Most People Don't Know America's First National Park Is Right Here In Arkansas
If someone asked you about the first national park in the U.S., you’d probably think about Yellowstone, right? Well, you’d be sort-of correct in thinking that way. Yes, Yellowstone was the first federally-protected land to be called a national park. But no, it was not the first national park. America’s actual first national park may miss out on some fame because it predated what we now call the National Park Service, but that doesn’t make Hot Springs National Park any younger than Yellowstone. What this AR park undeniably has, however, is some of the best hot springs in the US.
If you’re planning a visit to this incredible national park, there’s no better time to visit than during National Park Week. Learn all about this celebration of America’s great outdoors — including fee-free days throughout the year!
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National Park to visit in Arkansas
What is another national park to visit in Arkansas?
Search for real diamonds in an eroded volcanic crater at Crater of Diamonds State Park, in Murfreesboro. Visitors come from all over the work searching the 37-acre field for keepsakes of gemstones, minerals, and other rocks. And the best part — they are yours to keep. Provide your own mining tools or rent some from the park. The visitor's center offers education on what you might find, and geology in general.
What are some other things to do outside in Arkansas?
Share this exciting adventure of ziplining with a friend at Horseshoe Canyon Ranch, in Jasper. This place offers the tallest, longest and fastest zipline in Arkansas. And if ziplining isn't your thing, this authentic, western-style dude ranch in the Ozark mountains, offers tours, lodging and other fun. And for the wildlife lovers, check out the Central Arkansas Nature Center, over in Little Rock. The center is within the Julius Breckling Riverfront Park, where folks can enjoy the view of the Arkansas River. Bring your camera and some binoculars, because here is where wildlife abounds, where part of the Arkansas River Trail crosses the grounds. Enjoy the landscaping, aquariums, an exhibit hall and theater. You can also appreciate the effort into living green including the recycling of aluminum, cardboard, paper, and glass.
Where are some good hiking trails in Arkansas?
Here is a list of 12 hikes under five miles that are worth finding in the Wonder State. Caddo Bend Trail, in Lake Ouachita State Park, is a strenuous, 4-mile hike taking about three hours out of your day. Enjoy the organic beauty this area offers from the observation deck overlooking the lake, including large boulder gardens, wildflowers, and a generous amount of quartz. The trail starts near the park amphitheater. Also try Bench Road Trail, in Mount Nebo State Park, where you'll find a sandstone slab known as "The Bench," about 300 feet below the summit of Mount Nebo. Enjoy the flowers and views of Fern Lake as you walk this easy 4-mile hike.