Hot Springs is both a city and a National Park in Arkansas. The town is bustling with tourists visiting the many bathhouses with hot spring soak packages, the restaurants and shops and of course, the National Park. We joined in the fun.Starting at the top of the mountain and working our way down, we took the scenic drive to the Mountain Tower. The 216-foot tower provides a 360-degree view of the area mountains and lakes and exhibits of the history of the park from 1,250 feet. As a bonus, we followed a cool 1962 Corvette down to the town. The 47 hot springs in this city are heated by geothermal action, not volcanic energy, which means there is no sulphur smell and you can drink the mineral rich water, too (it is tasty). For centuries, Native Americans, early European explorers, and guests from around the world have visited the natural hot springs to bathe in the healing waters. The springs maintain an average temperature of 143°, and produce almost one million gallons of water each day. The springs still feed the active spas and several fountains. There is even a fountain that has spigots for the public to fill their own containers with cooled water from the springs.The National Park Service has covered over most of the springs in order to preserve their integrity. It is still very popular to soak in the hot spring baths in one of the eight bathhouses on the row. One of the most beautiful bathhouses (Fordyce) is the visitor center for the NPS. Although spa treatments are not available in this building, it is in its original condition with everything from changing rooms to the gymnasium on display. The NPS also maintains many hiking trails for all levels on the mountain. A combination of invigorating walking and a hot mineral bath has been the treatment for many ailments over the history of these hot springs. At the north end of Bathhouse Row is the historic Arlington Resort. This hotel and spa claims to be the largest hotel in Arkansas with 500 rooms. It also has its own bathhouse, with a manually-operated elevator lined with beveled glass and brass. A spigot in the hotel lobby dispenses cooled water from the springs.Along with Bathhouse Row, the city of Hot Springs is great fun to walk around. There are beautiful murals and unique shops to browse through. The ‘myth or fact’ questions are rampant in the city’s storied history. There are legends of bootleggers, gangsters and corrupt police. It is mentioned that it is the first home of baseball spring training. One fact for sure, it is the boyhood home of
President Bill Clinton.No matter the season, spring for a visit to Hot Springs.