Hot Springs National Park has announced plans for a phased re-opening of some facilities beginning Saturday.
Following guidance from the White House, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
(CDC), and state and local public health authorities, Hot Springs National Park is increasing some recreational access and visitor services. The National Park Service (NPS) is working service-wide with federal, state, and local public health authorities to closely monitor the COVID-19 pandemic and is using a phased approach to
increase access on a park-by-park basis.
Beginning May 22, 2020, Hot Springs National Park will reopen access to:
Visitor services on the front porch of the Fordyce Bathhouse
Restrooms at the top of Hot Springs Mountain
Gulpha Gorge day use area, accessible only by hiking. Parking and restrooms are still closed. Parking in front of the entrance is prohibited in order to allow for emergency vehicle traffic.
In addition, the following spaces continue to be available:
Trails, roads, and thermal and cold-water fountains
Concession services operating in bathhouses and the Mountain Tower are open for limited services according to state and CDC guidelines. Contact the businesses for hours and services.
With public health in mind, the following facilities remain closed at this time:
Fordyce Bathhouse and Museum
Gulpha Gorge Campground
Hot Springs National Park superintendent Laura Miller said, “We are taking a phased approach to resuming some visitor services in order to slow the spread of the virus. Our first priority is to protect our community’s residents, our employees, and our visitors. We look forward to the time when we can welcome all visitors back to fully experience the park.”
National park reopening plans have stirred some controversy. In Arizona, a former superintendent of the Grand Canyon National Park has warned against reopening that park because he figures tourists will cluster at popular overlooks.
The Coalition to Protect America’s National Parks, an organization of current and former employees and volunteers, has also issued a list of 10 suggested requirements for national park reopening.