Springs and Gardens of Northwest Arkansas
Quite a few towns in this part of the state grew up around natural springs, but Eureka Springs was blessed with such an abundance of them that it became known as "The Town that Water Built." A summer trip to the region isn't complete without a tour of some of the beautiful springs and public gardens of NW Arkansas.
Many of the springs have pretty pocket parks around them, and some have places to sit and rest or snack. Walking maps are available, but town is so small you can stroll Main and Spring Streets and easily locate half a dozen springs on your own. Ask the locals, and you'll have a day's worth of springs viewing. Each one has an interesting historic story, too.
Our favorite springs, in no particular order:
Grotto, on upper Spring St., past the main residential area. You walk down stone steps into the cave in the hillside (the grotto). Especially pleasant on a hot summer's day.
Harding and Sweet Springs, with just a short stroll between the two if you're on Spring Street. Have more of an adventure by climbing the stairs up to the trail that traverses the hillside between the two springs.
Magnetic Spring. Located on the north end of town on Magnetic Dr. The spring pours from the hillside, and is caught in a deep basin. It's accented by manicured plantings and surrounded by rock outcroppings and woodland.
Please note: The water from the town's springs is no longer considered safe to drink.
Blue Spring Heritage Center Just 10 minutes from town, this enormous spring pours 38 million gallons into its trout-filled lagoon every day. Surrounded by gardens and woods. Privately owned; entry fee. 1537 County Road 210, off US 62 west of town. 479- 253-9244
Park Springs Park A lovely 18-acre park on the site where in 1890 two therapeutic springs were discovered. The park has a nature trail, and an arboretum with a white oak that sprouted in 1776. Located on Tiger Blvd.
Compton Gardens A charming 6.5 acre garden/public park surrounding the Conference Center with both native plants and woodlands. 312 N. Main St. 479-254-3870.
Botanical Garden of the Ozarks Located on 86 acres adjoining Lake Fayetteville, with a Horticulture Center, plaza and great lawn, and nine 2,000-square-feet gardens, a greenhouse and garden features with special themes. Lakeside hiking trail and self-guided tree identification tour. 4703 N. Crossover Rd. 479-750-2620
Fayetteville also has a number of gardens, located in Wilson, Walker, Gulley, and Bryce Davis Parks, and at the White River Baseball Complex. Each garden is different, change with the seasons, and are designed to be ecologically balanced and sustainable. Local and recycled materials are used, but no insecticides.
Dozens of springs around the area -- eight identified as medicinal --made the early city a destination for those looking to drink healing waters. Incorporated in 1881 and busy as a spa town, Siloam Springs' downtown was devastated by a flood in 1892. The rebuilt town grew into a trading center and commercial region. Twin Springs Park downtown preserves a beautiful section of the original springs, and gives a hint of what drew early visitors.