Scenic Drives & Overlooks

A blue Honda Civic drives up the forested winding road on Hot Springs Mountain Drive.

A Drive with a View!

You can experience the beauty of Hot Springs National Park by driving to one of our six scenic overlooks. Enjoy the sunrise, the sunset, fall colors, a moment of peace, and everything in between at any one of these locations.

 

North Mountain Scenic Drive & Overlooks:

Hot Springs Mountain Scenic Drive

Hot Springs Mountain Drive begins at the end of Fountain Street off Central Avenue downtown. Built as a carriage road in the 1880s, it has switchbacks that will take you to the top to a picnic area, the Pagoda overlook, and the Hot Springs Mountain Tower. You can continue on to North Mountain Loop and then back down to Fountain Street.

Hot Springs Mountain Lookout Point

Located on this overlook is the historic Hot Springs Mountain Pagoda, designed by architect J.G. Horn in 1911 and dedicated to superintendent Harry H. Myers. Looking out from the pagoda is the city of Hot Springs with the Ouachita Mountains out in the distance.

 
Panoramic view on top of Hot Springs Mountain overlooking the city of Hot Springs
Hot Springs Mountain Lookout Point

NPS Photo/Mitch Smith

 

Goat Rock Overlook

This overlook is located on top of North Mountain overlooking the Zigzag Mountains with a view of Indian Mountain to the right, also know as Silver Mountain. Although there is no silver found on the mountain, Indian Mountain is rich in Novaculite which was highly valued by the Native Americans for making tools. Since this stone breaks with a predictable cone-shaped fracture, they could easily carve tools into whatever shape and thickness they desired, commonly carving the rock into arrowheads, blades, drills, and other various tool. All Arkansas Novaculite is found within a 50-mile radius of Hot Springs, drawing Native Americans from all over to this location.

Additionally, the Zigzag Mountains is the area known as the recharge zone for the thermal springs. The thermal water we have today originated as rain water that fell over 4,000 years ago, soaking into these mountains and funneling back up at high speeds and hot temperatures.

 
The view of the Zig Zag mountains during sunset from Goat Rock
Goat Rock Overlook

NPS Photo/Mitch Smith

 

West Mountain Scenic Drive & Overlooks:

West Mountain Scenic Drive

West Mountain Drive has entrances on Prospect Avenue and Whittington Avenue. It is a two way road that leads to the Summit Loop where you will find three overlooks. The first overlook affords a good view of Bathhouse Row and the former Army-Navy Hospital. The second overlook has a historic trail shelter and picnic tables and the summit has a view south to the Trap Mountains and Lake Hamilton. You'll find an outcrop of Arkansas Novaculite at the top as well; this rock was used by the Caddo Indians for making tools and weapons and later by European settlers for whetstones.

 

West Mountain Lower Overlook

From this overlook is a great aerial view of Bathhouse row and downtown Hot Springs. Additionally, Hot Springs Mountain Tower can be seen standing tall on top of Hot Springs Mountain along with the Army-Navy Hospital standing tall below.

 
A panoramic view from up on West Mountain with downtown Hot Springs in view along with the mountain tower
West Mountain Lower Overlook

NPS Photo/Mitch Smith

 

West Mountain Picnic Overlook

One of the best places to picnic in Hot Springs, this overlook hangs higher up on West Mountain overlooking the city of Hot Springs. In addition to picnic tables is a historic mountain shelter located on the left side of the overlook. Shelter houses like the one found here were built to provide visitors with a place to relax and enjoy the view. This shelter was built in 1924 making it one of the oldest mountain shelters still in use today at Hot Springs National Park.

 
A picnic table in the shade on top of West Mountain with a view of rolling blue hills in the distance
West Mountain Picnic Overlook

NPS Photo/Mitch Smith

 

West Mountain Loop Overlook

At the summit of West Mountain is an overlook south to the Trap Mountains with Lake Hamilton visible far in the distance. You'll also find an outcrop of Arkansas Novaculite at the top which was used by the Caddo Indians for making tools and weapons and later by European settlers for whetstones.

 
West Mountain overlook during sunset
West Mountain Loop Overlook

NPS Photo/Mitch Smith

 

Sugarloaf Mountain Overlooks

Balanced Rock Overlook (from Sunset Trail)

Located along the ridge of Sugarloaf Mountain is an outcrop of novaculite, now known as Balanced Rock Overlook. Being part of Sunset Trail, Hot Spring's longest and most remote hiking trail, you can expect to see a variety of wildlife hidden from other parts of the park like wild turkey, white-tailed deer, and vultures.

 
A view of rolling hills and a setting sun.
Balanced Rock Overlook

NPS Photo/Mitch Smith

 

Hot Springs Mountain Tower

Hot Springs Mountain Tower Overlook

216 feet above Hot Springs Mountain and 1,256 feet above Sea level is the breathtaking panoramic view of the park and its surrounding countryside. Originally being made of wood in 1877, the tower was rebuilt with steel and an elevator in 1982 with both open and enclosed observation decks.

 
The city of Hot Springs and the surrounding Ouachita Mountains can be seen all together from the op of the mountain tower
Hot Springs Mountain Tower Overlook

NPS Photo/Mitch Smith

 
 

Last updated: September 1, 2020

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

101 Reserve Street
Hot Springs , AR 71901

Phone:

(501) 620-6715

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