Hot Springs County Thermopolis

Page 1





Vol. 2, Issue 1





In the early 1900’s, several businesses in the western town of Thermopolis were owned and operated by former outlaws.

O U T L AW Country

Thermopolis, Wyoming was founded during the years of the Wild West. Many of the well-respected founders of our frontier town made their wealth in rather dubious ways and were part of – or at least associated with - the outlaw element that roamed the western territories.

One of these early businessmen came to town in 1906. He was well-known and bought a saloon under his alias of William “Bill” McGinnis. His real name was Elza Lay and he was Butch Cassidy’s best friend and ally. Together they led the Wild Bunch, spending most of their outlaw career together throughout Wyoming and the neighboring states. In July of 1899, Lay, against the advice of Cassidy, robbed a train with the Ketchum brothers. Though the robbery was successful, Lay was eventually caught and convicted to life in prison. However, he was wellliked and trusted by the warden. After he helped to quell a riot and rescue the warden’s wife and daughter, he received a full pardon from New Mexico’s Governor Otero on January 10, 1906. By September first of the that same year, using his alias W. H. McGinnis, he bought the Topic Saloon from H. S. Cover in Thermopolis. The two-story building was used for a saloon on the first floor with eight rooms upstairs for lodging. He renamed it “The Blue Front Thirst Parlor”. Questions remain of where exactly he got the funding to buy the saloon with some theorizing that the money used to buy

the business came from hidden loot he recovered after his release from prison. During his time in Thermopolis, Lay was an active member of society. For the 1907 Fourth of July festivities, Lay, known as an excellent horseman, was designated as the chairmen of the horse race committee. His time as a business owner in Thermopolis was short-lived – by the end of July, he dissolved his partnership in the saloon and moved on to a career in the oil field. Elza Lay ended his days in California although it is rumored that he returned often Elza Lay, Butch Cassidy's best friend and ally. to Wyoming to visit old friends and relive his outlaw years.

Advertisement in 1906 Thermopolis newspaper naming the alias of Elza Lay as owner of the saloon Visit Wyoming’s Favorite Hot Springs





Visit Wyoming’s

Favorite Hot Springs!

e m o c l e W to Hot Springs County Wyoming’s favorite mineral hot springs!

HOT SPRINGS TRAVEL & TOURISM PO Box 927 Thermopolis, Wyoming 82443 Jackie Dorothy, Tourism Director BOARD MEMBERS Chairman Carl Leyba Owner, Quality Inn Thermopolis Vice Chair Bob Roos East Thermopolis Representative Secretary Susan Lankford Owner, El Rancho Thermopolis Treasurer Matt Hughes Owner, Airbnb “The Barn” Thermopolis In-coming Treasurer Audra Dominquez Owner, Vrbo “The Shalom House” Thermopolis Member, Rachel Moon Director, Hot Springs County Historical Museum Member, Quintin Blair Sales Director, Blair Hotels DESIGN & LAYOUT Misty Weidemann, Graphic Designer

Find Yourself in Hot Water at the mineral Hot Springs in Thermopolis, Wyoming. Swim, Slide and Soak in our healing waters located at the Hot Springs State Park. Tour the buffalo pastures, Legend Rock State Historical Site, our historic downtown and explore our rich past at our two museums. World-class fishing, hiking, kayaking and golf — choose your adventure in Hot Springs Wyoming in Thermopolis!

Written & Edited by Jackie Dorothy of Legend Rock Media Productions


Historical Photographs courtesy of Hot Springs Historical Museum SPECIAL THANKS to Shoshone Tribal Consultant Nathaniel “Curtis” Barney




Visit Wyoming’s Favorite Hot Springs


View from Round Top in 1900

Allen Thurman hiking T-Hill

BE SURE TO TAG US in social media with your photos and #threepeakchallenge stories!

Since the late 1800’s, visitors to Thermopolis have climbed the hills surrounding the hot springs and today, we invite you to take the “Three Peak Challenge”! PEAK ONE



Hill is a familiar sight in Thermopolis – emblazoned across the red rock is the bold statement “WORLD’S LARGEST MINERAL HOT SPRINGS”. You will begin your trek in the buffalo pasture, on the north side of the Hot Springs State Park. As you climb skyward, portions of the trails have steps cut into the hill to make the steep climb easier. Monument Hill earned its name from visitors healed from the hot springs – they would climb the peak and leave a rock in celebration of their renewed health. Today, you can leave your name and a note at the summit.

Outlaw Country...................................Inside Front Cover Three-Peak Challenge.....................................................2 Wyoming’s First State Park............................................ 3 History of Hot Springs Pools..........................................6 Choose Your Hot Springs Experience............................8 Legend Rock.................................................................10 Farm to Fork.................................................................11 Downtown Thermopolis................................................12


Tee Time in T-Town........................................................14

Roundtop Mountain rises up a total of 600 feet and is the

Yellowstone Highway....................................................15

prominent butte that dominates the view looking north from Thermopolis. This small mountain offers some great views of Thermopolis and the surrounding area, most notably Wind River Canyon to the south and the Owl Creek Range to the west. In 1986, the family of former Governor Dave Freudenthal donated the butte to the people of Hot Springs County in memory of his father, Lewis Freudenthal, to be preserved in its natural state. This is a short but steep walk-up.

Racing the Rapids.........................................................16 The Great Outdoors at Boysen State Park...................17 Hot Springs Illustrated Map.........................................18 Following the Outlaw Trail............................................20 Bootlegging in the Sagebrush......................................22 Digging Up the Past..................................................... 24 Dora McGrath...............................................................26


Thermopolis Splash Pad................................................28

T-Hill is a fun climb full of switchbacks through the juniper

Rock Shop.....................................................................30

and a bench at the top to enjoy the view. The Hot Springs Outdoor Alliance recently completed this 3-mile trek which has become one of the most popular hiking destinations in the area. The new trailhead begins behind the Jack Toth Armory at 728 N. Park Street.

