Thermopolis Hot Springs State Park is a wonderful place to take the entire family with both indoor and outdoor pools for soaking. Located in north-central Wyoming, the park boasts the Bath House, Hellie’s Tepee Pools, and Star Plunge.
You can also venture past the hot springs to see herds of bison roaming the hills of Wyoming as they have for hundreds of years. In the late 19th century, the Shoshone and Arapaho tribes gave Wyoming the hot springs in a negotiated treaty under the requirement the pools remain open to the public free of charge – thank you, Chief Washakie!
According to ancient lore, the mineral hot spring pools have healing powers that have been used as far back as prehistoric times. I laugh thinking about Littlefoot from Land Before Time taking a dip in the hot springs, followed later by the Native Americans, and then Lewis and Clark as they made their transcontinental journey in the early 1800s.
Grab the entire family and enjoy this historic location open all year long.
You’ll find the hot spring state park is located along the Big Horn River with wooden plank pathways connecting the pools. Visitors can venture over to Swinging Bridge for a great photo opportunity as well.
According to information at the bridge: it was built in 1916 to connect the Big Spring with the Freemont Spring, the Pleasant View Hotel and Sanitarium, and the Elk pasture.
As the town continued to grow, the bridge eventually provided access to Hopewell Hospital which was the first hospital in Hot Springs County. The bridge deteriorated over time and was condemned in 1984, destroyed in 1991 by the Wyoming National Guard, and then restored in 1992 by the North Dakota National Guard.
It was originally built by a mechanic with no bridge building knowledge out of scrap metal and designed based on a postcard of the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, California.
Bath House, Hellie’s Tepee Pools, and Star Plunge
Thermopolis Hot Springs offers a variety of swimming options:
- Hellie’s Tepee Pools – indoor and outdoor pools, spa, and water slides.
- Hot Springs State Park Bathhouse – indoor and outdoor pools for soaking.
- Star Plunge – Indoor and outdoor pools, spas, and water slides.
The Hot Springs State Park Bathhouse has two different pools with temperatures around 104 degrees Fahrenheit, as well as outdoor cooling ponds connected by the aforementioned wooden plank pathway. The outdoor pool at 104 degrees Fahrenheit has cement benches for sitting.
One thing you will notice, as you enjoy a soak surrounded by travertine mineral deposits, is the cleanliness of the park. Be sure you and your group make an effort to help maintain the park’s cleanliness for future visitors.
Things to Bring:
- No Alcohol
After enjoying a soak, jump back in the car for a drive around the rest of the state park to take in more of the sights. Chances are you will stumble upon a herd of buffalo grazing along the rolling hills. Keep a safe distance if you decide to take pictures as they can be unpredictable and defensive when humans get too close. You do not want to end up on the news like this schlemiel.
As you sojourn through Wyoming, be sure to check out other top hot spring destinations:
There is no camping on-site at of the three hot spring features in the state park. However, there are some options close to town. Consider these two campgrounds, both located minutes from the resort in Thermopolis, WY:
- Fountain of Youth RV Park – 250 US-20
- Eagle RV Park – 204 US-20
Address: 51 US Highway 20 N, Thermopolis, Wyoming 82443
Hours of Operation:
- 8:00am – 5:30pm (Monday – Saturday)
- 12:00pm – 5:30pm (Sundays)