This Underrated Western State Park Is A Soothing Winter Escape Full Of Hot Springs

Are you yearning for a warm, cozy retreat to escape the winter chill? Hot Springs State Park in Thermopolis, Wyoming, might be just what you need. This sanctuary offers a perfect blend of relaxation and nature, inviting you to unwind in the embrace of one of the best natural hot springs. It's the ideal destination to recharge your batteries and seek respite from the unforgiving winter weather and even improve your health. According to a 2021 study published in the medical journal Inquiry, hot springs have been shown to relax muscles, provide relief from pain, and even boost the immune system. Additionally, hot spring water is rich in minerals that can nourish the skin and help various skin conditions.

Hot Springs State Park is a winter wonderland with snowy landscapes, an intriguing contrast to the steamy water, and fewer visitors than at warmer times of the year. The park's hot springs offer a luxurious experience, with mineral-rich water that comes from deep underground providing a soothing and rejuvenating experience. But the park isn't just for hot springs lovers; there's plenty of adventure to be had. Join us on a journey to discover the hidden charms and therapeutic allure of Hot Springs State Park, where you can find peace, warmth, and adventure in the heart of winter.

Hot Springs State Park's warmth and wonders

When water makes its way into the Earth's crust by way of faults and fractures, it comes into contact with hot rocks, causing it to heat up. The heated water then rises to the surface through other fractures, giving rise to the famous hot springs that the park is known for.

The primary geothermal attractions of this park revolve around Big Spring, which holds the distinction of being the largest mineral hot spring in the world. You can also visit the famous Tepee Fountain, a unique spot created by a combination of natural processes and human intervention. In the early 20th century, Wyoming State Parks and Cultural Resources installed the structure as a way to vent steam. Over the decades, minerals from the water created the interesting formation.

You can also enjoy Star Plunge, a mineral waterpark that has naturally heated swimming pools, slides, and a vapor cave that acts as a natural sauna. Admission to the park is $15.50, or $7.00 for kids aged four and under. Towels, inner tubes, and other necessities are available to rent, as well.

Hot Springs State Park trails, temperatures, and tips

The park's bath house is a must-visit spot where you can soak in the warm, therapeutic water kept at a comfortable 104 degrees Fahrenheit. If you're in the mood for some exercise, you can explore the park's 6.2 miles of trails. There are also plenty of scenic spots to relax and enjoy the park's natural beauty. One of the top attractions in the park is the colorful mineral terraces shaped by natural hot springs. Fishing and boating are also allowed. You can stroll across the Bighorn River using a suspension footbridge nicknamed "The Swinging Bridge" for a unique view of the river and a mineral terrace. 

Thermopolis has an average of 235 days of sunshine throughout the year. In winter, the temperature typically varies from lows below 10 degrees Fahrenheit to highs of around 30-50 degrees. Be sure to pack warm clothing, including boots and a coat. A bathing suit and towel are also a must for those planning to take a dip in the springs. 

The park does not offer any camping facilities and is only available for day use. The resident day-use permit costs $7 per day, per vehicle, but you can also get an annual pass for $48 for Wyoming residents and $96 for non-residents. If you are driving through the park, be sure to stay in your vehicle if you happen across any bison, which can be seen roaming freely in the area. Whether you are looking for a relaxing retreat or an adventurous winter getaway, Hot Springs State Park has something for everyone.