Thermopolis ~ the Gateway to Yellowstone

Thermopolis is home to the world’s largest mineral hot spring and if you don’t believe me then read the large sign on the side of a the hill. A very cool town worth a visit.

Thermopolis, WY

Welcome to Thermopolis

Thermopolis is a place we’d researched years ago and always wanted to visit. We read and saw pictures of the Rainbow Terrace which looked amazing, herds of bison, free hot springs and the swinging bridge. Plus Thermopolis is home to the largest mineral hot spring in the world.

It seemed like a fun place to visit and here’s what we found.

Rainbow Terraces Walk

The Thermopolis Hot Springs has a short and easy walk along the rainbow terraces. We had great views of the terraces, Monument Hill and it leads to the Swinging Bridge. The bridge does indeed swing. The water slowly flowed over the edge and over many years created the rainbow terrace.

Walk along a rainbow of vibrant natural colors when you follow a paved walkway beside the Rainbow Terraces, created from the minerals of the hot springs water, algae and plankton.

Hot Springs State Park

The Thermopolis Hot Springs State Park is a very fun and unique place. As we drove in to see the famous Rainbow Terrace, we passed hotels, dormant cones and the healing water of Hellie’s Tepee Pool, Star Plunge and State Bath House.

Both the Hellie’s Tepee Pool and Star Plunge have a fee to enter but the State Bath House is free. Unfortunately is was closed during our visit. 🙁

Soaking in the hot spring water near the terrace.

This pool was filled with lots of little minnows. As we laid on our backs relaxing and nearly falling asleep, little minnows were nibbling on our legs, arms and neck. It was like a high end spa without the high end or the spa. 🙂

Hot Springs State Park Bison Herd

Driving through the State Park was really enjoyable. We drove it nearly every day to do a hike, search for the bison herd or to enjoy the scenery.

The Big Spring

The turquoise and green mineral laden spring issues 3.6 million gallons of water per day at 127 degrees. This is the source of water for the park.

There is also a elevated viewing area that offers a better view of the source spring.

Thermopolis Cones

We saw many of these in the town but this one is right at the State Park entrance. There are some inside the park as well. It’s hard to believe the amount of time it would have taken for the hot mineral water to create this. Now they look sort-of man made and fake. Crazy!

White Sulphur Spring

To find this spring, follow the map and drive to White Sulphur Spring parking lot. This spring is very small yet still active.

Once you arrive, you will see the unique mineral rings and at the end of the parking lot is a stone landing and steps heading down to the spring.

Unique Mineral Deposits

Some very unique rock rings formed by years of mineral deposit from the hot springs.

You can get here by following the map to the While Sulphur Springs.

Monument Hill Trail

Monument Hill is the hill with the giant words “World’s Largest Mineral Hot Spring” and arrows pointing the way.

The hike is really nice but initially very steep. It’s approx .3 miles one way and offers fantastic views of Thermopolis and the Bighorn River.

Fish Near the Terrace

This was unexpected. We parked near the Rainbow Terrace and had a cookout at one of the picnic tables. We walked over to this pond and there were lots and lots of koi. There is some fish food for sale if you want them to really go crazy.

Swinging Bridge @ Night

360 Photos

Some fun 360 photos and more at TwoHappyBugs360 @ Instagram.

360 Video

Walking the Swinging Bridge.

Final Thoughts

Thermopolis isn’t a huge town but it is loaded with many sights. The Rainbow Terrace is definitely fun to walk and if you like to soak in hot mineral water then there are several good places (free or pay). The State Park is small but scenic.

There is way more to explore that what we saw. We ran out of time but wanted to see the petroglyphs, a dinosaur center, and the Hot Spring County Museum.

If you are heading to Yellowstone from the east, Thermopolis and the Hot Springs would be a great way to spend a few days if time allows.

More Useful Information

Thermopolis Visitor Center Guide

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