Hot Springs National Park, Arkansas

Soak Your Troubles Away

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Banjar Hot Springs, Bali, indonesia
Banjar Hot Springs

Banjar Hot Springs

Less than a mile from the village of Banjar in northern Bali, this hot spring is a relaxing 98.6 degrees. The hot spring water pours from the mouths of 8 stone-carved naga (mythical, dragon-like creatures) into a rectangular-shaped pool.   960 1280

Patrick Orton / Getty Images  

Calistoga Spa Hot Springs

Calistoga Spa Hot Springs

Head to Napa Valley for a dip in this mineral pool, one of 4 geothermally heated pools on the grounds of Calistoga Spa Hot Springs hotel in Calistoga, CA. Recline in waters ranging from 80 to 104 degrees, while enjoying the surrounding beauty of nearby Mt. St. Helena.  960 1280

Mark Zukowski  

Dunton Hot Springs

Dunton Hot Springs

A century ago, miners in southwestern Colorado soothed aching bones in these natural hot tubs. Today, the tradition continues: Choose from among 5 different pools, the hottest of which reaches 106 degrees. The wine-red waters are rich in iron and magnesium, with a dash of lithium.  960 1280

Dunton Hot Springs  

Cascate del Mulino

Cascate del Mulino

Take a dip in the most famous natural springs in southern Tuscany. Consisting of several natural pools of warm thermal water, the Cascate del Mulino are open to the public -- and free -- throughout the year. At a warm 99.5 degrees year-round, the waters contain properties that have been known to help skin, digestive and circulatory ailments since Roman times.  960 1280

davideoneclick, flickr   

Banff Upper Hot Springs

Banff Upper Hot Springs

With the spectacular Canadian Rockies just beyond, settle into the soothing waters of Banff Upper Hot Springs. Located in the town of Banff, these hot springs were discovered in 1884 and continue to draw visitors with their year-round temperatures between 98 and 104 degrees. Minerals such as bicarbonate, which may assist in opening peripheral blood vessels and improve circulation to the body’s extremities, can be found in the waters. 960 1280

banff lake louise, flickr   

Pamukkale

Pamukkale

For thousands of years, people have bathed in the hot springs of Pamukkale, located 12 miles north of the city of Denizli in southwestern Turkey. The hot springs, 17 in all, are saturated with calcium. When the calcium cools on the hillside, it forms a white limestone known as travertine. This explains the name of the hot springs -- literally translated as “cotton castle.”  960 1280

Esther Lee, flickr   

Big Bend Hot Springs

Big Bend Hot Springs

After a long day of hiking through Big Bend National Park, consider a dip in these hot springs -- 105 degrees bubbling up from a hole in the ground. The water carries dissolved mineral salts that some say have healing powers. Just make sure you limit the exposure of little kids to these warm waters -- they can feel super-hot in summer!  960 1280

iStock  

Arenal Hot Springs

Arenal Hot Springs

Until 2010, Arenal in Costa Rica was one of the 10 most active volcanoes in the world. Arenal has been calming down, leaving room for travelers to kick back in area hot springs, heated by an underground geothermal river.  960 1280

Thinkstock  

Lava Hot Springs

Lava Hot Springs

Who says Idaho is all about potatoes? The small, sleepy town of Lava Hot Springs (population: 407) is noted for its many hot springs, suitable for bathing as well as a bumpy inner tube run through part of town. The waters range from 102 to 112 degrees. 960 1280

Lava Hot Springs  

Blue Lagoon

Blue Lagoon

This outdoor geothermal spa owes its steamy waters to a lava field in the fishing town of Grindavik on Iceland’s southwestern coast. The waters are rich in minerals such as silica and sulfur, and is said to help people suffering from skin conditions like psoriasis.  960 1280

Reuters   

Ma'In Hot Springs

Ma'In Hot Springs

Mix a journey back into ancient times with a relaxing reprieve in the  Middle East. Situated 866 feet below sea level, this hot freshwater mineral spring and waterfall offers a refreshing spa experience. The hot springs are located on the edge of Wadi Mujib, a gorge in Jordan that feeds the Dead Sea; nearby attractions include the Tomb of Moses (Nabi Musa) and the city of Petra (about 3 hours by car). 960 1280

Getty Images   

Grutas de Tolantongo, Mexico

Grutas de Tolantongo, Mexico

About 125 miles from Mexico City is a small canyon with steep walls called Tolantongo. Near the bottom of the steep box canyon are heated pools, as well as warm waterfalls that flow down the steep canyon walls.  960 1280

Carlos Adampol Galindo, flickr   

Yangbajing, Tibet

Yangbajing, Tibet

Welcome to the highest altitude hot springs in the world. Set at an altitude of 14,764 feet above sea level, these hot springs are located about 54 miles northwest of Tibet’s capital city of Lhasa. While taking a dip, visitors can view the far-off snow-covered Nyainqen Tanggula mountain range. 960 1280

Getty Images   

Paddle the Pacific

Paddle the Pacific

Anacapa Island in the Channel Islands National Park, just off the coast of Los Angeles, is home to some of the best kayaking on the West Coast. Rich with marine life and boasting the much-photographed Arch Rock, Anacapa is the perfect day trip or overnighter for the city dweller looking to get into some rough water. It’s a cliff island, so beware of winds, currents and fog.  

