One perfect day in Thermopolis, WY

You'll find bison, mineral pools, and cool, throwback atmosphere here

Dina Mishev

Why go now: Yellowstone and Grand Teton get all the love, but this throwback town and its state park (Wyoming’s first) are worth a detour on your summer roadtrip.

Where the heck is it? In the rolling red hills of central Wyoming, about 23/4 hours from Yellowstone.

Park perks: Head to Hot Springs State Park, carved out of the northeast section of town, to dip in mineral pools, trek the trails, gawk at bison, raft the river, and find the perfect picnic spot.

A river runs through it: The Big Horn River flows through the east side of town and the park.

Say it like a local: Thermopolis, from the Greek for “hot city,” is known around here as Thermop.

Town hub: Pass by Highway 20’s chain stores and old motor lodges and head to Broadway for cute mom-and-pop shops.

Soaks for all: Entrance to the park’s State Bath House is still free thanks to the Shoshone and Arapaho, who ensured free public access back in 1896. 168 Tepee St.; 307/864-3765.

Highly sedimental: The mineral Rainbow Terraces above the Big Horn have been a work in progress for thousands of years, and they’re still growing.

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