Thermopolis: World’s Largest Hot Springs

Founded in 1897 and now boasting a population of just over 3,100 residents, Thermopolis is a name derived from the Latin thermae (meaning hot spring) and the Greek polis (meaning city). With the world’s largest natural hot spring, running at 2,575 gallons per minute at a consistent 135 degrees Fahrenheit, the town grew quickly as people were drawn to the therapeutic waters. The Shoshone and other Native Americans had appreciated its healing properties for generations and called it the “smoking waters.” This was once sacred ground and part of the Wind River Reservation when it was first established. Shoshone Chief Washakie and Arapaho chief Sharp Nose, as part of efforts with the white men, made a portion of the waters available for public use.

Today, those public waters have become a primary attraction drawing national attention to this small Wyoming town. Water parks with slides, soaking pools, and saunas feature the spring’s legendary water and are open year-round for a small admission fee. The area also boasts Hot Springs State Park featuring multicolored mineral terraces, a thriving bison herd, Legend Rock Petroglyph site, a boat ramp to the Big Horn River, phenomenal views from the famous “Swinging Bridge,” and a State Bath House with hot mineral water maintained at a comfortable soaking temperature of 104 degrees Fahrenheit.

Partially reprinted from “The Ultimate Wyoming Atlas and Travel Encyclopedia
Tired of clicking? Find everything
on this website and much more with
your own copy of:

The Ultimate Wyoming Atlas and Travel Encyclopedia
Copyright © 2011 New Times Media Corporation - All Rights Reserved