Dorothy Knighten and Mari Marquart celebrate Dorothy's 80th birthday by climbing Monument Hill

Dining and Lodging Guide........................................... 32

Cover Photo: Jackie Dorothy


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Wyoming's First State Park


hen word was received in 1897 that the land surrounding the mineral hot springs on the Wind River Reservation was open for settlement, businessmen seven miles north of the site immediately sprang into action. Before anyone could claim the land as an individual homestead, a rider was sent to Lander, the county seat, to file on a townsite the founders named Thermopolis which is Greek for ‘Hot City’.

El Rancho Motel

One mile square was set aside as a reserve which is now known as Hot Springs State Park, a free day-use park with picnic shelters, volleyball nets, playgrounds and a frisbee golf course. Visitors can swim in the mineral hot springs, walk over the rainbow terraces, fish and boat in the Big Horn River, hike the many trails and view the bison, Wyoming’s free-roaming herd. Among the areas of interest is the world-famous Tepee Fountain, Swinging Bridge and a unique opportunity to feed the park’s growing population of goldfish.

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The Mineral Springs Apartments and the Tepee Fountain in the Hot Springs State Park, Early 1900’s

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The original swinging bridge built in 1916 over the Big Horn River


t the turn of the century, crossing the Big Horn River used to be a dangerous ordeal, especially when the river was high. Even ferry crossing could be hazardous. Occasionally, a ferry boat could break from its moorings and the passengers would take an unexpected journey downstream or it could flip, drowning the occupants. In 1899, E. A. Adams built a rope bridge and pedestrians could cross for five cents

per person. It was praised by Al Renner, local sheep rancher, as the best in the Big Horn Basin, after he successfully moved 3,000 head of sheep across the bridge without any loss. By the next year, the Wyoming Legislature approved an appropriation to build a new bridge that could also accommodate vehicles and horsemen. This bridge, a 14-foot steel truss, was built in 1901 and helped expand visitation to the state park as the area became a popular destination for tourists and those seeking the medicinal relief offered by the healing waters. State Reserve Superintendent Fred Holdrege had big dreams for the park and by the Spring of 1916, this included a new bridge. Basing his design on a suspension bridge he had seen in Colorado, Holdrege and technical engineer W.B. Garrett came up with a plan that was put into motion almost immediately.

Stephanie Boren with her daughters, Jaydyn & Hannah and their friend walk across the swinging bridge as it sways beneath their feet

By August of 1916, a modern cable suspension bridge was built high above the Big Horn River to connect the Big Spring with the Fremont Spring, the Pleasant View Hotel & Sanitarium and the Elk Pasture. It was functionable and picturesque, adding


to the lure of the State Reserve. Over its years of use, thousands of visitors and locals alike crossed between the Big Spring and the “Cut Springs” safely. Despite community efforts to save this bridge, it fell into disrepair and was condemned in 1984. When it became obvious that it could not be salvaged, the decision was made to build a new bridge. By 1992, the North Dakota National Guard did just that. Their suspension bridge, built to modern safety standards, still offers a thrill to pedestrians as it sways beneath your feet, hundreds of feet above the river. The view is breathtaking of the Rainbow Terraces and the wildlife that call the Big Horn River home.

The view from the Swinging Bridge

Visit Wyoming’s Favorite Hot Springs

GOLDFISH FRENZY It all started with the ranchers, according to Superintendent Kevin Skates. They had goldfish in their stock tanks to keep the tanks clean of algae. Rather than let the winter freeze kill them, the ranchers brought the small fish to the State Park’s cooling ponds. The little guys flourished and today, these gentle giants, often mistaken for coy, eagerly wait for handouts at the pond’s edge. They have also proven to be a great asset to the park – the cooling pond’s moss issue is a thing of the past. A quarter will buy you a handful of fish food and a unique experience you cannot get at any other State Park – feeding the brightly colored goldfish at the Hot Springs State Park! Aiden Estenson feeds the goldfish at Hot Springs Park

W E LC OM E T O T H E Q UA L I T Y I N N your vacation home away from home in beautiful Thermopolis,Wyoming We are Committed to providing outstanding hospitality to every guest. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to call the Hotel anytime. We are here for you. We look forward to providing you with the comfort that you need to make memories in such a way that you will want to come back and stay with us next time you are in Wyoming. Thank you for choosing the Quality Inn in Thermopolis Wyoming. ~ The Management and Staff

166 US Highway 20 S. 1-855-849-9403


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Hot Springs Pools Tent plunge at Thermopolis, 1899. Pictured are Tom Skinner’s relatives, the Lewis family of Lost Cabin

In 1897, the mineral hot springs were opened to official development. Up until this time, the occupants were squatters and those traveling through who were illegally building stone structures on the Indian Reservation for their baths and swimming holes.

In November of that year, a reporter from the Lander Clipper made the journey to the new town of Thermopolis. It took twenty-four hours from Lander over roads that he called “the most abominable that has been our lot to pass over.” From the old town site, his small group wound their way over steep pitches and down through rocky gulches and canyons which were as “hot as hades” but all things have an end, he reported, “and at last we arrived on the top of the summit, when the beauties and wonder of this, Nature’s great production burst upon us.” The first summer of business had brought hundreds of tourists and those seeking the medicinal water over the same arduous route the Lander journalist had traveled. These travelers were not to be deterred by the long distance and dusty trails to reach this new tourist haven.

