Experience the Water


General Public Message Regarding Thermal Water

The thermal water at Hot Springs National Park is nearly 4,000-year-old spring water in its natural state. The water's high temperature kills most harmful bacteria, and it is monitored to U.S. standards for safe drinking water. Legionella bacteria have been identified in some water samples and can present a risk of illness if water is inhaled, particularly to those with compromised immune systems or other medical conditions. The park and partners are working to reduce this risk. At this time, the concern does not lie with bathing or with drinking water, as inhalation is not common with these activities and the high temperatures of the drinking water is sufficient to kill bacteria. Please see https://www.cdc.gov/legionella/index.html for additional information and/or consult with your physician about any concerns with bathing in natural spring water.

The front of the Buckstaff bathhouse on a sunny day showcasing its iconic bright blue awnings.
The Buckstaff Bathhouse

NPS Photo/Mitch Smith

Soak in the Springs

There are no outdoor soaking opportunities in the park. However, Bathhouse Row does have 2 available facilities that offer visitors the chance to fully submerge and relax in the thermal water. The thermal springs are piped directly into both of these bathhouses, offering users a true and authentic experience of the water.

  1. The Buckstaff Bathhouse - Orginally opened in 1912, the Buckstaff is the only facility on the Row that has never fully closed since it first started offering baths. The Buckstaff offers a traditional bathing experience for people 10 & older.

    For information about services, rates, and reservations, please visit their website or call them directly at (501) 623-2308

  2. The Quapaw Bathhouse - The Quapaw Bathhouse offers modern day spa services with amenities like roman-style open thermal pools, private baths, massages, facials, and other services for people 14 & older.

    For information about services, rates, and reservations, please visit their website or call them directly at (501) 609-9822.

A glass bottle with the Hot Springs National Park logo on it is filled by thermal water at one of the fountains.

NPS Photo

Drink the Water

Is the water from hot springs good to drink?

Water from the hot springs is Hot Spring's National Park's primary resource. Congress first protected the hot springs in 1832, and it intended for the water to be used.

Drinking the hot springs water is perfectly normal, even encouraged. Go ahead, "quaff the elixir," as they used to say in the heyday of the spa. Thousands of visitors highly endorse the good quality of the hot springs water and fill bottles to take home.

Below are the fountain locations for your enjoyment.

Thermal Spring Fountains

  • In front of the Libbey Memorial Physical Medicine Center on Reserve St. - suitable for filling jugs.
  • In front of the National Park Service Administration Building on Reserve St. - suitable for filling jugs.
  • Between the Hale and Maurice Bathhouses on the Bathhouse Row
  • The Noble Fountain on Reserve St. (at the south entrance of the Grand Promenade)
  • The Dripping Spring between the Hale and Maurice Bathhouses
  • The Shell Fountain on the Stevens Balustrade (between the Fordyce and the Maurice Bathhouses)
  • Outside the park boundaries at the Hill Wheatley Plaza on Central Ave. - suitable for filling jugs.

Cold Spring Fountains

  • Happy Hollow
  • Whittington Spring

These two fountains dispense water from cold springs, whose sources are different from the hot springs. Whittington Spring flows out of West Mountain, and Happy Hollow Spring flows out of North Mountain. The Arkansas Department of health requires formal treatment of these springs, and ozone filtration systems are used because they have been deemed the least intrusive of the acceptable methods. Very little ozone remains in the water by the time it reaches the spigot. There is no "treated" taste.

The park provides spring water free of charge at all of its jug fountains. Regulations prohibit private individuals from selling any of the park's waters.

A view of the Hot Water Cascade at Arlington Lawn.
A view of the Hot Water Cascade at Arlington Lawn.

NPS Photo/Mitch Smith

Touch the Thermal Springs

Within the Park, there are 3 places where you can touch the thermal water. Even though the water comes out of the ground at 147 degrees F, it is cool enough to touch by the time it reaches the pools.

  1. The Display Spring - Located directly behind the Maurice Bathhouse, this spring fissures out of a hillside and flows into a shallow pool below. Shaded by trees, surrounded by mosses and blue-green algae, this is a great place to relax and listen to the sounds of running water.

  2. Hot Water Cascade - Located at Arlington Lawn, this is the largest visible spring in the Park. Hot water emanates from the hill side near the Grand Promenade and flows under the path, down a steep cliff into two pools.
  3. The Fordyce Fountains - These fountains are located at the park's former "grand entrance," right between the Fordyce and Maurice Bathhouses. There are two hexagonal fountains where the steaming water shoots up towards the sky.

A couple sits by Gulpha Creek looking over the water with an RV in the background.
Gulpha Gorge Campground

With 40 sites right by Gulpha Creek, the Gulpha Gorge Campground is the perfect place to relax and enjoy the beauty of the Park.

Hiking information and trail maps

With 26 miles of hiking trails in the Park, you can find great views, beautiful forest scenery, and feel like you're not in the City.

Thermal water cascades down a mossy hillside into two concrete collection pools.
Hot Springs Geology

The story of the Park's thermal springs begins with rocks that formed over 400 million years ago...

Walking down bathhouse row, 2 historical figures are seen blended into a modern day photo.
History & Culture

Learn more about Hot Spring National Park's unique cultural and natural history.

Last updated: September 22, 2023

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Contact Info

Mailing Address:

101 Reserve Street
Hot Springs, AR 71901


501 620-6715

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