For hundreds of years one spot nestled in the Ouachita Mountains has been considered sacred first by the Native Americans and then by European explorers. Today, the “Valley of Vapors,” is now Hot Springs National Park.
The hot springs produce more than 800,000 gallons of water a day at an average temperature of 143 degrees.
The water that flows from the springs today took over 4,000 years to filter down through the sedimentary layers. The heating of the water is caused by intense pressure as the water is forced back to the surface through small fissures.
Legend has it that an Indian Chief was healed from his illness after drinking from the hot springs.
In the 1830s, the first permanent settlers built log cabins and a health store for visitors to the hot springs. Overtime, bathhouses emerged.
In the Victorian Era, larger much more luxurious bathhouses were erected.
International students in Arkansas might want to take a break from their studies and relax at the modern day bathhouses.
In good health?
Hot Springs National Park has 26 miles of hiking trails. Picnic areas are available.
International students in Arkansas can also camp in the Gulpha Gorge Campground on peaceful Gulpha Creek.
Bathhouse Row and the Grand Promenade, within the National Historic Landmark District, offer students a beautiful view of green hedges and elegant bathhouses.
The “Valley of Vapors” is also home to the Valley of Vapors Independent Music Festival. The music festival has “hosted nearly 900 cutting edge, internationally touring artists who performed to a combined audience of about 8000 music lovers over the course of 6 festivals,” according to their website.
The hot springs aren’t the only mysteries in the area. Three miles away is “Hell’s Half Acre,” which has had geologists puzzled for years. The two-are plot is surrounded by lush forests but it is completely barren of vegetation. There is also a bottomless pit located on site.