 

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Great Art Productions  

Float the Border

Float the Border

The mighty Rio Grande runs through Big Bend National Park in Texas, but it also represents the border between the U.S. and Mexico. Rafting down the river not only takes you through some eye-widening scenery, like 1500-foot deep canyons, but will also toss you back and forth across the border. 960 1280

Witold Skrypczak  

Hit the Sandy Slopes

Hit the Sandy Slopes

Colorado has Aspen, one of the most famous skiing destinations on the planet. It also has Sand Dunes National Park, one of the only sandboarding and sandsledding destinations on the planet. Slalom down the granular slopes like some diabolical combination of Jean-Claude Killy and Lawrence of Arabia. Hit the dunes early in the morning or late in the evening, lest you roast in the 150° midday heat. And don’t forget the lip balm.

 

 

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Simon Russell  

Cold Storage

Cold Storage

The upper regions of Washington’s Mount Rainier National Park have over 35 square miles of permanent ice and snow, providing a year-round paradise for hearty souls who consider ice camping a pleasure. If you’re going to stay the night on the mountain, securely lock your vittles to keep them from the clutches of foxes and other aggressive winter wildlife. 960 1280

Peter Haley  

Take in the Lights

Take in the Lights

Minnesota's Voyageurs National Park sits just below the Canadian border and offers campers a ringside seat to the Northern Lights. Voyageurs encompasses 270 campsites only accessible by watercraft, but we recommend the remote Echo Lake Campground for best visibility. Check a variety of weather services to determine your best chance of seeing the Northern Lights. 960 1280

Steve Burns  

Yosemite Gliding

Yosemite Gliding

It may seem crazy, but people have been leaping off Glacier Point in Yosemite National Park for decades. Hang gliding was once sanctioned and overseen by park employees. These days the private Yosemite Hang Gliding Association coordinates it. 960 1280

Celso Diniz  

The Rafters

The Rafters

If a weekend of seething whitewater just doesn’t cut it anymore, try an eight-day Grand Canyon raft trip down the Colorado River. There are a host of operators who will happily guide you down 200 miles of rapids. By the end of it, you’ll have seen Native-American ruins, mile-high cliff walls and countless eagles. 960 1280

  

Hit the Heights

Hit the Heights

Colorado’s Rocky Mountain National Park boasts rock formations that will set a climber’s mouth to watering. The 415-square-mile park is a full-service climbing destination, featuring opportunities for scaling rock, wall, ice and snow. Lumpy Ridge and Longs Peak are favorites of local and international climbers. Whether you are an experienced sport climber or a beginning boulderer, be safe and leave no trace of your visit.

 

 

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Forest Woodward  

Lost in America

Lost in America

It makes sense that America’s largest national park is in Alaska, its largest state. Wrangell-Saint Elias stretches across 13,200,000 acres. You could fit Yellowstone, Everglades, and Death Valley inside it, and still have room for Denali, the third largest park (also in Alaska) at 6,075,030 acres. 960 1280

  

Take Me to the River

Take Me to the River

In addition to being the most popular hike in Zion National Park, the Narrows has something for every ability level over its 16 miles. The trail follows the Virgin River, which is convenient during the summer months, since you’ll be at least ankle-deep most of the time. If it starts to rain, head for high ground; flash floods are common and have a tendency to drop by without calling first.  960 1280

  

Touted as having therapeutic qualities, the pure, odorless and tasteless waters flowing from hot springs have been enjoyed by both bathers and drinkers for centuries. At Hot Springs National Park in Arkansas, these springs were considered so valuable that in 1832, Congress designated them a reservation, technically making it the first national park in the United States. Flowing from Hot Springs Mountain, these 47 hot springs became a popular attraction for visitors seeking therapeutic relief, or just simple, steamy relaxation. Eight historic bathhouses form Bathhouse Row, including the elegant Fordyce Bathhouse cum Visitor Center, and comprise a National Historic Landmark District.

An indulgent thermal bath is a must for any visitor to Hot Springs, and there are no lack of bathhouse concessioners in the park's surrounding area. Behind Bathhouse Row is the lovely Grand Promenade, where great views of the protected springs and landscape can be taken in during a post-bath stroll. Should the steamy springs make a visitor drowsy, the 25-plus miles of hiking trails winding through the park will be an invigorating change of pace. Trekkers who reach the observation tower at the top of Hot Springs Mountain will be rewarded with views of the verdant Ouachita Mountains.

Geological History
Hot springs form when water moves through minuscule passages in the rock face of the earth, reaching deep into the hot crust. Upon being heated, the water is energized and returns quickly to the surface through vents.

Park Activities
Tour historic Fordyce Bathhouse, now home to the park's visitor center, and take a self-guided tour to learn about the geological history of the waters, and how the 800,000-plus gallons of water that pass through the springs are used. Stroll the Grand Promenade, visit the eight bathhouses and explore some of the many miles of hiking trails that twist through the mountain.

Where to Stay
Proud to have been the first B&B in Arkansas, the 1890 William House oozes charm and hospitality. The inn's six well-appointed rooms feature 12-foot ceilings, sitting areas and an array of antiques. Five of the rooms offer private whirlpool tubs.

Side Trips
Where else can folks slap their knee to the rhythm of a banjo while learning to blacksmith and play the dulcimer, besides the fantastic Ozark Folk Center? For visitors who have yearned to do a jig while listening to folk-music jam sessions, this historic site is the place to go. Take a lye soap-making class, or learn basic woodcarving. Young and old will be delighted to pay homage to the fascinating culture of the Ozarks. The center is a four-hour drive from Hot Springs.

The Scoop
Where
: Located in the city of Hot Springs along the southern edge of Hot Springs Mountain
Hours: The park and Gulpha Gorge campground are open year-round. The visitor center is open daily, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m and until 6 p.m. from May 28 through Aug. 12.
Activities: Hot springs and Bathhouse Row, auto tours, hiking, camping, bird-watching, interpretive programs
Getting there: The local Hot Springs Memorial Field or Little Rock National Airport are the nearest airports.

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