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The two RV Gypsies
went to Hot Springs, Arkansas to explore
Hot Springs National Park
October 16-17, 2012

USA state showing location of ArkansasUSA map showing location of Hot Springs, ArkansasArkansas map showing location of Hot Springs

The two RV Gypsies drove through Texarkana, USA, a two-county region anchored by the twin cities of Texarkana, Texas and Texarkana, Arkansas. The Texarkana Post Office is located in two states, Texas and Arkansas.

Texarkana post office and sign
Texarkana  water tower

Hot Springs is the 11th most populous city in Arkansas, and the county seat of Garland County, and the principal city of the Hot Springs Metropolitan Statistical Area encompassing all of Garland County. Hot Springs is traditionally best known for the natural spring water that gives it its name, and flows out of the ground at a temperature of 147 °F (64 °C).

Hot Springs National Park is the oldest Federal Reserve in the USA, and the tourist trade brought by the famous springs make it a very successful spa town. It is famous for being the childhood home of a former President of the United States, Bill Clinton. Because Hot Springs National Park was the oldest Federal Reserve, it was the first to receive its own U.S. quarter in April 2010 as part of the America the Beautiful Quarters. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

welcome to Arkansas state sign
outline of the state of Arkansas on a bridge

The two RV Gypsies walked around the city of Hot Springs and took a few photos. There were parking meters everywhere that were enforced all of the time.

The sculpture shown below is known as "Mother Nature" and is the centerpiece of a fountain supplied by a hot spring. The sculpture is of a woman pouring water from an urn. She holds the urn over her shoulder. A young boy standing behind her reaches out for the water. Three deer are standing around them. The water for the fountain comes from a hot spring with an average temperature of 143 degrees.

The sculpture is in the median of Central Avenue which is often very busy. Be careful when visiting this waymark.

Mother Nature and deer sculpture
Mother Nature and deer sculpture

The city takes its name from the natural thermal water that flows from 47 springs on the western slope of Hot Springs Mountain in the historic downtown district of the city. About a million gallons of 143-degree water flows from the springs each day. The rate of flow is not affected by fluctuations in the rainfall in the area. Studies by National Park Service scientists have determined through carbon dating that the water that reaches the surface in Hot Springs fell as rainfall in an as-yet undetermined watershed 4,000 years earlier. The water percolates very slowly down through the earth’s surface until it reaches superheated areas deep in the crust and then rushes rapidly to the surface to emerge from the 47 hot springs.

A small channel of hot spring water known as Hot Springs Creek runs under ground from an area near Park Avenue to Bath House Row.

 

Bathhouse Row is a collection of bathhouses, associated buildings, and gardens located at Hot Springs National Park in the city of Hot Springs, Arkansas. The bathhouses were included in 1832 when the Federal Government took over four parcels of land to preserve 47 natural hot springs, their mineral waters which lack the sulphur odor of most hot springs, and their area of origin on the lower slopes of Hot Springs Mountain.

The existing bathhouses are the third and fourth generations of bathhouses along Hot Springs Creek and some sit directly over the hot springs, the resource for which the area was set aside as the first Federal Reserve in 1832. The bathhouses are a collection of turn-of-the-century eclectic buildings in neoclassical, renaissance-revival, Spanish and Italianate styles aligned in a linear pattern with formal entrances, outdoor fountains, promenades and other landscape-architectural features. The buildings are illustrative of the popularity of the spa movement in the United States in the 19th and 20th centuries.

Bathhouse Row was designated a National Historic Landmark on May 28, 1987

sign: Fordyce bathhouse
Fordyce bathouse building

Above: The Fordyce bathhouse was built in 1914–15. The Fordyce bathhouse is the most elaborate and was the most expensive of the bathhouses, the cost including fixtures and furniture being $212,749.55 US. It was closed on June 29, 1962, the first of the Row establishments to fall victim to the decline in popularity of therapeutic bathing.

The Quapaw bathhouse
The Quapaw bathhouse

Above: The Quapaw bathhouse was built in 1922 in a Spanish Colonial Revival style building of masonry and reinforced concrete finished with stucco. The most striking exterior feature is the large central dome covered with brilliantly colored tiles and capped with a small copper cupola. The building's use as a bathhouse ended in 1984 when the last contract ended. A new lease was signed with the National Park in 2007 and the Quapaw Bath house reopened as Quapaw Baths & Spa in July 2008.

 

The two RV Gypsies come across a sign that said "display spring" and there was a little fountain spurting hot water upwards. See Karen below saying "DUH".

