The beautiful state of Wyoming is home to many of the nation’s finest places, whether they be restaurants, natural attractions or geological wonders. Perhaps we’re a bit biased, but Hot Springs State Park may just be the finest state park in all the nation. Not only does it have some of the natural spring characteristics of Yellowstone National Park, but it also has its own unique features. For starters, it happens to be built around the largest mineral hot spring in the world. Learn more about what makes this breathtaking site so spectacular.
Hot Springs State Park is located in Thermopolis, Wyoming. This state-owned recreational area is famous for its hot springs that reach a temperature of nearly 140 degrees.
In 1896, the federal government purchased from the Arapahoe a 100-square-mile parcel of land which now includes the park. Just one year later, the land was developed into Wyoming’s first state park, under the name of Big Horn Hot Springs State Reserve.
One of the first things visitors will notice about this state park is the herd of bison that resides there. These animals are carefully managed by the state and appear as majestic as the landscape. Other features include plenty of boat docks, picnic tables, shelters, and gardens. You’ll also be able to observe terraces created naturally by the travertine, an effect of the mineral springs.
The park's main attraction, aptly named Big Spring, spurs forth millions of gallons of mineral water each day. This fountain of constantly flowing water creates something of a cauldron. Some of the water is channeled into smaller pools where it can cool off slightly and serve as the water for the park's spa-like bathhouses.
Other portions of the water flow out from another stream into the Rainbow Terrace and feed into the Big Horn River. As seen in the photograph above, this scene is simply mesmerizing any time of year. And the park's indoor and outdoor bathhouses ensure that the warm waters can be enjoyed during any season.
Photographed above is the "Teepee Fountain," which was established in 1909 as a vertical pipe for the mineral water flowing throughout the area. Here you can see how this constant flow creates the beautiful natural coloring of the travertine.
And just 25 miles north of the park is another noteworthy feature of the land, known as Legend Rock. This historic site features several ancient petroglyphs, whose origins have yet to be determined.
As you might imagine, Hot Springs State Park is a local favorite, attracting considerably fewer tourists than the state's national parks. You can soak your worries away in the thermal waters, or explore the beautifully maintained trails and grounds. Whether you have an afternoon or a whole weekend to spend in this amazing spot, it's sure to make for a visit you won't soon forget.