Hot Springs Creek Tunnel

An underground stone arch aquifer winds through the heart of downtown Hot Springs and Bathhouse Row, a secret that many longtime residents of Hot Springs don't know about, covers the Hot Springs Creek and leads the creek and stormwater runoff from the northern mountains to Lake Hamilton. 

The first portion of the arch was built in 1884, in front of Bathhouse Row, so that bathhouse visitors could avoid traversing through raw sewage and the narrow bridges that were built across the creek from the "healing" temples of thermal water. 

The original arch was paid for by federal funding, at a cost of $136,745, and stretched 3,500 feet in front of the bathhouses. Later tunnel additions continued its path northwest through part of Whittington Avenue, northeast to Park Avenue and south on Broadway Street past the Transportation Depot. The original portion of the tunnel was constructed with large granite stone and novaculite, seamlessly transitioning to the natural rock bottom of the creek while the additions vary in building material from random stone to brick and in a few spots, poured concrete walls. 

Although this structural marvel was constructed with extraordinary masonry and classic craftsmanship, it was only engineered to convey stormwater runoff resulting to an equivalent of a 10-year rain event. 

Even though the arch tunnel is an average of 14 feet wide and 12 feet tall, it is too small to carry the water volume produced by large storm events and has been the cause of devastating floods that have occurred numerous times in Hot Springs' history.  

Plans have been proposed to deepen the creek under the arch, but due to the delicate nature of the thermal Hot Springs, it was determined that additional disturbance of the creek could be detrimental to the thermal waters and National Park. 

The Stormwater Division monitors the creek arch and performs structural maintenance as funds become available. The City recently received a federal grant of $480,000 and in 2014, will be embarking on one of the largest arch repair and maintenance projects in its history.  

Contact the Stormwater Manager for more information.

Map of Hot Springs Creek Tunnel  
Hot Springs Creek Tunnel Map

Photos of 2008 Flood-Downtown Hot Springs
2008 Flood

Hot Springs Creek Tunnel

Tunnel Construction 2.1
Tunnel Construction14
Tunnel-Park Ave toward Magnolia 6
Tunnel Underneath Lodestone St (off of Park Ave) 10
Tunnel underneath Fountain St. 15
Tunnel underneath Fountain St. 14
Tunnel underneath Central Avenue in front of Bath House Row 17
Tunnel underneath Central Avenue in front of Bath House Row 16
Tunnel underneath Central Avenue in front of Arlington Hotel 13
Tunnel underneath Broadway St. 19
Tunnel underneath Bridge St. and Malvern Ave. 18
Tunnel- Park Ave. toward Magnolia 5
Tunnel Exit at Whittington Avenue 11
Tunnel Exit at Transportation Depot-Broadway Terr. 21
Tunnel Exit at Magnolia Park 7
Tunnel behind Transportation Depot on Broadway Terr. 20
Tunnel at Park Ave 4
Tunnel at Park and Bower St. 3
Inside tunnel between Magnolia Park and Glade St. 9
Hot Springs Creek conveyed through Whittington Park 12
Entrance back into tunnel at Magnolia Park toward Glade St. 8