Karen expected Hot Springs National Park to be a big area with lots of hot springs that she could soak in. She was very disappointed to discover that the only soaking to be done here would be in indoor bathtubs filled with healing mineral water. Karen much prefers the other outdoor hot springs she has visited all throughout the USA. This place is not Karen's idea of a National Park or a hot spring. It is surely nothing like any of the other National Parks or hot springs she has visited.

Karen Duquette saying DUH
Karen Duquette saying DUH

Around the corner from the above display spring, (alongside the row of bath houses) was a long path with nice gardens on each side, so the two RV Gypsies walked up that way. Apparently this is where the hot water emanates from at a temperature of 143 degrees, and some idiot was actually putting his feet in it. That's too hot even for Karen.

gardens and pathway
sign about the open springs
open hot spring
sign: US hot springs reservation
open hot spring
open hot spring

As far as the Hot Springs National Park itself goes, the drive through it would be very nice if the fall colors were out more, but as shown in the below photos, the trees were just beginning to turn. The road did lead to the Hot Springs Mountain Tower, which gave a nice panorama view of the surrounding area. Parking was free at the tower, unlike in town, but it cost to go up into the tower. Will the two RV Gypsies recommend this area to other visitors? Not if you are looking to explore a National Park, but yes if you want to soak in a mineral water bathtub inside the bath houses, or maybe just learn a bit of the area's history.

sign: Hot Springs National Park
road through Hot Springs National Park
road through Hot Springs National Park

Since 1877, Hot Springs Mountain Tower has been the Hot Springs landmark. Enoch Woolman erected the original 75-foot observatory. When lightning and fire destroyed the structure, a second tower was built. The 165-foot steel structure, later named the Rix Tower, stood for over 60 years. Following years of coordinated efforts between the community and the National Park Service, the new Hot Springs Mountain Tower opened to the public in 1983. This 216-foot superstructure affords a breathtaking panorama-encompassing 140 miles- of beautiful Hot Springs, the Ouachita Mountains and the surrounding Diamond Lakes area. It's a great way to start off or end a day of sightseeing in this area.

Hot Springs Mountain Tower
panorama view from the Hot Springs Mountain Tower

The panorama above and the small photo below are photos of the same area, taken from the tower. In those photos, notice the yellow thing sticking up in the background. It is an amusement park (closed). The small photo below on the right was taken while the two RV Gypsies were driving by that amusement park.

view from the Hot Springs Mountain Tower
Hot Springs Mountain Tower

Below: more photos taken from the tower.

panorama view from the Hot Springs Mountain Tower
panorama view from the Hot Springs Mountain Tower
view from the Hot Springs Mountain Tower
view from the Hot Springs Mountain Tower
view from the Hot Springs Mountain Tower
view from the Hot Springs Mountain Tower
fall colors as seen from the Hot Springs Mountain Tower
fall colors as seen from the Hot Springs Mountain Tower

The two RV Gypsies parked their RV at the Hot Springs National Park KOA. Mostly, it was a typical KOA campground, but this one did have breakfast at "Grandpa's Griddle" on Saturday and Sunday mornings with a full menu at prices $5.00 to $6.50. The pool still had water in it, which is unusual in campgrounds after labor day (their brochure says pool closes October 15). It also had a nice rec room as shown below. The two RV Gypsies seldom partake of these type of campground amenities because they travel to see the country, cities, and explore, not to camp. To the two RV Gypsies, a campground is a place to park their home and have water, electricity and sewer hook-up, so they can eat and sleep in their own accommodations. Anyway, this KOA had free Wi-Fi, but it was unsecured and Karen has stopped using unsecured Wi-Fi since she thinks this may be how she got a computer virus awhile back.

A road in the campground too narrow for two RV's to pass each other

narrow campground road
sign: welcome to KOA Hot Springs
KOA award sign
outside the KOA office
KOA clubhouse
KOA gameroom
KOA pool
KOA cabins
the RV of the two RV Gypsies in Hot Springs, Arkansas
the RV of the two RV Gypsies in Hot Springs, Arkansas
the RV of the two RV Gypsies in Hot Springs, Arkansas

look below for menu options You ain't seen nothing yet......more excitement in Arkansas...

back button Please return to the Arkansas MENU for easy hiking trails, waterfalls, the Buffalo River (a National River), more fall foliage, and the Grand Canyon of the Ozarks.

From the Arkansas Menu, you can also continue on to Tupelo, Mississippi and see the birthplace of Elvis Presley.