Thermopolis

Founded In: 1897

Population: 3,200

Elevation:  4,300 feet

Median Income: $29,205

Chamber of Commerce:  http://thermopolischamber.org/

Thermopolis, Greek for Hot City, is home to the largest hot springs in the world. Water gushes out of the ground at 127-132 degrees and more than 1.3 million gallons a day. Since 1896, when a treaty was signed with the Shoshone and Arapaho Indian tribes, the springs have been open to the public.

Located at the northern end of the Wind River Canyon and Wedding of the Waters, Thermopolis is surrounded by mountains, including Bridge, Owl Creek, Big Horn, and the Absaroka ranges. Nearby is the Boysen Reservoir, home to a wide variety of fish.

Thermop, as the locals call it, is 4300 feet above sea level. A Wyoming maxim says that you should never trust a town whose population is higher than its elevation. With just 3200 people, Thermopolis luckily remains as a trustworthy town!

 

Climate

Thermopolis, though semi-arid like the rest of Wyoming, is in the most temperate part of the state. In fact, the town features Wyoming’s highest average daytime temperatures in July and August. The sun shines 320 days a year, and the town is less windy than many of its neighbors.

 

Economy

The biggest part of the economy in Thermopolis is the tourism because of Hot Springs State Park. The park contains a state-maintained herd of American Bison, two hot mineral water concessions, and hotels. Other tourism-related businesses include the Hot Springs County Museum and Cultural Center, the Wyoming Dinosaur Center, and Wind River Canyon Whitewater Rafting. To raise money for the city, Thermopolis levies a 4% lodging tax for boarders in hotels and motels.

 

What to Do

If you’re visiting Thermopolis, you are likely there to see Hot Springs State Park (http://wyoparks.state.wy.us/Site/SiteInfo.aspx?siteID=9) that holds the world’s largest mineral hot springs. The park has a free bath house where the water is maintained at 104 degrees for therapeutic bathing. Hot Springs has 6.2 miles of accessible trails and hiking trails. You can also see Wyoming’s state herd of bison here while driving on public roads. You might also want to walk across Swinging Bridge, the suspension bridge above Big Horn River to see a beautiful view of the Rainbow Terraces, which are rock terraces in vibrant colors created from the minerals in the hot springs. There are wonderful walking paths to see the Rainbow Terraces up close.

While at the park, you might want to indulge in Star Plunge (http://www.starplunge.com/). At this fun waterpark, you can find water slides, indoor and outdoor pools, sun decks, basketball, hot tub, jacuzzis, steam cave, and a waterfall. The pools are heated by the Big Spring.

Hot water is not the only water you will want to explore. Give Wind River Canyon Whitewater and Fly Fishing (http://www.windrivercanyon.com/) a call to go whitewater rafting and fly fishing on the beautiful Wind River, and don’t worry if you don’t have gear – they have everything you need to have a great time.

If animals peak your interest, you’ll want to explore the horses. Nate and MaeCile Brown run a cattle-driving, horse-raising, horse-training business called HorseWorks (http://www.horseworkswyoming.com/) They take tourists on real-life cattle drives. Additionally, Thermopolis hosts a big horse-related event, the Outlaw Trail Ride. Dudes and experienced horse riders from all around the U.S. come every year to spend a week retracing Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid’s steps through Wyoming.

Extinct animals are also a big attraction in Thermopolis at the Wyoming Dinosaur Center (http://www.wyodino.org/). Dinosaurs walked around Thermopolis between 65 and 145 million years ago during the Triassic, Jurassic, and Cretaceous periods. The Museum has over 30 mounted dinosaurs, a modern preparation laboratory, and hundreds of displays and dioramas. The collection includes fossil fish from Scotland, flying reptiles from Brazil, marine reptiles from Russia and Switzerland, and fossil dinosaur eggs from China and Argentina. Tours of the dig sites begin as soon as the weather permits, offering an opportunity to see dinosaur bones in the ground and experience an actual excavation.

The dinosaurs aren’t the only ones that left clues about the world thousands of years ago. Legend Rock

Petroglyph (http://wyoparks.state.wy.us/Site/SiteInfo.aspx?siteID=34) site is one of the most impressive petroglyph areas in the world. The protected site features at least 283 different petroglyphs on 92 sandstone panels. Some of these date back 10,000 years.

For more recent history, you will enjoy the Hot Springs County Museum and Cultural Center. Its collection contains memorabilia from local pioneers from the 1880’s through the 1930’s. The Museum Complex consists of two full floors of exhibits in the main Museum building, and five additional structures on the Museum grounds.

Continue learning about recent history at Wyoming Whiskey (http://www.wyomingwhiskey.com/), where you will learn how handcrafted bourbon is made. The tour will take you through the distillery and show you the process from the milling of locally grown grains to fermentation to distillation using a custom-designed, 38-foot copper still. After a visit to the warehouses to see the barrels and an explanation of the maturation process, head over to the Whiskey Shop for a taste testing and unique Wyoming Whiskey gifts.

If a day of golf is in the cards, then Thermopolis Golf Course, with its magnificent views of Hot Springs State Park, the Wind River Canyon, and three mountain ranges is just what you need. The golf course features 9 holes of golf, a putting green, a driving range, a well-stocked pro shop, cart rentals, a restaurant, a pub, and a resident golf pro. Thermopolis is also home to Sweet Spot Miniature Golf, a full 18-hole golf course with beautiful waterfalls and ponds.

