The Hot Springs Reservation was created by an act of the United States Congress on April 20, 1832, and signed into law by then President Andrew Jackson. Then on June 16, 1880 was set aside for public use as a park. The act made Hot Springs the oldest Park maintained by NPS predating Yellowstone by 40 years. The area located in the Zig Zag Mountains of the Ouachita Mountain Range officially became a National Park on March 4, 1921. At only 5,550 acres the park is also the Nation’s smallest National Park.
The Nation’s only urban National Park features Historic Bathhouse Row situated on Central Avenue. The restored Fordyce Bath House is home the National Park’s Tourist and Information Center. Other Bathhouses include the OZARK, the Buckstaff and Quapaw which are operating spa style bathhouses. The Lamar is currently the temporary headquarters for the Hot Springs National Park management; whereas the Maurice, Hale and Superior are as of 2010 undergoing restoration.
The park’s hiking trails cater to a variety of fitness levels, in fact many where included in the Dertel system of graduated exercise in the early 1900s. The easiest and most popular trail to the top of Hot Springs Mountain is the .6 mile Peak Trail which begins above the main park entrance. Once atop one can circum-navigate the mountain by starting at the picnic area and hiking the 1.7 mile Hot Springs Mountain Trail. Other tails in the park take you to great scenic locations such as the North Mountain Overlook, Goat Rock and the Gulpha Gorge.
Hot Springs National Park is the perfect destination for singles, couples and families. It is an affordable vacation option as the park is free to all visitors for hiking, sightseeing and recreation. Visitors have a variety of accommodation options including the Park camp grounds, RV Parks, and a wide range of hotels and motels, both in and outside the Park. Beautiful Hot Springs National Park, Arkansas can be enjoyed anytime of the year and is the perfect vacation destination.