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Tourists were not the only ones flocking to the world famous mineral hot springs!


Visit Wyoming’s Favorite Hot Springs


ZOO Washakie Plunge in the 1960's

There were numerous pools and baths to choose from and two businesses had quickly become the favorites. The firm of Adams & Gregg had built their large bathhouse on the formation over-looking the river and catered to bathers. They had four bath tubs and one vapor bath. In that first summer of business when the visitors to the Spring were numerous, these baths were in constant use from 5 o’clock in the morning until late at night. Up on the formation, Gene Garr had a large plunge bath covered over with a large tent

and those who wish to “sport themselves in the water” were able to swim. He advertised that women and children could safely enjoy the water and attendants were standing by to see to patron’s every comfort. These two establishments have long since disappeared and other businesses, some extravagant and others much more modest, have come and gone in the years since. Over the last century a number of hotels, bath houses, sanitariums, and spas have been built to host the thousands of visitors who enjoy the hot springs each year.

In the 1920’s and 30’s, wildcats, coyotes, and bears all lived together at the zoo of Rocky Mountain wild animals at Thermopolis Hot Springs Reserve. The Thermopolis Chamber of Commerce helped run the zoo and most of the animals that were donated had been captured when young. One recorded story says that a wildcat was donated by A. F. Duntsch, editor of the Riverton Review. According the newspaper accounts, he had “gathered the little fellow up as they met on a stroll in the mountains of Fremont County a few months ago. A wildcat is tame amusement for a Wyoming country editor and Duntsch soon became tired of the humdrum and monotony. Any complaining reader had a wildcat beat for excitement.” (Cheyenne State Tribune, March 30, 1924) Remnants of the zoo can be seen today across from the hospital.

The Star Plunge at the Big Horn Hot Springs


Visit Wyoming’s Favorite Hot Springs


EXPERIENCE! Fun Adventure or Soothing Soak at our Mineral Hot Pools Healing Waters

Fun Adventure At the Hot Springs State Park, our two pools both offer family fun from slides to vapor caves!

The Native Americans and early pioneers all believed that the mineral water has special healing powers. Today, modern science has proven that there are many therapeutic benefits to the 27 minerals found naturally in the waters. Mineral water hydrotherapy is a treatment many patients seek on their doctor’s advice. The weightless environment that the water gives allows a person to work muscles and joints without the weight of your body. All of the mineral water is warmed by nature and is chemical-free.

Forgot a swim suit? Didn’t plan on playing in the water? No worries! You can purchase or rent a new swim suit and accessories at either pool! A variety of essential water toys are available from goggles, nose plugs, sunscreen to inflatable animals and armbands. These indoor and outdoor pools are heated by warm water from the Big Spring with temperatures ranging at the pools from 94-98°F (34-37°C) to the hot tubs at 104°F (40°C).

Water jets and air jets give a soothing massage and for sun worshippers in the summer, the Star Plunge provides 10 special

At the Star Plunge, the “Super Star 500” is one of the world’s longest water slides, gushing over 2,400 gallons per minute down a flume that measures over 500 feet. The “Blue Thunder Run” is a 330 foot all weather hydro-tube that curves around a 60-foot tower. The “Lil’ Dipper” is a warm mineral slide just right for the little tots. It is open year-round on days that the temperature is above freezing.

For a truly unique and enjoyable experience, dine and drink amongst our collection of big game trophies. Our menu has a wide variety of entrees ranging from homemade soups, salads, appetizers, sandwiches, slow roasted Prime Rib, hand cut steaks, pasta, buffalo hamburgers and much more.

Catch a trout out of the Big Horn River and we’ll cook it for you!

The Outside Pool at Hellie's Tepee Pool

Hellie’s Tepee Pool also boasts both outdoor and indoor slides for all our adventure seekers! Their indoor pool includes a main pool with a waterfall, slide, baby pool, hot tubs, steam room and dry sauna.

• R E S TAU R A N T & L O U N G E •

The big outdoor slides at either pool are open from Memorial Day through Labor Day, depending on weather.

LOCATED IN THE HOT SPRINGS STATE PARK Call us for hours and catering options: 307-864-3131


Visit Wyoming’s Favorite Hot Springs


No visit to the Hot Spring Pools would be complete without a visit to the natural steam rooms. The “Vapor Cave” at the Star Plunge is cut into a mountain and hot mineral water naturally heats the room. A fountain in the “Vapor Cave” is formed by natural mineral water which overflows and creates the steam. The steam room at the Hellie’s Tepee Pool is just as spectacular! You have the option of enjoying the mineral hot springs healing benefits at the free Hot Springs State Park Bath House. The bath house honors a treaty with Chief Washakie by providing free access to

the mineral hot springs and is great for a 20-minute invigorating soak in the water. These hot tubs – or lobster pot as Star Plunge dubs them – are great for soaking your sore muscles away. The temperatures range from 98 degrees Fahrenheit to 106 degrees Fahrenheit. The canopy at Hellie’s Tepee Pools over their outdoor hot tubs provides a nice shade for those really hot days. Take your pick of one of our three pools for an all-day excursion or just a healing soak. You can also stay at one of the two hotels in the park – the Best Western Plaza or the Day’s Inn & Safari Club – both of which boast hot water pools for their guests!

