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Thermopolis, Wyoming
Thermopolis viewed from Roundtop Mountain
Thermopolis viewed from Roundtop Mountain
"Thermop" "T-Town"
"A Past To Behold, A Future To Uphold"
Location of Thermopolis in Hot Springs County, Wyoming.
Location of Thermopolis in Hot Springs County, Wyoming.
Thermopolis, Wyoming is located in Wyoming
Thermopolis, Wyoming
Thermopolis, Wyoming
Location in Wyoming
Thermopolis, Wyoming is located in the United States
Thermopolis, Wyoming
Thermopolis, Wyoming
Location in the United States
Country United States
State Wyoming
County Hot Springs
Named for Greek for "Hot City", named for the county's natural hot springs
 • Total 2.47 sq mi (6.39 km2)
 • Land 2.39 sq mi (6.18 km2)
 • Water 0.08 sq mi (0.21 km2)
4,331 ft (1,320 m)
 • Total 2,725
 • Density 1,157.94/sq mi (447.11/km2)
Time zone UTC−7 (Mountain (MST))
 • Summer (DST) UTC−6 (MDT)
ZIP code
Area code(s) 307
FIPS code 56-76515

Thermopolis is the county seat and largest town in Hot Springs County, Wyoming, United States. As of the 2020 U.S. Census, the town population was 2,725.

Thermopolis is Greek for "hot city." It is home to numerous natural hot springs, in which mineral-laden waters are heated by geothermal processes. The town is named for the hot springs located there.

The town claims the world's largest mineral hot spring, appropriately named "The Big Spring", as part of Hot Springs State Park. The springs are open to the public for free as part of an 1896 treaty signed with the Shoshone and Arapaho Indian tribes.

Dinosaur fossils were found on the Warm Springs Ranch in 1993, and the Wyoming Dinosaur Center was founded soon after.


"Thermopolis" is from the Greek for "Hot City". It is home to numerous natural hot springs, in which mineral-laden waters are heated by geothermal processes. The town is named for the hot springs located there.

The town claims the world's largest mineral hot spring as part of Hot Springs State Park. The springs are open to the public for free as part of an 1896 treaty signed with the Shoshone and Arapaho Indian tribes.

Thermopolis is also the home of the Wyoming Dinosaur Center, which hosts the only Archaeopteryx fossil outside of Europe.

Decline in mineral spring flow

In 1991, the Associated Press reported, in an article entitled "Hot Springs Rationed: Natural Wonder Drying Up:"

One of Wyoming's natural wonders--massive travertine terraces formed over the centuries by cascading hot mineral water at Hot Springs State Park--appears to be dying.

A dramatic decline in the flow of the main spring that feeds the terraces has prompted park management to maintain the water flow to the park's recreation pools and cut off water to half the terraces.

The Big Spring, which pumped 13 million gallons a day in 1896 when the Indians sold the area to the government, now produces mere 3.5 million gallons per day, according to park superintendent Allen Cowardin.

Neither Cowardin nor state water experts know what has caused the reduced flow, nor when it dropped so dramatically...


Thermopolis is located near the northern end of the Wind River Canyon and Wedding of the Waters, where the north-flowing Wind River becomes the Bighorn River. Thermopolis is ringed by mountains, with the Bridger Mountains to the southeast, the Owl Creek Mountains to the southwest, the Big Horn Mountains to the northeast and the Absaroka Range to the northwest. Thermopolis is the southern-most municipality in the Big Horn Basin.

Roundtop Mountain, on the northern edge of town, is a unique geological formation shaped much like a volcano. It sits at approximately 6,000 feet and is the highest area in the immediate vicinity of Thermopolis.

A large body of water, Boysen Reservoir, lies approximately 17 miles south of Thermopolis and is inhabited by many native species of fish including rainbow, cutthroat and brown trout, walleye, perch and northern pike among others.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 2.47 square miles (6.40 km2), of which, 2.38 square miles (6.16 km2) of it is land and 0.09 square miles (0.23 km2) is water.


Thermopolis experiences a semi-arid climate (Köppen BSk) with cold, dry winters and hot, dry summers. In fact, the town features Wyoming's highest average daytime temperatures in July and August.

Climate data for Thermopolis, Wyoming (1981–2010 normals)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 67
Average high °F (°C) 40.5
Average low °F (°C) 11.5
Record low °F (°C) −44
Average precipitation inches (mm) 0.41
Average snowfall inches (cm) 5.4
Average precipitation days (≥ 0.01 in) 3.3 3.3 4.4 6.8 7.9 8.3 5.9 4.7 5.7 5.1 3.8 3.4 62.4
Average snowy days (≥ 0.1 in) 2.4 2.1 1.8 .9 .1 0 0 0 0 .6 1.7 2.4 12.1
Source: NOAA (extremes 1899–present)


Historical population
Census Pop.
1900 299
1910 1,524 409.7%
1920 2,005 31.6%
1930 2,129 6.2%
1940 2,422 13.8%
1950 2,870 18.5%
1960 3,955 37.8%
1970 3,063 −22.6%
1980 3,852 25.8%
1990 3,247 −15.7%
2000 3,172 −2.3%
2010 3,009 −5.1%
2020 2,725 −9.4%
U.S. Decennial Census

2010 census

As of the census of 2010, there were 3,009 people, 1,389 households, and 818 families residing in the town. The population density was 1,264.3 inhabitants per square mile (488.1/km2). There were 1,583 housing units at an average density of 665.1 per square mile (256.8/km2). The racial makeup of the town was 96.4% White, 0.3% African American, 0.9% Native American, 0.5% Asian, 0.4% from other races, and 1.5% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.2% of the population.

