This Ozarks Destination Was Just Named One of the South's Best Mountain Towns, With Healing Springs, Hiking, and a 'Glass Church'

Come for the hiking, stay for the natural springs with healing properties.

Beautiful afternoon looking out over the rolling hills and river
Photo: Tara Ballard/Getty Images

There are plenty of beautiful mountain towns, but some offer a little something extra, pushing their appeal over the top. That's the case for Eureka Springs, a little town in Arkansas that was literally built into the mountains and has more than 60 natural springs believed to have healing properties.

The pure, clear spring water and the town's mountainside perch have drawn travelers for more than a century — and the magic of Eureka Springs remains today. The town was just awarded a top ranking in Southern Living's 2022 roundup of the South's best mountain towns. Readers cast their vote for the best mountain town in the South, securing Eureka Springs the No. 5 spot.

Town street in Eureka Springs, Arkansas during autumn season with beautiful fall foliage
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"The mountains are etched into every fiber of life in Eureka Springs and one of the best parts of this natural playground is that you can tailor your visit to be as adventurous or relaxing as you wish," Madison Dawson, director of tourism for the Eureka Springs City Advertising & Promotion Commission, said in a press release sent to Travel + Leisure.

In addition to an unmatched mountain locale, the entire Eureka Springs downtown is on the National Register of Historic Places. The streets are lined with historic hotels, homes with pristine Victorian architecture, bathhouses, and parks — some of which have hidden grottos, caves, and flowing spring water. For a full tour of the town's natural water sources, you can walk the natural springs trail, visiting Basin Spring Park and the picturesque Sweet Spring, among others.

When you're done exploring the town's natural springs — and enjoying the beauty of the historic downtown — there is plenty more to do. Eureka Springs is surrounded by two rivers, three lakes, and plenty of hiking and biking trails. Mountain bikers won't want to miss a day riding Lake Leatherwood City Park, while architecture lovers will want to drop by Thorncrown Chapel, nicknamed the "Glass Church." The tall wooden structure is lined with giant windows — 425 to be exact — adding up to more than 6,000 square feet of glass. The chapel was designed by E. Fay Jones, who apprenticed under Frank Lloyd Wright.

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