I decided to get out today and do something that the Spa City is frequently favored for…hiking one of its many mountainous trails. Although I accomplish most of my experiences by myself, I was glad to have my mother accompany me on this hike. When I was a small boy, my grandparents always took on me atop West Mountain to hike the different trails, so I was eager to come back and see if I could remember any of it…

Sunset trail is the longest trail in Hot Springs National Park, encompassing more than 17 miles of terrain. My mom and I decided to forgo hiking the whole trail, and instead stuck to just the first section, which is 5.8 miles there and back.  As I often am with most of my ventures, I was surprised by how cool and breezy it was on the trail. Sunset trail winds in and out of the various trees growing on the mountain, creating a shaded and breezy environment.  The terrain on the trail changed from rocky gravel to clay and dirt multiple times. This particular trail is classified as moderately difficult, due to the many steep inclines and declines found throughout it.

I had a great time on the trail and enjoyed the many different views offered, observed the different kinds of wildlife (white-tailed deer, small garter snake, and box turtle) found throughout the trail and just being out in nature. The trail presented a multitude of opportunities for viewing downtown Hot Springs in a unique way, at a high elevation. Sunset trail even boasts a secret, known only to the locals. The duck. My mom and Aunt informed me of a look-out point available from West Mountain that over looks downtown, that they used to frequent with their boyfriends. They used to park there at night and look down at the city lights, which are said to take the shape of a duck (although my Aunt confessed that she wasn’t too  concerned about looking around at the lights while she was parked with her boyfriend)! 

 I had a great time hiking along Sunset trail on West Mountain and definitely recommend it to anyone and everyone! It was a very nostalgic experience for me, as I even recognized many of the big rocks and boulders I used to climb/play on when I was a kid. Sunset trail is just one of many nature and mountainous trails to hike in Hot Springs and seems to be one of the most popular trails in the area. Fun for all ages, especially young adults, I plan on coming back to Sunset trail and hiking the other parts of it! So, don’t forget to bring some bottled water (but don’t litter) and get out there and start hiking!

Contact: www.nps.gov/hosp/planyourvisit/sunset-trail.htm