Find yourself in hot water at the Hot Springs State Park in Thermopolis, Wyoming! The Wyoming Bath House Hours are 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. with a limited 20-minute soak in the 104-degree pool. For questions regarding our free pool, please call 307-864-2176. The Hellie's Tepee Pools Open 9am to 9pm, 7 days a week. Located on 144 Tepee Street, Thermopolis. Contact them at 307-864-9250 or The Star Plunge Open 9am to 9pm, 7 days a week. Located on 115 Big Springs Drive, Thermopolis. Contact them at 307-864-3771 or


Swim, Soak, Slide, Stay!

sunning decks on the hillside overlooking spectacular Hot Springs State Park. There is also a tanning bed.

Our indoor pools include a main pool with a waterfall, slide, baby pool, hot tubs, steam room and dry sauna. Three outdoor hot tubs are great for soaking your sore muscles away! Large group discounts and military discounts available. Weekly, monthly and yearly memberships. Open 7 days a week 9am-9pm.

144 Tepee Street • Thermopolis 307-864-9250

TEPEEPOOLS.COM Visit Wyoming’s Favorite Hot Springs

LEGEND ROCK Petroglyph Historic Site Micah Arcand and Nate King study the petroglyphs from the walking path that winds it’s way beneath the ancient images


sacred area in the Hamilton Dome region is known as “poho kahni” by the Shoshone Tribe – a “house of power”. The Legend Rock Petroglyph Historic Site is a place believed by many to hold great supernatural power and to be a portal and home to ancient spirits. In 1973, efforts by the local community to preserve the area for future generations resulted in Legend Rock’s designation on the National Register of Historic Places. It is now part of Wyoming’s State Park system and efforts to preserve the sacred rock art continue. The site is located 29 miles northwest of Thermopolis and is well marked as you go off the beaten path. It is open for visitation year-round and once there, you will find a visitor center (open during the summer months), interpretative trails, and picnic shelter. It is recommended you wear sturdy shoes, sunscreen, hat and come prepared for a walk into the past. Today, visitors can travel down a trail that winds along the cliff side, following over one thousand feet of rock. This cliffside has been adorned with over 300 petroglyph figures on 92 prehistoric panels that range in age from thousands of years to a rabbit figure that is about 400 years old. Many of the petroglyphs are part of the Dinwoody Tradition. Dinwoody-style petroglyphs can only be found in the Wind River and Bighorn Country of Wyoming and Montana.

Some of the rarest and best examples are at Legend Rock and it is a site worth traveling for! These spectacular and surreal images represent anthropomorphic figures (humans and the attribution of human traits, emotions, or intentions to nonhuman entities) and zoomorphic creatures (art that represents non-human animals). Some figures have been altered and added to over the course of thousands of years so that the scenes you see have been created by numerous tribal members over a long period of time. At Legend Rock, you will see rare images such as the ‘attenuated anthropomorph’ whose body is formed by a long, single wavy line. These body lines weave around rock surfaces and other figures on the panel creating an entire scene that has been created over the years by different vision-seekers. The petroglyphs themselves are mostly pecked into the rock and their ages have been determined by how dark the varnish is on the pictures. The heavily varnished canine (coyote, wolf or domestic dog?) yielded an Early Archaic age of about 5,400 years. Another pecked petroglyph was created in overlapping years – it has a torso that is 2,500 years old and its thumb dates back to 1,700 years. The oldest petroglyphs at Legend Rock are grouped together and some may


represent the Paleoindian era – 10,000 years ago. The ones that archeologists have been able to date represent a human hand, two fully pecked animals and one unusual outline-pecked human figure. Research and oral traditions show that petroglyphs were created to graphically depict the visions received and experienced by many different individuals during altered states of consciousness. The Shoshone and other Numic-speaking groups throughout the Great Basin went on vision quests to acquire knowledge and supernatural powers. The Sheep Eaters, a band of Shoshone, called these rituals “puhawilo” which mean “sleeping at medicine-rock”. Dr. Ake Hultkrantz, adopted son of the Shoshone, told of a shaman who had a vision “of a lightning spirit that changed its shape; it was first like a body of water, then like a human being, then like an animal and finally it faded away.” This vision matches the rock art at Legend Rock. The petroglyphs are sacred to the Shoshone tribe. We ask that you treat the petroglyphs with respect and view them from the trail. It is our connection to an ancient past and an honor to be able to view them in their wild surroundings along the Cottonwood Creek area. The information for this article has been taken from “Ancient Visions” by Julie E. Francis and Lawrence L. Loendorf.

Visit Wyoming’s Favorite Hot Springs



For the history buffs, you can even stay in the original 1897 homestead cabin and hear the stories of the original pioneers that made Grass Creek their home. At this family operated ranch, its all about the food, history and enjoying life on the farm just like back in the “good old days”.

Agritourism has arrived at Grass Creek! Just what exactly is agritourism? It is where agriculture and tourism meet to provide you with a fun, educational experience. SonRise Grass Creek Ranch, located on the historic Brown homestead, have opened their doors to the public in order to teach more about what they do.

For more information and to book your own experience on a working ranch, call Doug Lindamood at 307-867-2090 or check out his website at

The ranch is an all-natural, regenerative family farm. Owners Doug and Eve Lindamood employ holistic planned grazing methods to feed their animals the freshest, rapidly growing green grass possible, that they say will simultaneously build, not deplete, the land and surrounding environment.

Full-Service Meat, Produce, Deli, Bakery & Liquor

Make your reservation ahead of time for either a night or just to dine in their cook house at set times for breakfast, lunch and dinner prepared exclusively for guests by the in-house chef. When you visit, all your meals are made from ingredients grown and raised on the ranch. Ranch cabins that sleep up to four are available or you can park your RV for the entire family.

style of Doug explains his range management

After your meal, join Doug for a tour of the working farm which is a treat to those who have never seen free range chickens and are curious about the couple’s unique style of range management. According to Doug, most people are either interested in regenerative ranching or in the rich history of the old Brown homestead.

