We’re moving from Montana mountains to Wyoming hot springs. Sadly, it was time to leave Montana. We’d been here nearly 2 weeks. We completed our 5 day backpacking trip, enjoyed a few relaxing, friendly shared meals with friends, and our extra hike up to Elk Lake. However it was time to get busy and head to Wyoming for family time and projects.

A few favorite Montana pictures

If you missed the previous posts, check them out! The backpacking trip was wonderful and there’s also a video live on Youtube towards the end.

Traveling through Thermopolis, WY

From Red Lodge, MT, our route was taking us south. That meant going through Thermopolis on our way to Rawlins, WY and I decided I didn’t want to pass up a visit to the Hot Springs State Park this time.

We’d traveled this route the previous summer and skipped right on by this interesting hot springs laden town.

This trip, we made it an afternoon stopover following our 3 hour morning drive. Thermopolis, WY is literally the “Hot City” and is home to numerous natural hot springs. The Shoshone and Arapaho tribes required that the public would always have access to these natural hot springs as part of their 1896 treaty with Wyoming. Unfortunately, the public baths were closed due to Covid, but the private facilities and pools were open, with some restrictions. I was looking forward to a soak.

Hot Springs State Park

This is where hot springs fall into the Big Horn River at a rate of 8,000 gallons per day! It was very enchanting. My intention was to visit one of the soaking pools but, when we arrived, we were dripping already. It was hot and extremely humid squelching any desire to go sit in a hot 104-degree pool.

The state park is free and we easily routed ourselves off the highway and parked. We spent a couple of hours walking and driving around the park. I’d recommend at minimum half day stay to take in the sites and scenery and even a full day, if you were going to experience one of the bath houses.

The Swinging Bridge

Originally built in 1916

Want a thrilling way to walk across the Big Horn River? Walk here, look down, have Steve jump up and down til your knuckles are white. He had fun. The bridge was originally built to connect the big spring with a smaller spring and a sanatorium. It was condemned in 1980’s and restored in 1990’s. Come and enjoy viewing the Rainbow Terraces and the river taking in the spring water from this bouncy vantage point.

After walking around for a bit we took the Jeep around the rest of the park to locate the bison herd and see the rest of the park’s driving area.

The bison herd was small and we were unable to view the herd from a decent vantage point but, both the red and limestone rocks were big and beautiful. Our last pull over was near a smaller spring that’s closer to the rivers edge. It’s an easy stone staircase walk down to the spring. As we came back up to the cliff overlooking the river, there was a group of kids cliff jumping into the river. Then more kids arrived! It was obviously a known jumping / swimming spot.

Where to Next?

A little less than 30 miles south is Boysen Reservoir. There are a few state campgrounds around the reservoir. Last year we stayed on the west side of this area on Fish and Game fishing access along Lake Cameahwait. You can find more information on our stay in the Campsite Gallery (button link below). This year I found a potential boondocking BLM site that is more convenient to our route. That’ll be the next blog post. Stay tuned.

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