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Hot Springs National Park, Arkansas
Fifty miles southwest of Little Rock, the spa town of Hot Springs nestles in the heavily forested Zig Zag mountains. Hot Springs National Park is the oldest park currently in the National Park System. Its thermal waters have attracted visitors since Native Americans used the area as a neutral zone to settle disputes.
Even though the popularity of the park has waned over the years, it is still possible to sample the old time luxury of Hot Springs by taking a bath. The only establishment on Bathhouse Row that is still open for business is the Buckstaff, where a thermal mineral bath costs $14. To taste the water, which lacks the strong sulphuric taste often associated with thermal springs, you can fill up a container at the drinking fountain at Central and Reserve.
To the rear of the Fordyce Bathhouse in downtown Hot Springs, two small springs have been left open for viewing. The Grand Promenade from here is a half mile brick walkway overlooking downtown. Trails of various lengths and severity lead up to the steep slopes of the Hot Springs Mountain. To reach the summit, take a short drive or any of several trails. The observation decks of Mountain Tower offer superb views of the town, the Ouchitas and the surrounding lakes.