Visiting Hot Springs

Visiting Hot Springs

Arkansas Hot Springs Clinton Sign Arkansas Hot Springs Downtown
The best town to visit in Arkansas is Hot Springs in my opinion. Once a major destination in the country, the spa town of Hot Springs no longer attracts upper class tourists in the numbers they used to, but the famous sites, historic district, restaurants and bars, and of course the springs themselves still exist. The surrounding area also has plenty of wildlife and natural beauty and was even visited by Hernando De Soto.
Arkansas Hot Springs Park Arkansas Hot Springs Berries
Since I visited in the winter time, I was happy to see this trail by the historic district covered with some green scenery and even red berries in the middle of January. This small area is actually part of Hot Springs national park, and the trail I hiked has an observation tower at the top of the hill overlooking the town itself and surrounding areas. Of course, the trail also passes by many hot springs. Below is a photo of a waterfall that comes into a fountain with temperatures around 147 degrees. Because of the hot springs, this area was once very important to native Americans and in the late 1800s and early 1900s, it became a tourist magnet for Americans who visited to bath and stay at the luxury town.
Arkansas Hot Springs Waterfall Arkansas Hot Springs Spring
Arkansas Hot Springs Downtown Arkansas Hot Springs Bar
These surrounding photos are of the actual historic district in Hot Springs. The town was founded in the early 1800s but was largely left destroyed and deserted after the civil war. After being rebuilt soon after, the population soared and it quickly became a popular place for American tourists. Today, most of the buildings unfortunately look like they could be restored, but the insides are still kept in good condition
Arkansas Hot Springs Rehabilitation Center Arkansas Hot Springs Vintage Ads
The large building on the left is the Hot Springs Rehabilitation Center built in the late 1880s. The US government also took up the beliefs that the hot springs held therapeutic benefits and so the first joint Navy and Army hospital was created. As the demand and interest began to decline, the rehabilitation center eventually closed down and today the building serves as a career and training institute.
Arkansas Hot Springs Quapaw Baths Arkansas Hot Springs Lamar Baths
Most of the original bath houses that existed are no longer in full use or have been turned over to museums. Above is bath row, were several bath houses line the main street in downtown Hot Springs. On the left is another bath house called Quapaw Baths that is still in use today. It offers a spa, massages, and even has a cafe.
Arkansas Hot Springs Bath House Arkansas Hot Springs Bath House
These surrounding photos show what the bath houses looked like back in the early 1900s when they were at their peak. It’s kind of strange seeing what life must have been like back then without all the high tech gadgets we use nowadays. In modern times people would be listening to iPods, using their laptops and talking on cell phones, while back then it seems a piano and a pool table were enough. Perhaps it used to be more about having a drink and relaxing with good company! Speaking of relaxing, the machines and devices you see below were designed for that purpose, but I think many of them almost look like torture devices! Some of these things were even used to treat certain diseases.
Arkansas Hot Springs Bath House Arkansas Hot Springs Bath House
Arkansas Hot Springs Tree Fern Arkansas Hot Springs Tree
During my short trip to Arkansas, I came across many cool trees that were covered with ferns. I’ve never seen fern on a tree before, and for some reason the fern only began to grow from about 6 feet on the tree and higher. Above is a close up shot of one of the branches, on the right is the tree as a whole. The little bit of blue you see in the sky was my only break from the overcast and rain I experienced!
Arkansas Lake Ouachita Wasteland Arkansas Lake Ouachita River
Right outside Hot Springs is Lake Ouachita which is part of the Ouachita National Forest. It’s the largest lake in the state, and home to a rare freshwater jellyfish that often appears seen in the summer. The islands, hiking trails, and water sports make it an ideal place to visit in warmer months. Since I visited Arkansas in the winter when the trees are dead and most animals are hibernating or migrated elsewhere, I didn’t see much wildlife or natural beauty. Out of desperation to photograph some type of wildlife I took the photo of the large crow on the left. This is probably the only crow on my entire website. The not so good photo of the black vulture on the lower right was the only unique animal I saw. I was surprised to find out this species of vulture lives on the east coast since I had never seen one before.
Arkansas Lake Ouachita Crow Arkansas Lake Ouachita Vulture