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Bathhouse Row, Hot Springs, Ark.

In the days before every hotel had a spa, people would travel from all over the world to “take the waters” at the natural mineral springs in Hot Springs, Ark., heated miles below the surface and bubbling to earth through rock fissures. Native Americans were the first to discover the healing powers of the hot springs, and the area’s popularity led to it receiving federal protection as a park (the Hot Springs Reservation) in 1832, making it the oldest park managed by the U.S. National Park Service.

Simple tents and wooden buildings eventually gave way to elaborate bathhouses where visitors could bathe in hot spring water and receive other therapeutic treatments. Some of these involved exercise routines that took advantage of the surrounding mountains containing the springs, and an elaborate network of walking and hiking trails was established.

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Hot Water Cascade (Photo by Elizabeth Swift/CC by 2.0)

Today, visitors to Hot Springs National Park can still dip into the hot springs, sample the mineral water from a series of public fountains, and hike the trails of Hot Spring Mountain, North Mountain, and West Mountain. The new Chimani Hot Springs app includes detailed descriptions of each of the historic bathhouses — many of which are open for tours or operate as working spas (one has even been revived as a brewpub). The app also includes descriptions of dozens of hiking trails, local history, and where to sleep and eat in this urban oasis in the middle of the city of Hot Springs.

Like all of our apps, Chimani Hot Springs is absolutely free to download and use on your iOS or Android device, so whether you want to stretch your legs on a mountain trail or soothe your aches in the spa, install the app now and start planning your Hot Springs National Park visit today.