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  • Writer's pictureDiana McDaniel Hampo

Crawdads and Caddo Indians in Gulpha Gorge

Updated: Jul 3, 2020




There is not a sweeter spot in Hot Springs than Gulpha Gorge, the beautiful creek and park snuggled in between Hot Springs Mountain and Indian Mountain.


I'm spent a lifetime with the kids, squatting in the clear cool water catching crawdads and minnows (I called myself the Crawdad Queen). And there's a wonderful little pool for splashing in that's no more than 25 feet across and maybe six feet deep. How many times did we sit on the slippery rocks and let the tiny "waterfall" carry us into the pool?


Yesterday, I was walking our dog Aries in Gulpha Gorge and all this was going on because it was a very hot day. Grown ups had folding chair in the creek and kids splashed in the

sparkling water.


There are lots of lovely legends about the area and visiting Indian tribes. The most popular is the Caddo Indians would camp in the area on their way to quarry on Indian Mountain. And of course there are tales of doomed love between, a Native American maiden always falls in love with a handsome brave from another tribe. That's the one I grew up on.


Before 1930 the city of Hot Springs owned Gulpha Gorge and maintained a swimming pool, fed by the mountain run off and a cold spring. In the 30s the National Park bought the property and took down the damn so the water could run.


I love walking across the big stones to cross the creek. There's a wonderful hiking trail that

goes up to Goat Rock. The view is magnificent! Take your time and some water. It's fairly steep in the beginning.


This is how much I love the Gulpha Gorge campground. Yesterday, while I was walking Aries, who's a pretty enormous dog, she pooped in the grass. I hated the thought somebody's visit to the Gorge might be ruined by the disgusting mess. So, I found one of those dog mess bags and picked it all up. I was walking around with a big bag of dog poop. Yuck, but I felt responsible. Then I saw a Red Solo cup floating in the creek. Aries and I wadded into the water, got the cup, then I put the dog poop baggie in it. Cup of poop. Much better, kind of.


If your hot and tired and discouraged take a walk in the Gorge and you'll be refreshed. If you think folks are terrible, watch as children and adults play in the glistening water at Gulpha Gorge as they've done throughout history. It's good, very good.


If you like this piece I hope you'll read more and leave a comment!


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