If you happen to be in Thermopolis in May, then you will want to see or join in on the 3 on 3 Hot Spot Shootout Basketball Tournament that has been held since 1993. Typically help on the first weekend in May, over 60 basketball courts are constructed on city streets in the downtown area.

In June, you can enjoy the Thermopolis Cowboy Rendezvous PRCA Rodeo (http://www.thermopoliscowboyrendezvous.com/) which supports local residents who are battling cancer. This is a great way to learn about and celebrate western heritage.

 

Shopping in Thermopolis

Thermopolis, though a small town, has some big character when it comes to shopping. These eclectic, specialty shops range from antiques to art galleries to gifts and everything in between. If you are looking for something unique, Thermopolis is sure to have it.

  • Ava’s Silver & Rock Shop (http://blairsmarket.com/): Jewelry, gifts, rocks, minerals, and much more.
  • Broadway Bygones Antique Store (http://www.broadwaybygonesantiques.com/): Furniture, china, silver, glass, jewelry, rare books, western memorabilia, and wedding dresses.
  • Flying Eagle Gallery (http://www.flyingeaglegallery.com/wp/): Art Gallery, local arts and crafts, craft supplies, framing, custom stain glass, jewelry, leather, and beadwork.
  • Four Winds Trading Post: Consignments from furniture and bedding to antiques and jewelry.
  • Hazel & Pearl’s: Refurbished furniture, creative castoffs, and all things vintage.
  • Lucy’s Sheep Camp (http://lucyssheepcamp.com):  “One-stop-shop” for all things wooly. They raise the sheep that produce the wool that is turned into hand-dyed yarn, roving, and felt.
  • Merlin’s Hide Out (http://www.merlinshideout.com/): Tanning and fur sales.
  • Nature’s Corner Crow Bar: Tea, vitamins, natural food groceries, multicultural gifts, and locally-made chocolates.
  • Needful Things Emporium: Inspirational gifts, diffusers, candles, home décor, bath, body, and natural soap, and Wyoming made products.
  • Owl Creek Graphics (http://www.owlcreekgraphics.net/):  Your source for custom imprinted apparel and accessories.
  • Storyteller: Bookstore, gifts, coffee, espresso, scones, and bagels.
  • The Shoppe: Floral and gift shop for every occasion
  • White Horse Country Store (http://www.whitehorsecountrystore.com/): High-quality saddles and tack,  Purina feeds, and unique gifts.
  • WOW Discount: Discount and clearance sale items.

 

Dining in Thermopolis

After a fun day exploring the area, come into Thermopolis to try some delicious food at locally owned bistros, diners, and restaurants. Whether you are looking for casual dining or a semi-formal experience, Thermopolis has it all.

  • Bangkok Thai Restaurant: Serves traditional Thai food such as Tom Kha, Pad Thai, and many different curry dishes.
  • Black Bear Cafe (http://www.blackbearcafe.net/): Homemade food including these favorites: Pear Pie, chili, bread pudding with whiskey sauce, country home fries, homemade soups, fresh salads and vegetarian options.
  • Dairyland: Specializes in soft-serve yogurt & ice cream treats. Marinated burgers, fries, and the works.
  • Front Porch Deli (http://www.fpdeli.com/):  Freshly made sandwiches, salads, soups as well as made-from-scratch donuts and pastries.
  • Las Fuentes Fine Mexican Dining: Great Tex-Mex, beer, and top shelf margaritas.
  • Laura’s Lil’ Wrangler: Family restaurant serving hamburgers, steaks, and seafood. Breakfast served all day.
  • Nature’s Corner Crow Bar: This market prepares fresh, wholesome meals, and organic coffee.
  • One Eyed Buffalo (http://www.oneeyedbuffalo.com/): Texas-style BBQ, ribs, and great tasting beer.
  • Safari Club Hot Springs Convention Center (www.thermopolisdaysinn.com/): Wide variety of entrees ranging from homemade soups, salads, sandwiches, slow roasted Prime Rib, hand cut steaks, fresh homemade sauces, seafood, pasta, and buffalo hamburgers.
  • Shorty’s Saloon & Liquor Store / Miss Kitty’s: Known for the coldest beer in town, and featuring delicious burgers and Greek gyros.
  • Stones Throw Restaurant (http://www.stonesthrowthermopolis.com/): Great steaks, seafood, and pasta.
  • The Shake Shop: Healthy shakes, old-fashioned milkshakes, and ice cream bars.
  • Thermopolis Cafe: Burgers, steaks, salad bar and pies.
  • Wonderful House Chinese: Delicious Chinese restaurant.

 

Living in Thermopolis

There are many advantages to choosing Thermopolis; climate, the lowest tax rates in the state, quality of life, and outstanding schools and medical facilities. The cost of living is well below the national average, and home prices are very affordable. It is easy to find a nice three bedrooms, two-bath house for less than $100,000 with fixer-uppers as low as $25,000.

Thermopolis

Founded In: 1897 Population: 3,200 Elevation:  4,300 feet Median Income: $29,205 Chamber of Commerce:  http://thermopolischamber.org/ Thermopolis, Greek for Hot City, is home to the largest hot springs in the world. Water gushes out of the ground at 127-132 degrees and more than 1.3 million gallons a day. Since 1896, when…
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This information is believed to be accurate, but without any warranty.