The Hot springs guests enjoy today were originally called the "Valley of Vapors" by Native Americans, at least around 1541. For over 8,000 years the natives had been enjoying the soothing waters. By the 1700's the area was settled by the Caddo followed by the Choctaw, Cherokee, and other tribes. All these tribes agreed to put aside their differences and weapons to enjoy the Valley of Vapors together. The land would switch hands over the decades and even centuries until it came into the hands of the United States in 1818. The land was obtained as the Quapaw Native Americans ceded the land by force while being forced to move to a southern reservation. A year later Arkansas became an officially territory of the United States. In 1832 the United State recognized the importance of this land and decided to make it the first ever national reservation with federal protection. On June 16th of 1880 it was officially declared as a recreational park for public use.
As the official Hot Springs town was established so were the many bath houses capitalizing on the thermal waters. The first structures were merely canvas and wooden frames. Later they would upgrade to just wooden buildings. These structures did not last long since they were highly susceptible to fires, rotting, and collapsing. The hotsprings waters originally ran exposed through the town, but later the town constructed a covered channel for the water that allowed them to put a sidewalk over it and other landscaping around it. This is when bathhouse row became really what it is today. Bathhouses could access the waters from underground and built luxurious structures to offer the thermal waters along with other spa treatments.
Today guests can enjoy the thermal waters along with various beautiful walking trails. The park also offers guided tours for those more interested in the history of the Hot Springs and town.