seasonality / Weather
Central Arkansas has four seasons: mild in spring and fall with some humidity; hot and very humid in summer; winter, variable--temperatures may range from below freezing to the 60s, with some humidity. Be prepared for cold weather.
Hot Springs National Park is in downtown Hot Springs; Bathhouse Row is on Central Avenue with the mountains of the park flanking the street. Visitors traveling north-south on I-30 take the Hot Springs US 70 West exit south of Benton, the Hot Springs US 270 West exit at Malvern, or the Hot Springs Ark. 7 North exit near Arkadelphia; visitors traveling south on Ark. 7 will come through downtown Hot Springs where the visitor center is located; visitors traveling south on US 71 from Fort Smith, or north on US 71 from Texarkana, take the US 270 East exit and take 270B through town; visitors coming from Oklahoma on US 70 would take US 70B into Hot Springs. When you get into the city you will see signs for the National Park. The Visitor Center is located downtown on Highway 7 North or Central Avenue.