Thermopolis

Thermopolis

With a few days free between Wyoming balloon rallies we took the recommendation of the locals and headed up to Thermopolis which is about 50 miles north of Riverton.  Thermopolis is famous for two things, first is the world’s largest mineral hot springs and second is their Dinosaur museum.  Camping costs are on the high-end but you get full hookups, cable and wi-fi for the price and with our bikes handy we didn’t have to do much driving.

The hot springs flow freely throughout the state park and down mineral laden cliffs into the Bighorn River.  The hot springs are pumped into three different pools for people to swim in.  One is free to the public and the other two are privately operated businesses with elaborate pools and slides.  Where the hot water mixes with the river we found a population of goldfish surviving in a small but specific thermal refuge.

Thermopolis goldfish

Goldfish in the Wind River

While the dinosaur museum isn’t very glamorous from the outside, inside it houses a large collection of fossils arranged from the oldest invertebrates to the more recent and always popular dinosaurs.

trilobites

trilobites

short-neck plesiosaur, unidentified Polycotylid

short-neck plesiosaur, unidentified Polycotylid

To the west of town off a dirt road is a small park called Legend Rock Petroglyph site.  Greeting visitors is a single ranger to provide directions, a small visitor center and a shaded picnic area.  A short trail leads to a collection of well-preserved petroglyphs dating from 500-1700 AD.

Petroglyphs at Legend Rock

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