My mom is here for a visit and we decided to take her to the best-named-town in Wyoming — Thermopolis. There are so many things to do in Thermopolis – it’s a great stop on a road trip to Yellowstone or as a destination on its own.
In Thermopolis, WY, hot springs are the main draw, but there is so much more to do.
It’s like a mini-Yellowstone out here, except way, way less people. And since the blue skies were broken up with rain storms throughout the day, we were happy to have hot spring pools, water slides, dinosaur museums, and a cozy cabin to play in.
Wyoming Road Trip to Thermopolis
Turned out two of the three(ish) routes into Thermopolis were closed. The Wind River Canyon was covered in mud slides from all the rain, and the Big Horn Mountains were so snowy, they closed the road. Luckily, we took a different route and got to see many of the towns listed on public radio: Greybull, Lovell, Worland…. It was five hours of road tripping fun!
Hellie’s Teepee Pools
It’s like a trip back in time here. And by that, I mean this place is a little dated. But, I love that about it. The two water slides are really fun once you master your technique (only let the bottom of your feet and shoulder blades touch. Sidenote: this is a great core workout). The boys couldn’t hold themselves up in this fashion, so they didn’t go very fast, but we still had a blast. It’s funky and fun.
Hellie’s Tepee Pools, Thermopolis, Wyoming
- Hellie’s Tepee hot springs hours: Daily (9 am – 9 pm)
- Hellie’s Tepee hot springs prices: 3-4 years ($6.50), 5-62 years ($12.50), 63+ ($10.00)
- Hellie’s Tepee hot springs location: 144 Tepee Street, Thermopolis, Wyoming 82443, United States (307-864-9250)
- More info: on Hellie’s Tepee Pools.
Hot Springs State Park
The Tepee pools are inside Hot Springs State Park. There are also terraces that look like they belong in Yellowstone, playgrounds, lawns, and picnic tables, trails, a suspension bridge over the Big Horn River, and more. We spent the evening wandering around.
The Hot Springs State Bison Herd lives in Hot Springs State Park. On our second day in Thermopolis, we drove above the Star Plunge and explored the roads within the pasture.
The Hot Springs State Park herd averages more than 20 animals at the present time. The herd is free roaming within the boundaries of the pasture for the majority of the year. During the months of May and June the herd is confined to the Corral Area to aid the rejuvenation of the pasture. Edible plants are allowed to develop to the proper seed producing stage prior to allowing the animals free graze.
We stopped in a couple other places in the State Park to check out active and old hot springs.
Hot Springs State Park, Thermopolis, Wyoming
- Hot Springs State Park hours: Daily (sunrise – sunset)
- Hot Springs State Park prices: Free!
- Hot Springs State Park location: 220 Park Street, Thermopolis, WY 82443, (307) 864-2176
- More info: Hot Springs State Park in Thermopolis, Wyoming.
Wyoming Dinosaur Center
This is not some dinky, small town dinosaur museum–it’s really good. We went to see the Archaeopteryx fossil.
“Only 11 specimens of Archaeopteryx exist in the world today and The Thermopolis Specimen is second only to the ‘Berlin’ specimen in terms of completeness, including a well-preserved skull that for the first time gives scientists a top view of the head of Archaeopteryx. This scientific icon is the only one on display in North America.”
There is so much more to see than that, though. Many dino skeletons (both replica and actual fossils) fill a big hall. There are also pre-dinosaur displays and replica skulls you can touch.
My only regret is that I didn’t do a little more prep for our visit because we could have signed up for a dig. How fun would that be? The museum also offers a tour of the dig site for folks that can’t commit a whole day to digging in the dirt, but want to see where some specimens are found.
Wyoming Dinosaur Center, Thermopolis, Wyoming
The Star Plunge is a little more updated than its next door neighbor, the Tepee Pools. It’s still funky, though. The outside water slide, which looks really fun, was closed because of pump problems the day we were there. The indoor slide was fast and fun. And we liked hanging out in the outdoor pool.
Star Plunge, Thermopolis, Wyoming
- Star Plunge hot springs hours: Daily (9 am – 9 pm)
- Star Plunge hot springs prices: 3-4 years ($6.50), 5-62 years ($12.50), 63+ ($10.00)
- Star Plunge hot springs location: 115 Big Springs Drive, Thermopolis, WY 82443, (307) 864-3771
- More info: Star Plunge hot springs in Wyoming
More Fun Near Thermopolis
Legend Rock Petroglyphs
One of the highlights on our western Wyoming road trip was a stop at the petroglyphs between Thermopolis and Cody. You can find all the details from our visit to Legend Rock Petroglyphs here.
Legend Rock State Petroglyph Site is a 400 meter long, near vertical cliff with more than 92 prehistoric petroglyph panels and over 300 petroglyph figures. It’s a bit off the beaten path (and paved roads), but well worth a stop.
There is a lot to do in Cody, Wyoming, about 1.5 hours from Thermopolis.
There are lots of restaurants in Cody. I particularly like Juniper for small plates and cocktails.
Wind River Canyon
The Wind River Canyon is about four miles south of Thermopolis. There is guided fishing, scenic river trips, and white water adventures. It’s on the Wind River Reservation, so you can’t just get on the river. Go with a guide or get a permit.
Just driving through is worth it as it is gorgeous!