Hot Springs National Park is located in the lush woods of southwest Arkansas. The area received its name from the hot mountain springs that provide the surrounding land with abundant fresh water. Whilst the town of Hot Springs, AR is famous for spas and baths, the neighboring national park is home to some beautiful trails and scenic vistas.
Address: 369 Central Avenue, Hot Springs AR 71901
Hot Springs Mountain Tower
Admission to the top was $7.00 for adults. I have mixed emotions on whether or not I would recommend this to anyone else as I think it is a skippable part of the park. Nonetheless, enjoy the pictures I took from up there!
Hot Springs Mountain Trail
The Hot Springs Mountain trail is the most popular trail in the park and is a 1.7-mile loop around the peak with great views of the immense forest. I strongly recommend this trail if you are passing through and only have an hour.
Gulpha Gorge Trail
The route we took followed Hot Springs Mountain trail to Gulpha Gorge to Goat Rock Trail. The Gulpha Gorge Section was approximately a quarter mile.
Goat Rock Trail
The infamous GOAT ROCK! Just kidding, but this was our favorite section of the day hike. Follow a rocky staircase and reach the top of Goat Rock overlooking a beautiful view.
Dogwood Trail (Upper Loop)
Continuing on the trail through the beautiful forest. We honestly couldn’t have had better weather or better time of year to visit.
Hot Springs: The Town
Hot Springs is also a tourist destination for the local shopping and entertainment. After we finished the 4ish miles of hiking we went into town to grab some great Italian food at Angel’s.
The following day we went into town for our spa treatment, which I’ll write about further in this article.
Sunset Trail & Balanced Rock
The longest trail (Sunset Trail, 13 miles) is on the West side of the park. Thankfully there are different entrance and exit points that make sections of the trail accessible without the 26 mile round trip.
We drove north on Cedar Glades Rd until we got to a tiny offroad parking lot. From there the trip was 1.3 miles uphill to Balanced Rock.
We were determined to see the sunset on Sunset Trail, and the experience did not fall short of breathtaking.
This was the highlight of the trip and made the long drive from Houston, TX worth it. I would strongly recommend you make a trip up to Balanced Rock for a sunset.
Review & Recommendations
I have high expectations for US National Parks. Smaller parks, like Hot Springs, have to compete against Rocky Mountain National Park, Yellowstone, etc. for funding and resources. With that in mind, I give Hot Springs National Park a 4 out of 5 on my imaginary scale of National Park Rankings.
This is a wonderful place to take the family for a weekend or escape into some longer trails (Sunset Trail). The views are beautiful and were amazing to see in Fall. That being said, there is no “WOW” factor besides the sunset.
I would recommend the trails we took and sites we saw. The worst part of the trip was paying $55 for a 20 minute spa bath… never again.
Thank you for reading and please ask any questions with the comments!