browser icon
You are using an insecure version of your web browser. Please update your browser!
Using an outdated browser makes your computer unsafe. For a safer, faster, more enjoyable user experience, please update your browser today or try a newer browser.

Hot Springs National Park

Posted by on July 29, 2014

We left the Oklahoma City KOA early this morning to get on the road to continue our trip east towards home along I-40.  Today the roadside scenery looked more familiar to us with more pine trees and forest and less open plains.  The secondary roads from Fort Smith, Arkansas down to Hot Springs had more twists than we expected but by just after lunch we were pulling into the Hot Springs KOA.  The campground was smaller but had a very nice pool that Thomas and Victoria quickly put to good use.  After losing track of time, we left the campground around 4:30 and rushed to the visitor center before it closed.  Or so we thought- we rushed to the City of Hot Springs Visitor Center and not the Hot Springs National Park visitor center.  Common mistake the nice ladies behind the desk told us and we quickly hurried down the road to the Fordyce Bathhouse which is now the official HSNP visitor center.  HSNP protects 47 hot springs as its primary resource.  Health seekers have long been drinking the water and using it for “medicinal” baths.  Established in 1832, the area has had some of the longest federal protection of all National Parks areas although it did not become a NP until many years later in 1921.  We took a very quick 15 minute tour of the Fordyce Bathhouse since it closed at 5pm.  It was quite interesting to see the bathing halls, the hydrotherapy rooms, the cooling rooms and the other assorted rooms in the grand 3 story historic building.  We continued our tour up Central Avenue to see the Lamar Bathouse (now the NP gift shop), The Quapaw Bathhouse, and the Buckstaff Bathouse.  HSNP is the smallest national park by land area.  We toured the downtown city of Hot Springs and had a nice dinner before heading to the Hot Springs Mountain Tower for a quick tour.  The Tower is owned by the city and is a 216 foot superstructure that stands on the crest of Hot Springs Mountain.  We travelled up the elevator to enjoy long range views of the city and the Ouachita Mountains.  We got back to the campground for another hour of swim time at the pool.  HSNP is definitely a different type of National Park than we have ever experienced.  We continue east tomorrow!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *