This last two days were spent driving five hours from Cheyenne, WY to Thermopolis, WY. The trip was sort of spur of the moment and unfortunately smack in the middle of a snow storm.
What happened was Saturday, my husband, Clay, and myself were hanging out at our local watering hole for a quick drink when I off-handedly said, “Hey maybe we should go check out Thermopolis on our days off.”
Our buddy, Jeremy, overheard and yelled out “Shit yeah you should!” Encouraged, I went on a quick Google search and found the Days Inn Thermopolis for $94 night. A friend of mine had actually previously told me that this hotel was ideal as it is almost across the street from The Hot Springs State Park, The Star Plunge, and The Tee Pee Fountain.
The road from Cheyenne to Casper was slow going. It was snowy and in some spots it was complete white out conditions. We kept passing all these signs that declared No Unnecessary Travel so I started to doubt the sanity of this little adventure. Thankfully once we reached Casper and began to travel West and all of a sudden the roads cleared up and it was great!
I have never been to Shoshoni, or the Wind River Basin, or Thermopolis. So this part of the trip was all new for me and I am so glad the weather chilled out so I could appreciate the beauty of this part of the state.
The Wind River Basin is a sight to behold. It is a truly beautiful mountain range with a massive reservoir, Boysen Resevoir, that is part of Boysen state park. My husband was so excited, we pulled over just to behold the beauty of the spot (and also to plan future fishing expeditions).
There is also a really cool spot called Three Tunnels that is a road that has three mountain side tunnels all in a row.
After this beautiful drive, we hit Thermopolis. We drove around the town a bit. Thermopolis is a cute cozy little space surrounded by Shale and Granite mountians.
As it is winter, quite a lot of the local stores were closed and we noticed many houses were also boarded up and abandoned. I bet the place is cute as hell in the summer time!
So we got to our hotel, the Days Inn. The place was almost empty. There was maybe four other rooms being used while we were there. Which I love. Also…there is a mineral water hot tub and the thing is 20 FT FROM OUR BACKDOOR! Whaaaaat?! How did we get that lucky? Room 102 for future reference!
The hotel’s front desk clerk gave some really great recommendations and also informed me that the town had gotten hit really hard during the oil downturn and many people lost their homes. That explains all the abandoned buildings.
So the hotel is connected to a restaurant, bar, and lounge, called the Safari Club. Oh my god, animal heads EVERYWHERE. While I can see the draw for many, especially kids, I inherently hate trophy hunters. How dare you over compensate for your tiny penis by taking the life of a beautiful animal. So I personally wasn’t feeling the animal heads around me. Rant over.
Okay on to the fun stuff! We dropped our gear and headed over to (literally across a field from the hotel) the Hot Springs State Bath House. We had to hit that place first as it closes at 5:30.
Ok this place was nice! It offers an indoor mineral pool as well as an outdoor one. Even though it was two degrees outside, I ran my swim-suited ass straight outside! Oh the water was so wonderful, especially after running barefoot through the snow to get to it!
The state bathhouse only allows soaking for 20 minutes. While they weren’t out there with a stop watch, they did have a large prominently displayed clock out there so we did our best to self police and followed the 20 minute rule. My husband and I even got to enjoy the outside space alone for about 10 minutes before some guys came out. I’m not even mad though, we were seriously blessed to have had that magical 10 minutes to ourselves. We headed in to check out the indoor pool, which was cool, but not as cool as the outdoor.
Side note: I met a really nice red headed local lady who was in the shower room when I first got there and was still in there when I was done, so I had a nice chat with her, then once out in the lobby, I got chatted up by some locals about their town. People are seriously friendly here. One lady even offered to follow us over to the massive mineral rock to take my husbands and I’s picture after I mentioned we were heading over that way. Yeah just a great.
So, soaking wet in our post soak clothes, we ran over to the mineral rock, called Tee Pee Fountain, to touch and feel and ooh and ahh. It really is huge, impressive, and the colors were just gorgeous, like pastel and black colored curtains.
Tee Pee Rock was formed in 1903 when some ingenious soul stuck an iron pipe into the ground, causing the mineral-rich underground water to escape. Pouring out over the top of the pipe, the water released a calcium carbonate mineral water and deposited it on the area around it.
The water still trickles out and over it, pooling at the bottom and draining into a pipe in the ground. On this visit we were the only ones there so I got some great winter photos of it!
Okay so after we checked out the big mineral mound, we headed over to Star Plunge! I have been hearing about this place since I first moved to Cheyenne 20 years ago and I finally got to go!
Ok so its $12.50 a person, cash or check only. The shower rooms are very nice and private. There is a giant indoor pool and slide (which I didn’t go on, it seemed just a touch rickety for my fat ass) and a large outdoor mineral pool, deep enough for a diving board. That’s where I hung out. Swimming in the foggy waves of sulfur smoke. Delicious.
After a nice soak, we headed in and checked out the Vapor room, aka sauna. I preferred the pools to the vapor cave. It was to small and smelly for me, but again I’m glad I checked it out!
So after all that wetness and cold and soaking, we went back to our hotel to enjoy some alone time. We bellied up at the bar for a couple of hours. We enjoyed some really tasty appetizers (spinach artichoke dip and chicken quesadillas) and some tastier drinks.
After chatting up the bartender a bit, we headed back to the room and then the hot tub. Again we got the whole thing to ourselves!! No way was I getting out! We spent an hour and a half in that thing! I was wrinkly and happy by the time we got out.
We left the hotel super early, 545 am. My husband grabbed us some huge breakfast burritos and we pulled off to the side of the road, right up against the Big Horn River, maybe 5 minutes outside of Thermopolis to eat our breakfast and savor the beauty for just a bit longer.
All in all we had an amazing little get away. These days are so special and they serve to remind me of why I love this man so much. Truly I am grateful for our relationship. ❤
Thank you for reading and if you made it this far please heed my advice: If your are planning to visit Wyoming’s Hot Springs, do it in February and March!! Avoid the higher costs and the crowds.