Hunting & Fishing Licenses Available Firearm & Ammunition Sales 307-864-3112 600 S. 6th Street Thermopolis Like us on Facebook

Store Hours Mon-Sat: 7:00 AM to 9:00 PM • Sunday: 7:00 AM to 9:00 PM


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View from 5th & Broadway, looking north, 1905

Our historic downtown was once populated with saloons and shops such as the Vale Meat Market – where rustled cattle were hustled through! Outlaws and bankers rubbed elbows and many of the founding fathers had shady pasts that they were anxious to leave behind. Horse races thundered down the extra-wide main street and money exchanged hands in back-room faro games. There were several popular hotels with ladies of the night and the bank president, Eugene Amoretti, was a friend of Butch Cassidy’s. Was it just a coincidence that Amoretti’s banks were never robbed? Thermopolis was once the wild west and our history is still etched deep into the bones of the buildings left behind.

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You can visit these historic stores and witness the remnants of our past in our downtown. The original tin ceiling still remains in today’s popular watering hole, the One-Eyed Buffalo and Tom Skinner’s safe is on display at the Kirby Mercantile. If you listen, you might just hear the steady stomp of horses from the days when Thermopolis was still young and the streets paved only with the dreams of what tomorrow would bring.

WALK-INS WELCOME 215 N. 5th • 864-9355


Beth Benavidez, Owner Kelly Cole Brenda Ralston Brenda Bloom

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The Equality State is known for rugged individualism and strong Wyoming pride. This is reflected in the rich stories told through crafts and art – as unique as their creators! At the Kirby Mercantile, you will be introduced to gifts that are exceptional in quality and variety – from welded sculptures to homemade paper wreaths. This unique Made-in-Wyoming store began as a dream for a craft fair year-round where tourists and locals alike could furnish their homes with accents and furniture. Today, over 90% of the crafts and fine art are created right here in Hot Springs County. The restaurant in back of the store also features fresh baked goods and paninis that are all Wyoming-made.


Take home a piece of Wyo

WHEN YOU’RE HOT, YOU’RE HOT! Discover Thermopolis

The hot city is now a destination for those wanting to heat things up! With over 1800 hot sauces to choose from at ‘Discover Thermopolis’, you can do no wrong in picking the degree of heat you dare try. Ranging from mild green peppers to dangerously hot Scorpion peppers, this store claims to have the largest hot sauce selection in the United States. You can play it safe and select your sauce based on the Scoville scale which measures the heat of the pepper. Or be daring - just roll the dice to blindly pick your choice of fire. As Jerry Reed sings, “When you’re hot, you’re hot. When you’re not, you’re not!” Its all up to you.

game of fire? Ready for pure heat in this urself, how hot is too hot! yo for er ov isc D FROM HEALING WATERS TO THE HEALING STORE, Nature's Corner

In the early 1900’s, patients flocked to the mineral hot springs as a last resort to restore their health and many found their miracle cure in the waters. Today, not only do people seek the healing waters but they also visit Nature’s Corner – a store devoted to health. From their smoothies infused with vitamins to the large candle selection, this store completes your visit to our spa town. Natural supplements and remedies, incense, bath oils to natural snacks, Wyoming roasted coffee, and their popular wraps are all available at Thermopolis’ store devoted to healthy living.

Live it up!


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TEE TIME IN T-TOWN! This newly discovered game was sweeping the nation − America had discovered golf! Less than three decades after the first golf course was established in Yonkers, New York, the game was being played in the sagebrush of Wyoming.


The Great War was over and local businessmen wanted to learn the game after hearing the promise that it helped alleviate the stress of business and gave you energy in your business pursuits. It was no longer considered an “old man’s sport” and returning soldiers picked up the clubs. In Thermopolis, it was a group of twenty businessmen who banded together to form the first golf course.

In 1918, the Thermopolis newspaper proudly printed the words of former President Taft, “I consider golf one of the greatest things that has come to man.”

They moved swiftly. On June 22, 1922, after a month of speculation and high hopes, the local headlines heralded the good news – Thermopolis was getting a golf course and country club. The men had pooled their finances to buy a tract of 160 acres on the Yellowstone Highway at the mouth of the Wind River Canyon, four miles south of Thermopolis. Construction started at once and with the help of two Casper residents, golf enthusiast Ben Weeks and Golf Pro A. McCafferty, a nine-hole course was laid out.

THE GOLF COURSE IS OPEN 7 DAYS A WEEK Book a tee time on their website at or call 307-864-5294

The tract was located on high ground and, as reported by the newspaper, “ideally situated for a golf course, practically free from sagebrush and covered with a natural heavy growth of native grass.” A temporary building was erected and a fine clubhouse and tennis court were planned. Within a month of announcing the new golf course, it was ready for play! A picnic party was held to celebrate the grand opening and by August, the golf course was officially incorporated as the Thermopolis County Club. In September, Thermopolis became one of the first members of the State Golf Association and the future of golf was bright for the fledging town.


Over time, this first golf course fell into disuse and never realized the dreams of its founders. The original log club house can still be seen on Buffalo Secondary Road but the course itself has long gone back to nature. However, this was not the end of golf in Hot Springs County.

Scenic Nine Hole Golf Course open to visitors and tourists! No membership required.

Empire State Oil Company built a new golf course in the shadow of the red and rocky Roundtop Mountain in the early 1960’s. The 9-hole Thermopolis Golf Course features 2,966 yards of golf from the longest tees for a par of 35. The course rating is 35.0 and it has a slope rating of 111.

