For my birthday this year we took a jaunt over to Thermopolis, Wyoming. It is considered to be one of the gateways to Yellowstone and Teton National parks but more than that it is a unique spot unto itself. To get there we drove up through the beautiful Wind River Canyon on Highway 20.
Thermopolis has Hot Springs State park which is north and east of the city limits and the best part is it entrance to the park is free. The Hot Springs State Park has a series of hot springs and a large number of acres surrounding it.
The Hot Springs themselves are considered healing and there is a State Bath House that is free and open to the public and the two other bath house have extra things like slides for the kids, etc. which you have to pay to enter but would be great fun for a family outing, they are Hellie’s Tee Pee Pools and Star Plunge. The hot water is filled with minerals and is very warm, a great soak for arthritis and aching muscles. It felt great after riding in the car and then hiking around with my recent hip surgeries.
Along with this there is walking trails and for a better view of the Rainbow terraces a really interesting swinging bridge which covers a large gulch that spans the Big Horn River and you can cross from one side to the other, it swings quite dramatically if you don’t stop and let it settle. It was first built in 1916 to span the river and was later rebuilt when it became run down.
The rock formations with regards to the mineral water is filled with burnt oranges and yellows as well as browns, a lovely medley of colors with the river flowing by and lots of birds singing and ducks swimming on the water.
Besides the Hot Springs, the park features areas for picnics and fun plus when you drive away from the hot springs public baths there is a series of winding roads that takes you on a discovery of more scenery and a herd of buffalo which adds a flavor of the Wild West to the park.
Besides the hot springs, dinosaurs are a big thing in Thermopolis. There is a large dinosaur museum and one of three Archaeopteryx fossils in the world called “The Thermopolis Specimen” which is a small birdlike species. Though I have not seen the museum it is on my list to do. The fossil below was at the county museum.
We stayed the night in Thermopolis and I normally do not complain but I am going to say this, do not stay at the “Coachman Inn” if you go to Thermopolis! I have stayed there twice now and both experiences were not good and besides being an older hotel, there was a lot of issues with a bad beds, not being clean and I recently read on line that people said they had bed bugs. There was not even hot coffee or a way to make such a thing in the morning. They do allow dogs but so do several other hotels in town.
We had dinner at the Day’s Inn “Safari Club and it was not only an interesting atmosphere with lots of photos of wildlife safaris but also animals on display. Some real, some not. The food was good and the atmosphere that of a nice restaurant. Prices moderate depending on what you ordered of course.
While in Thermopolis we had to go to the local history museum (Hot Springs County Museum) and or course I took photos but one of the things that interested me was the sight of a glass wash board! I had never seen such a thing! And believe me I have seen lots of wash boards in lots of museums and even used them myself but I didn’t even know they made such a thing.
Included in the museum was a most illustrious piece of history, it is the bar from the Hole-In-The-Wall Saloon which Butch Cassidy and probably the Sundance Kid as well as other outlaws and famous people drank at.
I also found interesting a collection of Scales for weighing various items. I had never seen so many kinds all in one place. And or course,there was much much more to see.
All in all Thermopolis is well worth the stop to see its secret delights and experience a taste of what is Wonderful Wyoming with all its variety and fun.