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Plan Like A Ranger: Top 10 Things to Know to Plan Your Trip

Three large ornate buildings peek over the top of tall magnolia trees.
Bathhouse Row

NPS Photo/Mitch Smith

Top 10 Things to Help Plan Your Trip

Hot Springs National Park is a place where urban meets wild. Located right in the heart of downtown Hot Springs, our park has more to offer than meets the eye!

The thermal spring water comes out of the ground at 143F (so hot)! As such, there are no soaking opportunities outdoors. There are two Bathhouses, the Buckstaff and the Quapaw, where you can safely get into the thermal waters. Reservations are encouraged and recommended at each bathhouse. Please contact them directly for more information.

Hot Springs National Park has several big special events planned this year! Check the schedule below for upcoming opportunities:
- May 21st, BARK Ranger Day
- Saturday's in July, Outdoor Skills Summer Camp
- September 17th, Thermal Springs Festival
- October 8th, Junior Ranger Day
- November 5th, Park Rx Day

What summer would be complete without ranger programs? The summer schedule is still being determined, but here's what you can look forward to:
- Water Walks: Join a park ranger on a guided walk to the different springs along Bathhouse Row.
- Junior Ranger Programs: A fun 20-30 min. activity for the whole family and an opportunity to receive a junior ranger patch!
- BARK Ranger Programs: Did you bring your pet with you to the park? Perfect! Join us for an interactive activity and become an official Hot Springs National Park BARK Ranger!
- Evening Campground Programs: Join a park ranger in the evenings at the Gulpha Gorge amphitheater for a fun and engaging night-time program.

Gulpha Gorge campground is now reservable.
Reserve your campsite up to six months in advance on Recreation.gov. There are 40 sites with full hook ups and water, a picnic table, and several sites have a fire pit. These sites can accomodate RV's up to 30 feet in length (only one site can accomodate RV's up to 50 feet). Learn more on the Gulpha Gorge webpage.

With 26 miles of trails, there is something for everybody to enjoy. Most trails begin right behind Bathhouse Row and lead up Hot Springs Mountain. You can also drive to the top of the mountain and access trails from there. There are other trails on West Mountain, behind downtown Hot Springs. Be sure to check out the Hiking page for more information and maps.

Nestled in the heart of downtown Hot Springs, the National Park is surrounded by shops, diners, roads, and other attractions. There is a network of hiking trails and beautiful mountain overlooks for those looking to escape the feeling of city life that is also a part of the Park.

Pets are allowed throughout the park and on all trails, just not in federal buildings such as the Fordyce Bathhouse Visitor Center. Please keep your pet on a leash and pick up after them.

Everybody is welcome to walk through and enjoy the park as often as they please. There is no entrance fee nor are reservations for the park itself required.While there is metered street parking throughout downtown, there is a free parking garage managed by the City of Hot Springs located at 128 Exchange Street.

Stay hydrated, bring plenty of water, wear a hat, use a parasol, and stay cool.

With seven other NPS units and fifty-two state parks, you'll find plenty to do throughout the state. Visit the Arkansas State Parks website and the Arkansas NPS website to learn more.

Hot Springs National Park

Last updated: April 28, 2022