Wyoming – Hot Springs State Park

Hot Springs State Park is nestled in the city of Thermopolis, Wyoming along Highway 20/State Route 120. The springs are located along the Big Horn River and are fed by natural hot springs along a the multi-colored terraces of rock formations. The temperature of the springs is 135 degrees at all times. An estimated 8,000 gallons of water passes over the terrace each day.

There is a free bath house on the state park’s premises. The water is kept at 104 degrees consistently and is used by people who require it for therapy or those who simply want to relax and enjoy the feeling of naturally hot water. Visitors who do not bring their own swimsuit or towel will have to pay a small fee for the rental of these items at the bath house. Attendants are employed by the house to assist visitors with any needs they may have during their bathing experience. Hours are limited, so plan to visit between 8:00 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. on Monday through Saturday or between 12:00 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. on Sundays. During the traditional American winter holidays, the bath house is closed, however it follows its Sunday hours during all summer holidays. Visitors with children must remember that this is a bath house and not a swimming pool, so children should be informed and behave accordingly. Those who come here frequently for therapy will not appreciate loud children jumping into the spring bath.

In addition to the hot springs, there are scenic and wildlife attractions on the premises of the state park. One of the most interesting wildlife attractions in the area for visitors and residents is the bison herd. The herd in this park is the central Wyoming State Parks herd, which is the largest. They make an appearance in this park during later fall or early winter, stopping to graze along the grasslands. The park protects these creatures by feeding them a daily supplement while they are visiting the area. These large beasts should never be disturbed; encountering one will anger it and cause it to charge a human. Never view them outside of a vehicle. The best time to see and photograph them is around 8:30 a.m. Bison often cross the highways and roads, but may stop in the middle of the road. If this happens, do not drive close to the animal and honk. Visitors have done this before and their car may be charged by the bison. It is best to honk at them from a far enough distance that they cannot charge or simply wait for them to move. This is all part of life in this area and it is important to respect these potentially dangerous beasts. Several species of prairie and mountain birds can be seen in the area also. Smaller animals such as foxes, coyotes, bobcats, opossums and rabbits can be seen.

Hot Springs State Park boasts 6.2 miles of trails that are accessible to the public, including handicapped individuals. A suspension bridge known as “The Swinging Bridge” straddles the Bighorn River. This is an excellent place for photographs. In addition to superb views of the river, the unique rock terraces where the springs fall can be seen here. There are also several comfort stations, fishing, and boat docks. There is also a historic Volksmarch Trail, the site of a yearly Volksmarch festival. The park also offers several picnic shelters and meeting spaces that can be reserved with advance notice. Because the springs are such a popular place for visitors all over the country, picnic area reservations fill quickly, so call well in advance. If liquor will be included in the picnic, a special license must be obtained. The state park’s main office provides complete details regarding licensing requirements. In the summer months, there are vibrant gardens with seasonal flowers and beautiful greenery, painting the park with a world of colors.

There are many hotels and restaurants in the area, making travel plans easy to make. This area sees plentiful visitors in the fall and winter months, so keep this in mind when booking travel. Contact information for the park is listed below.
538 N Park St.
Thermopolis, WY 82443
(307)864-2176
http://wyoparks.state.wy.us/Site/SiteInfo.asp?siteID=9