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.

Ranger programs will be offered from May 24th - September 30th.
- Guided hikes are available from Sunday - Wednesday, and begin at 9am. Locations vary, check with the Visitor Center to learn more.
- Water talks are available from Wednesday - Saturday, and begin at 12pm at the Hot Water Cascade.
- Evening campground programs are available from Thursday - Saturday, and begin at 5:30pm at the Gulpha Gorge Amphitheater.
- Junior Ranger booklets are available every day from 9:00-5:00pm at the Fordyce Visitor Center.

Hot Springs National Park has fun events planned all year long. With both monthly and year-long events, there are a myriad of ways to celebrate with us! Visit the park's centennial webpage to learn more.

Gulpha Gorge campground is first come, first served campground.
There are no reservations allowed at the campground.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.) Your best bet is to arrive early and check the fee station for any available campsites. 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.

Last updated: September 7, 2021