Thermopolis is where “Wyomingites” and many other visitors come to play. One of the main reasons is the State Park. See it and you will understand why!
About the Park
Come for the hot springs, but prepare to be enchanted by all that Hot Springs State Park has to offer. Hot water cascades down colorful terraces along the Big Horn River at a rate of 8,000 gallons per day. Relax in the park’s free bath house where the 104 degree water soothes away aches and pains. Explore the 6.2 miles of accessible trails. Bring a picnic and your fishing pole. Hot Springs State Park is a full-service park open for day use at no charge. There are boat docks and reserve-able picnic shelters within the park.
The healing waters of the area’s mineral springs attracted dinosaurs, prehistoric migratory people, Native American tribes, Western settlers, and now travelers visiting and crossing Wyoming. Native Americans believed the water contained therapeutic power. In the early 19th century a sizeable medical community formed in Thermopolis, centered around the hot springs and treating those visiting in hopes the water would restore their health. The Shoshone and Arapaho tribes gave Wyoming the hot springs in a treaty in 1896, with the provision it remain accessible to the general public with charge. You can still visit the State Bath House in Hot Springs State Park free of charge.
You don’t have to go to Yellowstone to see bison. Wyoming’s state herd is located in Hot Springs State Park. The herd is located in two pastures allowing the massive animals to roam on the north and east sides of town. Public roads loop through the large pastures so you can get an up-close view of the “monarchs of the plains” in a setting where you don’t have to fight for your viewing position. Just remember, bison are wild animals and can be dangerous, so please stay in your vehicle.
The Big Spring
At the center of all the activities in Hot Springs State Park is the Big Spring. The turquois and green mineral laden spring issues 3.6 million gallons of water per day at a scorching 127 degrees. The water contains at least 27 different minerals and feeds all the attractions within the park.
This suspension bridge offers a bit of a thrill as you walk above the Big Horn River, but even better is the view – especially of the Rainbow Terraces and the flowering gardens of summer below. Originally built in 1916 to connect the Big Spring with the smaller Fremont Spring and a sanatorium, it was condemned in the 1980’s and restored in the 1990’s. The foot bridge provides a unique vantage point for viewing the river and terraces.
Walk along a rainbow of vibrant natural colors when you follow a paved walkway beside the Rainbow Terraces, created from the minerals of the hot springs water, algae and plankton. Naturally formed, they look like small vibrant waterfalls flowing off into the Big Horn River.