For centuries, the hot springs of Wyoming have been revered attractions.
Native Americans, even if they were from warring tribes, used to settle
down shoulder-to-shoulder into hot springs along the banks of the North
Platte River, where they believed the water had healing powers. The
settlers traveling westward on the Oregon Trail also stopped along the
way to soak their weary feet. Modern visitors still flock to the
naturally heated pools and springs throughout the state to relax and
have some fun. Check out these popular soaking spots in Wyoming.
Hot Springs State Park
In Thermopolis, Hot Springs State Park is the most visited park in the
Wyoming State Park system. Families love the herd of buffalo wandering
the park grounds and the Star Plunge pool with its waterslides, and
couples migrate to the State Bathhouse. While the State Bathhouse has an
indoor and outdoor soaking pool (both of which require bathers to wear
swimsuits), it also has clothing-optional private tubs where, not only
do you get the place to yourself, but you’re also the total supervisor
of your soak, able to pick the water temperature you want. The park is
open year-round and is especially lovely in the winter.
The options here are diverse, from the open-air, free-to-the-public Hobo
pool, to the huge, 70-foot-long outdoor pool at the posh Saratoga Resort and Spa, which also has five teepee-covered pools. With superior
luxury, it offers numerous fireplaces and featherbeds piled high with
blankets to ensure you'll be as warm and toasty outside the pools as in
them. If you really want to indulge, the resort even has a spa, golf
course and microbrewery.
Granite Hot Springs
If you’re looking for a wilderness feel, head to the northwestern part
of the state just south of Grand Teton and Yellowstone national parks.
Granite's waterfall-fed, 104-degree, seven-foot-deep pool is tucked into
the base of a cliff. Anyone can get to Granite between spring and fall
by driving the 12-mile-long dirt road, but only those willing to
snowmobile, ski, snowshoe or dogsled in from the highway can soak here
come winter. (Only one dogsled operator — eight-time Iditarod veteran
Frank Teasley's Jackson Hole Iditarod Sled Dog Tours — makes the trip,
but there are numerous Jackson-based snowmobile outfitters to choose
from.) June through Sept., there is a campground open just a mile from
Chief Washakie Plunge
Venture onto the Wind River Indian Reservation near Lander to splash in
this developed hot spring. The large outdoor pool is kept at a balmy 90
degrees and features a waterslide, basketball hoop and diving board.
Nine indoor tubs offer Jacuzzi-like jets for a soothing soak. Don’t skip
the gravel plunge that contains the natural vent, which releases
112-degree water from the earth itself.