Thermopolis is definitely a must stop! There are a lot of things to do and see here. I have listed a few of the places that we visited during our stay.
Thermopolis is home of the world’s largest mineral hot spring in Hot Springs State Park. Needless to say, this town is worth a stop. Here you can enjoy hot springs facilities, cooling ponds, a swinging foot bridge across the Big Horn River, hiking paths and a chance to see wild buffalo.
Hot Springs State Park
In Thermopolis, Hot Springs State Park is the most visited park in the Wyoming State Park system. Families love the herd of buffalo wandering the park grounds and the Star Plunge pool with its waterslides, and couples migrate to the State Bathhouse. While the State Bathhouse has an indoor and outdoor soaking pool (both of which require bathers to wear swimsuits), it also has clothing-optional private tubs where, not only do you get the place to yourself, but you’re also the total supervisor of your soak, able to pick the water temperature you want. The park is open year-round and is especially lovely in the winter.
For centuries, the hot springs of Wyoming have been revered attractions. Native Americans, even if they were from warring tribes, used to settle down shoulder-to-shoulder into hot springs along the banks of the North Platte River, where they believed the water had healing powers. The settlers traveling westward on the Oregon Trail also stopped along the way to soak their weary feet. Modern visitors still flock to the naturally heated pools and springs throughout the state to relax and have some fun.
Wyoming Dinosaur Museum
The Wyoming Dinosaur Center has 12,000 square feet of exhibition area. Fossils and life forms from earliest geologic time periods are displayed in a chronological perspective. There are over 200 displays throughout the museum.
The museum has over 30 mounted skeletons, a preparation lab with visitor viewing and hundreds of displays and dioramas. The dig site tour offers a rare opportunity to see dinosaurs buried in the ground. Get in on the hunt for the next big discovery by joining one of our Dig for a Day programs.
Wind River Canyon
The Wind River Canyon Scenic Byway begins in the town of Shoshoni at milepost 100. Following U.S. 20 north through Wind River Canyon and the Wind River Indian Reservation, the route ends just north of the City of Thermopolis at milepost 134. Without stopping, the total drive time is about 40 minutes.
Along the Way
As you travel north from Shoshoni into Boysen State Park, you come face to face with the windswept west. You can see the bare yellow and red rock of the Owl Creek Mountains stretching off to forever, and the deep blue of Boysen Reservoir rippling in contrast. You might even think, with the water skiing and swimming and the walleye and trout fisheries, that you’ve come to the high point of the Byway. But then you drive into Wind River Canyon. Spectacular rock walls rise 2,500 vertical feet on either side to the ridge tops. You can crane your neck and see some of the oldest rock formations in the world, dating back to the Precambrian period, (more that 2.9 billion years ago) visible right from the highway, their black and pink cliffs protruding to the sky. The geology of every layer is marked by interpretive signage, making the drive a geology lesson and a trip through time.
The Wind River itself flows north through the canyon. Wind River Canyon Whitewater & Flyfishing Outfitter, a Native American-owned business, is the only outfitter permitted to raft/fish in the Indian Reservation portion of the canyon. With fallen rocks and boulders jutting from the riverbed, the unique water hydraulics make for some spectacular white water indeed.
Before it leaves the canyon, the river changes names. At the “Wedding of the Waters,” the Wind River becomes the Rocky Mountain Bighorn River, named for the mountain sheep indigenous to the area. Keep an eye out for these wooly cliff dwellers as you drive. 1995 saw 43 bighorns “transplanted” along the canyon rim. After making the trip from Dubois, WY in horse trailers, the sheep were then loaded onto flatcars by Burlington-Northern Railroad before traveling the final 7 miles by railroad. They were released in the canyon, bolstering today’s population to an estimated 100 sheep in Wind River Canyon.
All information was taken from wyomingtourism.org.