Most Popular Campgrounds in Hot Springs National Park
Unlike other national parks, Hot Springs National Park is an urban park, located in the middle of Hot Springs, Arkansas. This gem of a mountain town has made an industry out of tapping and dispensing the park’s major resource, mineral-rich waters of hot springs. The town prospered as a health spa in the mid-19th century and was a hot spot for the nation’s organized-crime leaders in the 1930s. If you want to camp inside this national park, then Gulpha Gorge is your only option. That said, here are three of the closest and most frequented campgrounds that are perfect base camps for experiencing the healing waters of this historic national park.
1. Gulpha Gorge, AR
With close proximity to the town of Hot Springs, Gulpha Gorge Campground is your best bet for an in-park camping experience. The campground is well maintained and convenient but does lack privacy. Tailored more towards the RV crowd, the amenities here include basic flush toilets, picnic tables, and hookups at every site. The campground is nestled amongst a scenic river and is close to all the attractions the town has to offer.
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2. Lake Ouachita State Park, AR
Only a 30-minute drive from the national park, Lake Ouachita State Park is a great spot that offers tent pads, a table and a fire ring. The walk-in sites are on a peninsula, which makes for some breathtaking views. Perfect for escaping the crowds, this campground showcases the natural beauty of Lake Ouachita.
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3. Lake Catherine State Park, AR
Lake Catherine State Park offers many different outdoor options close to Hot Springs, including a variety of cabins and 70 campsites. With Lake Catherine at your door step, this campground has access to plenty of hiking and lake activities. The campsites here are nicely spread out with lots of trees for hammocking. If you’re after a full amenity base camp that’s close to Hot Springs, then Lake Catherine State Park is for you.
Explore Hot Springs
Today, the appeal of Hot Springs is less the springs themselves, more the tourism infrastructure that commemorates them. This idyllic mountain town offers plenty of outdoor fun and if you’re after an old-fashioned spa treatment, then make sure you stop by the iconic Bathhouse Row.
The Dyrt’s Ranger duo the Switchback Kids, who spent a year visiting all 59 National Parks, have put together this incredible video to document their firsthand experience in Hot Springs with the hopes of improving the visit of others.
Switchback Kids Ranger Tip: Check out Superior Bathhouse, the National Park Service’s only in-park brewery.
Win gear for camping Hot Springs
When you review campsites across the US on The Dyrt, you get the chance to win outdoor gear. In Arkansas, you have the chance to win a $100 gift card from CRKT, a $200 gift card from Mishmi Takin, and an MH2 Headlamp from Ledlenser. Check out the contest leaderboard, review your camping experience, earn points for your review, and you could win prizes!