You’ll find Thermopolis, tucked among the foothills of the Owl Creek Mountains beside the Big Horn River. It’s one of those small, picturesque towns where the elevation is higher than the population.
The town is renowned—and named—for being home to the World’s Largest Mineral Hot Spring.
Originally part of the Wind River Indian Reservation, the Shoshone and Arapahoe Tribes sold this land to the United States in 1896 so that the healing waters of Big Horn Hot Springs would be available to the public.
The Gift of the Waters Indian Pageant, held annually during the first weekend in August, is a celebration that recreates the signing of this treaty. Scalding water flows out of the turquoise Big Spring in Hot Springs State Park and into cooling ponds. The mineral-laden spring issues 3.6 million gallons of water per day, and the terraced formations over which the water flows are comparable to those of Yellowstone National Park, a scenic two-hour drive away. The hot mineral water flows into water parks, where you will find indoor and outdoor swimming pools, water slides, Jacuzzi tubs, saunas, steam rooms and more.
If you haven’t had your nature fix, drive through the rest of the park for breathtaking scenery (and keep your eyes open for roaming bison).
Recently designated an official state scenic byway, U.S. Highway 20 winds 34 miles through the gorgeous Wind River Canyon. It’s a drive that every Yellowstone visitor should experience.
In Thermopolis and the surrounding area, there are numerous recreational opportunities available, including whitewater rafting and scenic float trips, guided fishing expeditions, hiking, biking and wildlife watching.
For those interested in the history and culture of the area, the Wyoming Dinosaur Center, Legend Rock Petroglyphs, Dancing Bear Folk Center, and the Hot Springs County Museum and Cultural Center are all not to be missed.
The unmatched landscape, rich culture and abundant recreation make Thermopolis a truly special community.