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Danae Levy paused to speak with me on her way to fill up a jug with hot spring water.  “It’s very good, fresh water,” she said about the elixir flowing from the federally managed fountain in downtown Hot Springs, Arkansas.  The National Park Service certifies that the water from 47 natural hot springs in the protected mountainous area is naturally safe to drink.  The average temperature is 143 degrees Fahrenheit, so it’s cooled just enough to not scald anyone before being dispensed freely from the public taps.

Danae Levy Dispensing Spring Water

“It’s the only water I drink,” said park historian Jeff Heitzman, when I asked him about the famous spring water.  My family brought our stainless steel canteens and a few extra plastic bottles to fill up with the water.  It certainly has a pure taste — no hint of chlorine from a water treatment plant — because none is needed.  Spring waters as deep as 8,000 feet below ground dissolve minerals before arriving at the surface of Hot Springs Mountain.  It’s not sterile water, but considered potable. It tastes best once it’s chilled.
Fordyce Bathhouse Museum

Levy said she visited from Texas primarily to take the hot mineral baths that people have long considered therapeutic.  She said she’s suffered some physical ailments through the years.  “I’ve only been here three days and I feel a whole lot better,” she exclaimed! Bathhouse Row is on the National Register of Historic Places, with the Fordyce Bathhouse now a museum.  Other bathhouses are still in business or in the process of renovation.

Overlooking Hot Springs, Arkansas

I was unable to stay long enough to experience a mineral bath for myself. However, my family toured the museum and rode to the top of the Mountain Tower to survey the landscape. Seems like a pretty park for hiking when the temperatures are a bit milder.  Unfortunately, some of the historic hotels have gotten a bit run down.

With a storied past and changing economic climate, Hot Springs offers a constant in its most precious natural resource.  By the way, if anyone tries to sell you Hot Springs water in a bottle, it may not be what it seems.  Federal law prohibits anyone from selling the park’s waters.

Hot Springs, Arkansas

Fordyce Museum and Park Visitor Center Hot Springs, AR

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