Thermopolis, Wyoming: Hot Springs

“This will be our last trip,” my father told me, shortly after I retrieved my bag from the tiny airport in Worland, Wyoming. This year marks their 20th visit to Thermopolis, the largest town and the county seat of Hot Springs County.  As of the 2010 census the town population was 3,009. The local 9th-12th grade high school serves 185 students.

They come for the waters that they claim heals, or at least, eases, their various aches and pains.  Produced by the emergence of geothermally heated groundwater from the Earth’s crust,  the springs feed into the pools. The natural minerals require no chlorine or other chemical additives though the air smells like sulfur.


Hot Spring Teepee

Hot Spring Teepee

With the exception of one year, they drive, usually in the heart of winter, preferring the flexibility of their own car and timetable. They have visited friends along the way and return, sometimes traveling as far south as New Mexico and Florida, being away a month or more.  This year, they’ll return directly home after about 10 days. They have their favorite routes, motels, car mechanics, and Chinese restaurants and know practically everyone in town.

I decided last minute to meet them this year for a couple days. I joined the water aerobics class this morning and we’ll return for another soak this afternoon before dinner. We alternate between the indoor pools and outdoor pools and hot tubs, staying submerged until our finger tips are wrinkled like raisins.   The town doesn’t offer much—it’s a tourist stop on the way to Yellowstone and other Wyoming attractions and fueled by the oil and natural gas industry.

Yet the mountain air is crisp and cold; the sky blue and vast. Leaving the Northeast, I appreciate the size and scope of the US and its diverse geography and cultures.

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27 Responses to Thermopolis, Wyoming: Hot Springs

  1. I love stories Lisa and this one is no exception. There was a time where I longed to be unpredictable but I’ve grown to appreciate traditions like the one you mentioned here – they ground us.


  2. Margaret Crater says:

    Enjoy, Lisa! I had the good fortune of taking a “last” trip with my mom to places we’d been several times (Bryce, Zion, Grand Canyon). It has meant a whole lot to me over the years. Stay warm and amazing. : )


  3. Drjcwash says:

    This is why they are so youthful. I have heard much about the healing powers of the Hot Springs. Enjoy. You may come back with more energy than you already have. I have had so many patients over the years make last trips and I am so happy you are there with them.


  4. Sounds sublime! I’m jealous. Again. 😉


    • Well not so sublime, sort of sad to see how they age… but good to be able to come for a couple days and escape the crazy cold. No need to be jealous!

      On Wed, Jan 8, 2014 at 7:40 PM, cyclingrandma


      • I’m glad you’re getting to spend time with them! And i’m still jealous. I’d love to have my parents around this long, and go hang out in a hot springs with them. 😉 Hell, I’d take the hot springs right now, for sure!


      • Yes I know my siblings and I have been very lucky to have our parents in our lives for so long. Age brings many challenges and it’s hard to see them unable to do things, etc. But we’re still very fortunate.

        On Thu, Jan 9, 2014 at 12:22 PM, cyclingrandma


  5. Sounds fabulous! My best to your wonderful mom.


  6. Mmmm. Makes me want a nice hot soak!


  7. Great way to stay warm!


  8. Sheryl says:

    The trip sounds wonderful, , , and it makes me want to visit Thermopolis. I like places that are slightly off the beaten track.


  9. I hate when they start with “This will be my last…anything” Ada’s husband has done his last car trip to NC to see his WWII buddies, the last survivor is in a home. Acceptance was never my strong suit.


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  11. bestofbarbara,word says:

    Wonderful post! You shoud sell it to the Wyoming Chamber of commerce or the equivalent. Great picture of us. Was that taken at the Bear? Decour looked too good. Loved all of the comments.
    How often have we said that this is our last trip?


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  13. ShimonZ says:

    Very beautiful post. I’ve had so much going on in my life recently, that I missed this when it came out… very glad I saw it anyway!


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