At 5,550 acres, Hot Springs National Park is the smallest national park in the United States. People have been coming to the area for hundreds of years to enjoy its natural hot tubs. Starting in the 19th century, several spas that offered baths with pumped in spring water opened in the region. Many visitors with ailments such as arthritis flocked to these relaxation stations, believing that the mineral-rich waters could help heal them.
The area became a national park in 1921. Today you can still visit the one bathhouse that remains in operation at the park. (People aren’t allowed to take dips directly in the springs.) You can also drink the spring water from special fountains around the park. And don’t worry about burning your tongue. When the water flows from the ground into the pools, it’s a sizzling 143˚F on average. But it cools before reaching the park’s baths and fountains.
Home at Hot Springs
In addition to the springs, visitors to the park can also see some pretty cool wildlife. Spotted salamanders, great blue herons, and other animals make their homes here. Sounds like there are a lot of ways to soak up the fun at Hot Springs National Park!