Arkansas Fall Foliage Day Trip – Hot Springs Edition

What better Arkansas fall foliage day trip than Hot Springs?! Hot Springs is home to MANY amazing things. The history of the town is thrilling and packed with adventures of all ages. This makes it the perfect place for a day trip or weekend getaway.

It’s nestled in the foothills of the the Ouachita Mountains and sets up quite well for an Arkansas fall review. Put the car in drive!

Winding Roads and Colors of Gold

The Drive

Fall Foilage Map to Hot Springs
Fall Foilage Map to Hot Springs

There are many ways to get to Hot Springs, but we’re hunting for the twists of color that autmn brings. You can go in any direction towards Hot Springs through the Ouachita National Forest and get quite an eye full. We’ve outlined a great run and would recommend starting in the small town of Ola. Hot Springs is easier to access through the interstate, but do yourself a favor and make a drive out of it. Stop at those small mom and pop gas stations. You never know what you’ll find!

Hot Springs Mountain Tower

Hot Springs Mountain Tower
Hot Springs Mountain Tower

Let this be your first stop. Talk about breath taking! The elevator will take you 216 feet to a 360 degree view of Hot Springs Mountain, Diamond Lake, and the beautiful city of Hot Springs. There’s an $8 admission but well worth the view.

Pro Tip: There’s a mile and half trail starting on Fountain Street. It’s scenic and you can avoid the $5 parking parking pass.

More information here:

Lake Catherine State Park

There are so many things to do here, but if you’re looking for the best color, take the Falls Branch hike. It passes by Falls Creek Falls (how creative) which is the #1 sight to see in the park besides the beautiful lake itself. It’s a little more than a easy hike, but quite doable.
If you’re staying over the weekend and have a camper or RV, this is your place! Arkansas State Parks are some for the best in the country, and this one is no different!

Check out the park’s website for more to do:

Garvan Woodland Gardens

Arkansas Fall Foliage Day Trip - Garvan Gardens
Garvan Gardens

This place. If you’ve never been, you’re missing out. Simply wow. Expect a leisurely stroll through an architect designed forest/garden. You’ll see waterfalls, pools, ponds, bridges, wonderful lighting, etc. Think botanical garden, Arkansas style. They offer tons of classes and activities. This place is truly unique and there isn’t any thing else like it in our great state.

Pro tip: Amazing place for a photo shoot. Bring the family. Just ask someone else to take a couple of shots.

All that goodness here:

If you can get all of that into a day, you’ve done well. There are some great places to eat for winding down and we recommend Rolande’s Restaurante or Fisherman’s Wharf. Take in a show if you’re staying overnight. Maxwell Blade, if you like magic, is pretty amazing. Hot Springs is a great spot for an Arkansas fall foliage day trip, but the town offers so much more.

Looking for another Arkansas fall foliage day trip? Try these:

Jasper, AR –
Mountain View, AR –

Have at it, Y’all!

Phil and Jess at

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