Open until October, weather permitting Full-Service Bar Restaurant

Reserve your tee time today at or call us at 307-864-5294

THERMOPOLIS GOLF COURSE 143 Airport Rd. • Thermopolis


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The Yellowstone H I G H WAY

the Wind River Canyon on a stage coach route. It was considered by many to be one of the most impassable roads they had ever been on - 15 miles of steep terrain and loose rock. One treacherous spot had even earned the name Devil’s Slide. Roger Bower of Worland recalls how his Great-Grandfather drove the road from Worland to Riverton. The drive was so dangerous that he abandoned his new Model-T in Shoshoni and took the stage coach home!

It was a beauty – a new 40 horsepower Inter-State Automobile. The year was 1910 and Harry Barker and a chauffeur drove the new vehicle home to Thermopolis. The trip took three days from Denver, averaging about 165 miles per day over “prairie, broken hills and mountain roads.”

As automobiles became more popular, autoists clambered for “good roads”, especially to Yellowstone National Park. Thermopolis bank clerk and active businessman, Arthur K. Lee, was appointed as the Yellowstone Highway Commissioner and in 1916, he hosted a packed meeting of high-powered officials to address the issue of their nearimpassible roads.

Neither the railroad nor the canyon road had been built so the fancy car had to be driven over Birds Eye Pass, east of

At the meeting, a radical idea was suggested by autoist Frank Holdrege, “Instead of finding a way around, go

The Wind River Canyon Scenic By-Way

directly though the great canyon south of this city.” Wyoming Governor Kendrick, who was present to support better Wyoming roads, agreed “heartily”. He said, “This progressive idea of a canyon route is an entirely feasible one and that when money for building it is available, it will become one of the best scenic routes imaginable.” His prediction came true in 1924 with the official ribbon cutting of the new section of the Yellowstone Highway. It is now designated as the Wind River Canyon Scenic By-Way and the highway, no longer dusty and dangerous, can be enjoyed by all.

The original Yellowstone Highway over Birdseye Pass, 1909



Visit Wyoming’s Favorite Hot Springs


His brother, Aubrey, had won the year before and was ready to race again. Borrowing a canoe from their good friend Johnny Wells, the two brothers lost the boat after negotiating Pink Canyon and did not finish. Their boat was recovered miles away, near Bob White’s place in the canyon. They weren’t the only ones to take an icy bath. Six men were even hospitalized from shock and exposure but all were released the same day. Good sportsmanship awards were handed out to two Cowley racers who rescued a Billings man when he was thrown from his boat. They followed him for about seven miles before successfully fishing him out of the river. Lloyd Barnes was also rescued by fellow racers after his boat broke up in Pink Canyon.

Slim Coates and Oscar Tayolor, a team sponsored by the Klamath Club in California, brave the rapids

That year, 26 boats were entered and 13 finished. They ranged from crude home-made affairs to specially-designed river boats. Skill and daring were prerequisites which explained why Johnny Wells, the top competitor in the race, had won in 1949 - riding in the converted belly gas tank of a P-38 airplane.


“ e were young and energetic and it looked like fun,” Birl Lynch said recently when recounting the race down the Wind River Canyon. “We had a canoe and even though it tipped over in the white-water lace, it was a lot of fun!”

The race lasted only a few years, from 1948 to 1952. Once the Boysen Dam was completed, the annual race ended and many of the participants, workers on the dam like Lynch, moved on to other places. Today, thrill seekers can still experience the white water by booking a ride with the Wind River Canyon White Water & Fly Fishing guides. It is much safer these days but, in the words of racer Birl Lynch, “lots of fun!”

The year was 1951 and it was the Jaycee’s Memorial Day boat race on the Wind River’s choppy white water. It was considered the world’s roughest navigable racing course and the winner was declared the “Champion White Water Boatman” of the world. “I got to do it twice,” said Lynch, “Most of the town came out and watched. We met a lot of people and just had fun! Lots of good times.”

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Visit Wyoming’s Favorite Hot Springs


O U TDOORS at Boysen State Park

“ It’s the best family time! You are making life long memories.”

Alyssa Mascorro is referring to the Boysen State Park and all the opportunities for water fun that can be had. She should know. Alyssa has spent her childhood at the lake and is now making new memories with her son, Carter and the rest of their extended family. Three generations come together nearly every week-end during the summer to relax and reconnect with nature.

Brennen shows his daughter, Dayton, the finer points of fishing

Dallon Basse and Cruze Mascorro love the thrill rides on the tubes

Fireworks over Boysen Lake

Brennen takes a turn around the lake on water skis

Carter’s favorite part? In response to that question, the twelveyear-old said, “I love just hanging out with family.” “You get everyone together,” Alyssa’s brother, Brennen Basse, said, “No video games. No cell phones. The kids just play together. We actually talk.” Jet skiing, fishing, kayaking, water skiing, tubing, camping, swimming, barbeques – there are plenty of outdoor activities to fill the day! All types of boats can be seen on the water from paddle boats to multi-level house boats.

“You’ll see a packed parking lot,” said Brennen, “but the lake is spread out enough that you can find areas on the lake where you are the only one.” “It is easy to get on the water with your boat,” Ciciley, Brennen’s wife, added, “At most, you will have one to three cars ahead of you. Nothing like the busier beaches where you have to wait in long lines.”