There were 1,389 households, of which 24.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 44.3% were married couples living together, 10.4% had a female householder with no husband present, 4.1% had a male householder with no wife present, and 41.1% were non-families. 35.8% of all households were made up of individuals, and 14.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.11 and the average family size was 2.70.

The median age in the town was 47 years. 20.1% of residents were under the age of 18; 7.2% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 20.2% were from 25 to 44; 30.5% were from 45 to 64; and 22.1% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the town was 49.1% male and 50.9% female.



Because of Hot Springs State Park, tourism is of considerable economic importance to Thermopolis. A state maintained herd of American Bison reside in Hot Springs State Park, which extends into the northeast corner of town. Two hot mineral water concessions with numerous water slides and other attractions, the Teepee Pools and Star Plunge are located within the park. Two hotels, Days Inn-Safari Club and Best Western-Plaza Inn, are also in the park. Other tourism-related businesses in and near the town include the Downtown Thermopolis Historic District, the Hot Springs County Museum and Cultural Center and the Wind River Canyon Whitewater Rafting. Thermopolis (indeed, all of Hot Springs County) levies a 4% lodging tax for boarders in county hotels and motels.

The Hot Springs County Museum and Cultural Center has an eclectic collection of memorabilia from local pioneers circa 1890 through 1910, with plans to focus on Tim McCoy, who lived in Hot Springs County from 1912 to 1942, during which he built the High Eagle Ranch about 45 miles west of town. He worked for many years as an actor in what are now called B westerns, or lower-budget cowboy movies in Hollywood.

Nearby East Thermopolis is home to the Wyoming Dinosaur Center, a non-profit corporation that conducts paleontology digs in the area and maintains a visitor center with a museum, gift shop and snack bar. They offer daily tours of the dig site that allow visitors to participate in excavations.

Every May since 1993, thousands of basketball players have descended upon Thermopolis for the annual 3 on 3 Hot Spot Shootout Basketball Tournament. The tournament shuts down several blocks of the city for the weekend, as up to 60+ temporary basketball courts are constructed on city streets in the downtown area. The event is co-sponsored by the Hot Springs County Chamber of Commerce and Hoop World Basketball.

On August 21, 2017, Thermopolis experienced a total eclipse of the sun.

Thermopolis, 1918
Thermopolis, 1918


Public education in the town of Thermopolis is provided by Hot Springs County School District #1 It is the only school district in the county. HSCSD1 includes Ralph Witters Elementary School, Thermopolis Middle School, Hot Springs County High School, and a building for the county auditorium and district administrative offices, all in Thermopolis. Lucerne Intermediate School, a facility for fourth and fifth graders located in Lucerne, closed in 2005. Fourth and fifth graders now attend the recently expanded Ralph Witters Elementary. All of HSCSD1's athletic teams are known as the Thermopolis Bobcats, and their colors are purple and gold. Hot Springs County High School's athletics are currently classified to compete as the smallest school (by enrollment) in class 3A (some programs are currently in Class 2A, such as varsity football) by the Wyoming High School Activities Association. The estimated high school enrollment for the 2017–18 school year is 209 students. By comparison, the largest 3A school, Riverton High School's estimated 2017-18 enrollment, stands at 787 students.


Postal service

The United States Postal Service operates the Thermopolis Post Office under ZIP code 82443.



  • US 20.svg U.S. Route 20 - north-south route through the town.
  • WYO 120 - runs northwest to the towns of Meeteetse and Cody.
  • WYO 789 - runs north-south through the city, concurrent with U.S. 20. North end runs through Worland on the north end and ends on the south side in Shoshoni


Thermopolis is served by the Hot Springs County–Thermopolis Municipal Airport near Grass Creek, Wyoming for basic aviation.

Notable people

  • Wyatt Agar, a Republican member of the Wyoming Senate (2017–2021) and rancher
  • Don Bracken (1962–2014), American football punter at the University of Michigan and in the NFL for the Green Bay Packers and Los Angeles Rams
  • Clayton Danks (1879–1970), Three-time Cheyenne Frontier Days winner, model of the Wyoming cowboy symbol; died in Thermopolis in 1970
  • Mike Enzi (1944–2021), United States Senator from Wyoming (1997–2021)
  • Dave Freudenthal (born 1950), governor of Wyoming (2003–2011)
  • Steve Freudenthal (born 1949), a Democratic politician who served as the 28th Attorney General of Wyoming from 1981 until 1983
  • W. Michael Gear, a writer and archaeologist
  • Kathleen O'Neal Gear, a writer and archaeologist
  • Morris H. Hansen, a statistician who was born in Thermopolis
  • Dora McGrath, the first woman elected to the Wyoming State Senate
  • Barton R. Voigt, former Chief Justice of the Wyoming Supreme Court
  • John Winter, Republican member of the Wyoming House of Representatives (2019–present) and rancher
  • Nathan Winters, former Republican member of the Wyoming House of Representatives (2013–2019)

See also

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