Wednesday, August 3, 2022

Visit to Hot Springs National Park

main entrance to the park

Back in May I went on a weekend getaway to Arkansas with a friend.  One of my favorite places that we visited was Hot Springs National Park.  Located in the middle of town, there are 26 miles of hiking trails in the park where you can take in beautiful scenery and have access to ancient thermal springs.

steam rising from one of the hot springs

I found it fascinating that the main entrance to the hot springs was located in the middle of a bustling tourist area known as Bathhouse Row.  Rebecca and I chose to walk along Peak Trail, a short and moderately steep hike that took us to an observation tower.  

The "haze of smoke" is steam rising from the waters.

The thermal water at Hot Springs National Park is nearly 4,000-year-old spring water in its natural state. I'd never been to a location where hot spring water was available.  I was amazed to see the strong force of steam rise from the water.  And, it is indeed, hot!  The water comes out of the ground at 147 degrees Fahrenheit.  

a jug of hot springs water I filled from a fountain

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, and even encouraged.  I collected a sample of the hot springs water in one of the actual hot spring pools while I was out on a hike.  Before we left the park, Rebecca and I purchased large jugs and filled them with water from one of the many Thermal Spring Fountains.  The fountains allow visitors to fill containers with the hot springs water for free.  They say it's safe to drink the water that comes out of the fountains, but I'm keeping mine in the jug as a souvenir.  

I seriously cannot say enough about the beauty and interesting history of this national park.  

An original bathtub that, back in the day, was used to bathe in the hot springs sits inside the Bathhouse Row Emporium.