It’s faster to fly over them

For ten-year-old Dallon Basse it’s about the thrill rides he gets while tubing. He enthused about going over the big waves while his Aunt Alyssa spoke of going out on the still water with kayaks at sunset. “There really is something for everyone,” Alyssa said. “Even people like our Mom, who doesn’t even get in the water, have a great time.” “You meet so many people,” said Brennen, “We have made new friends who we now meet up with both at the Boysen and off the water.” To start planning your own vacation at Boysen State Park and to unplug from your electronics, you can visit Boysen State Park is one of the largest in Wyoming and features a swimming beach at Brannon Campground. Visitors can rent cabins at Upper Wind River Campground as well as pitch a tent and park an RV for a small fee at any of the available campgrounds. Boat ramps are located at Brannon, Tough Creek, Lakeside, Fremont and Cottonwood Bay Campgrounds.

Introducing Wyoming’s practical airport. The fastest way to cross the great open spaces of this wonderful state. And only a one-hour drive from Thermopolis, most of it on the Wind River Canyon Scenic Byway. With free parking, short lines and United jet service, you’ll find that flying for vacation or business has never been more efficient or reliable. Visit or check prices at

The main reservoir offers a privately leased Marina open Memorial Day to Labor Day. The Marina features a lunch/dinner menu for all, ice cream for the kids and a fully stocked bar for the adults! There really is something for everyone!


Visit Wyoming’s Favorite Hot Springs


Visit Wyoming’s Favorite Hot Springs


Visit Wyoming’s Favorite Hot Springs

FOLLOWING THE OUTLAW TRAIL Original Photo of Harry Longabaugh & Etta Place belonging to Hot Springs Historical Museum

Thermopolis Hot Springs was a known

hang out for the Wild Bunch and other outlaws. It was familiar country to Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid who found refuge in the remote rural town. They were distancing themselves from law men while in between robbing trains and banks in the latter half of the 1800's. In 1897, the Sundance Kid rode into town on a broken-down horse, knowing that he would find a fresh ride waiting for him. He had just escaped from the Deadwood Jail in South Dakota and was on his way to meet up with Flat Nose George and others of the Hole-in-the-Wall gang.

Four years later, seeking to put his criminal past even farther behind, Sundance sent his farewell photograph to a select few friends, one of which resided in Thermopolis. Harry Longabaugh a.k.a The Sundance Kid and his paramour, Etta Place, were leaving the United States for South America to get a new start, far away from the Pinkerton Detectives who dogged their every step. They had taken the photo in an upscale studio in New York City and Longabaugh had most likely bought the Portrait Card Package. He would have then mailed the photos to his closest friends and family.

Over one hundred years later, this rare original photo of the outlaw couple remained hidden in an album belonging to Thermopolis old timer Minnie V. Brown. After her death in 1940, her estate donated several of her albums to the Hot Springs County Pioneer Association who later turned it over to the museum with the rest of their collection. In 2013, while searching the museum’s internet database, historian and True West contributor Mark Mszanski came across a digital copy of the photo. He examined it closely and noticed something peculiar. The card stock frame was the same as the original 1901 DeYoung photograph kept at the Library of Congress.

Photo by Taylor Brandon on Unsplash


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BUTCH CASSIDY: The Wyoming Years

On the back of the photo, Minnie Brown, the widow of Mike Brown who himself was a suspected friend of the Hole-in-the-Wall gang, had written a note about Sundance. “This gentleman is one of our real gentlemen who knew how to get the money and not cripple or kill… Taken in New York, before he sailed to never return.” This rare photo of Wyoming’s outlaw history is now kept in a vault, brought out for special occasions. Visitors can learn more of the story of Mike and Minnie Brown and the outlaws who helped make Hot Springs County what it is today by touring the expansive collection at the Hot Springs Historical Museum. How exactly this photo ended up with Minnie Brown has yet to be solved and is only one of countless mysteries that historians seek to resolve at this county museum.

Minnie Brown poses with a friend and holds up a coin, another mystery!

“Thermopolis is the epicenter of Western history,” Mszanski said when describing the museum and the many treasures that are in their collection. Come see for yourself! With 16,000 square feet and a collection that continues to grow, visitors will discover something new with every visit. Prepare for a journey into the Wild West and beyond!

The Pinkertons intercepted one of the photos Longabaugh had sent out and created this wanted poster using a copy from the original portrait

The Hot Springs County Museum located at 700 Broadway Street in Thermopolis is considered to be one of the most spectacular you will visit in Wyoming. Their website is and you can tour their on-line database from anywhere in the world to get a glimpse of the treasure trove that awaits you in Thermopolis!

Author Bill Betenson grew up hearing family stories about his famous uncle, the outlaw Butch Cassidy. Betenson spent decades asking questions about Butch’s life and exploits. For this book, the author focuses his attention on the time Butch Cassidy spent in Wyoming. Available from your local bookseller, Amazon, or High Plains Press. PO Box 123, Glendo, WY 82213 1-800-552-7819 to order or request a free catalog 978-1-937147-22-8 Paperback • 192 pp • $19.95 978-1-937147-21-1 Limited edition hardcover • $35 Include $4 for shipping and 6% for WY tax


Visit Wyoming’s Favorite Hot Springs


During Prohibition, moonshining was

and Italy - came from regions with strong drinking cultures. They largely opposed the temperance movement while the owners of the coal mines and railroad lines alike supported laws that banned drinking establishments within a mile of their enterprises.

a family affair and common in the coal camps. Mileva Maravic, a Gebo resident, recalled making wine and brandy as a young teenager. “I loved September. September meant a new year at school. It also meant we would have all the fresh grapes to eat when they came from California.” The month before, one of the miners would go around camp, taking orders for red and white grapes - by the ton. It would take several boxcars to ship in the fresh grapes to the train station in Kirby. From there, they were loaded and brought to Gebo by truck. Of course, the Revenue Officers who investigated any signs of wrongdoing were told that it was for the kids who were getting jelly!

