Visitors to Hot Springs will enjoy this loop hike as it meanders across rolling hillsides. Along the way, sweeping vistas of Central Arkansas unroll and visitors can stop at the Hot Springs Mountain Tower
, one of the highlights of the park.
This loop leaves from the Gulpha Gorge Trailhead, which is quite easy to access. Visitors can make their way to the trailhead from the Gulpha Gorge campground, or can park near the trailhead on N. Mountain Drive.
The trail begins by taking the Hot Springs Mountain Trail
, as it departs the trailhead to the south. Though never too far from North Mountain Drive, visitors will feel the world apart. The trail winds through both deciduous and coniferous forests, which makes it shady in the summer. In the winter, with fewer leaves on the trees, this route showcases some excellent views.
You'll then continue winding their way south for about 1/2 of a mile, before reaching the Peak Trail
. Take a right, and head to the Hot Springs Mountain Tower
, which offers expansive views from well above the treetops!
Once you've had your fill, continue on the Hot Springs Mountain Trail
, as it curves to the north. At this point, the trail will begin a gradual descent towards the Floral Trail
, and the picnic shelter that is located just past the train intersection. The shelter is a great place to stop and share a quick snack, or just take a brief break before continuing on your way.
Keep moving along the Hot Springs Mountain Trail
, until it dead ends at the Upper Dogwood Trail
. Take a right on the Upper Dogwood Trail
, and continue a short distance to return to your vehicle.
A variety of coniferous and deciduous trees shade your way, and you may catch sight of local birds.