Have you ever wanted to sell everything you own and just "take off?" Travel the country's back roads, paddle down a meandering stream, experience breath-taking mountain views, walk among 100-year old trees, and just marvel at America's beauty? That is the dream that my partner, Betsy, and I decided to make a reality. This blog describes our adventure. The food we eat, people we meet, sights we see, and the enjoyment we find in traveling.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Healing Waters at the World's Largest Mineral Hot Springs

Thermopolis, Wyoming claims the title of the World’s Largest Mineral Hot Springs.  We decided to stop here for a few nights as we make our way to Cheyenne for Frontier Days at the end of the month.  Reluctantly, we left Grand Teton National Park where we had a great time with Betsy’s grade school friend Jane, her husband Bill, and their friends.  More on that trip later….there is lots to write about such a beautiful park and years of catching up between the two girls.

From Grand Teton NP we drove through the dry Wind River Canyon which is spectacular, but very dry and ominous.
Thermopolis is set in a stunning valley of stark desolation and boiling hot springs.  The name Thermopolis is Greek for “Hot City” and is derived from the hot water originating from the Owl Creek Mountains.  A rite of passage for visitors is to take a plunge in the hot springs where the soothing water reaches temperatures approaching 130 degrees Fahrenheit.  Rain falls on the porous mountains, percolates downward through rock layers, and is forced up through crevices.  The water is heated as it flows deep into the earth and is heated as it moves through the geothermal gradient.

The town of Thermopolis sits along the Big Horn River.
The state park also has thousands of acres of pasture supporting the state buffalo herd.
There are at least 27 different minerals in the water and many which are essential to human life.  These springs have been gathering spots for millions of years dating back to the dinosaurs, Native American tribes, and current society.  The native Crow Indians called the waters “Medicine Water” and westward explorers quickly learned of the waters healing powers.   Believe it or not, we opted not to go in one of the many springs and bath houses.  Maybe it was because the outside 98 degreee temperature was already hot enough and we could not imagine raising out body temperature any higher.

The town proudly claims it is the "World's Largest Mineral Hot Springs."
"The Tepee Fountain" was built in 1909 to vent steam from hot mineral water that was pumped through the park.  As water flows over the structure it cools and deposits layers of minerals.
The Swinging Bridge towers over the Big Horn River and offers a great view and is fun to walk on.
View from the Swinging Bridge looking over the park.
The Wyoming State Bath House.  We did not go in.
There are boardwalks that take visitors around the pools and offer a look at the springs. 
One of the dry springs - the Spirit Hole.  Our Spirit wanted her picture taken here!
Within the park are two private "spas" which date back to the early 1900's.  A great place for people to lounge in the indoor and outdoor pools.

1 comment:

  1. beautiful pictures Spirit sure has grown! If you haven't been to Hot Springs AR. we have hot springs here too. Bath houses too. There is just something about having a stranger give me a bath that just doesnt appeal to me LOL


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