Gebo Blacksmiths Eli Talovich and Ray Dickie – Eli, Mileva’s stepfather, made homemade brandy during prohibition.

It was the era of speakeasies and blind pigs. The Noble Experiment made it illegal to make wine, beer or any type of spirits. However, in the coal mining towns of Gebo, Kirby, and Crosby, immigrants - from Poland, Greece, Germany, Serbia

The operation of these stills had their risks. By 1922, the local law had started enforcing the laws against alcohol. The papers of the time reported on the arrests – such as John Merio who was taken into custody at Crosby for owning and operating a still. He was charged with “making a prune-juice tonic with a right smart kick to it.” Amateurs made drinks from cornmeal, raisins, prunes, dried peaches and molasses. For more of a kick, hair tonics, footwashes and shaving lotions were used by

Hot Springs County Law enforcement officials pose with a truckload of confiscated stills, 1920’s


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bootleggers. Men also drank shellac. This was done by a process of pouring cold water on shellac making the resin coagulate and settle to the bottom leaving a very poor grade of alcohol. This stuff “kicked" many men into hospitals and some into their graves. By 1926, public sentiment in Wyoming had turned against the movement and by 1933, Prohibition was repealed by an overwhelming majority of voters. The tradition of the coal miners continues today with Wyoming Whiskey. The modern distillery is located in Kirby and uses local grains and water from the Big Horn Basin. Visit their gift shop and draw up a seat in the tasting room – enjoy whiskey that is made by the experts and seeped in the long traditions of our Wyoming coal miners.

Wyoming Whiskey’s legal still

The Whiskey Distillery in Kirby

Visit their website at Call to set up your tasting today at 307-864-2116


A hometown café with new owners, Jen & Pat Arends, who are active in the local community! All your family favorites! From build-your-own omelets to hamburgers with fresh cut fries.

Located Downtown Thermopolis

111 N. 5th Street

Five Star Ratings on Trip Advisor!


6:30am to 2pm Tuesday – Sunday (Closed Mondays)


Friendly and prompt hospitality! Caring atmosphere where locals and travelers mix.

In a hurry?

Call ahead for take-out:


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“ You can ask crazy questions and dig up actual bones,” Doug of Iowa said with a laugh, “This is what keeps us coming back year after year.” It’s an annual reunion for three generations of the Kaupa family who have come to the Dinosaur Center for five years now with no plans of stopping. For three days, they dig up dinosaur bones in the Morrison Formation, look for fossils in the Sundance Sea Formation and tour the museum and working lab.

Last year, they found an Allosaurus tooth which is now on display in the museum. This year, on their first day of the dig, they already found another tooth. Everything that is found on these digs contributes more fossils for the nonprofit museum and the finder is given credit for the discovery. If it is a big enough find, such as a new dinosaur,

you have the chance to have a fossil named after you. To b o o k y ou r ow n d i g , f u n f or a l l a g e s , c h e c k out t h e w e b s it e at or give them a call at 307-864-2997. Isn’t it about time to get your hands dirty and touch ancient history for yourself?

“We researched other places,” said Butch, the great-uncle of the family who comes from Washington state, “And there was no comparison. One business was just going to drop us off alone 40 miles from town and come back in the evening. We were concerned for our safety – what would happen if one of us slipped and fell?” “Everything is here,” added Carl, Butch’s brother and Doug’s dad. “We have great guides and we are even served lunch!” It was Carl’s desire to dig up dinosaur bones that first brought the family to Wyoming. When they researched dinosaur digs, they found that not only could they dig up actual dinosaur bones but were helping the paleontologists preserve the past.


Visit Wyoming’s Favorite Hot Springs


Visit Wyoming’s Favorite Hot Springs

DORA MCGRATH : A Lady of the West and Mother of Thermopolis

It was 1899, the year of the Wilcox train robbery and nine years since Wyoming had become a state. Dora Thomas Barker had been living in Wyoming since she was 17 – a young mother following her husband to new territory twenty years before. As she made her way to this wild frontier, she would never have guessed that one day she would be the first woman senator of the state. On this fateful night in late October 1899, a single shot rang out and Dora Thomas Barker was now a widow with four children. Her husband, a former deputy sheriff and foreman in the Glenrock mines, had been murdered. The only suspect, a well-respected blacksmith, was cleared of the crime and to this day, James Barker’s murder remains unsolved. The young widow moved to Thermopolis, the home of her sister and her family. It was a county she knew well from previous visits and had often advocated for, especially with the healing mineral hot springs. She had once been quoted in the Big Horn River Pilot newspaper for her “brilliant” idea of

handise Store at 5th Higgins & McGrath General Merc McGrath with family St. & Broadway, early 1900’s. Dora r is third from right Barke Ralph Son, s. & store employee s at her side. and husband, Martin McGrath stand

planting trees and creating lots for campers at the Hot Springs Reserve. Now once more among family and friends, Dora opened a boarding house to support her children and became an active member of society.

One year after losing her husband, tragedy once more struck. During the Christmas season in 1900, her sister Minnie and oldest daughter Nina both died from typhoid. Grief-stricken, Dora took in her two young nephews. Two years later, she married her brother-in-law, Martin McGrath, and began a new career as a buyer for the ladies’ furnishing department of the McGrath & Higgins Store. Both her sons worked as clerks and the family business flourished. Her husband was influential in the founding of Thermopolis and in 1897, had been the president-director for the new townsite. Not only was Martin a successful business man but in 1901 was elected mayor and later led the town council. Like many businessmen of that day, he was wellacquainted with the local outlaw element and at the family store, checks were cashed to the likes of infamous outlaws such as Tom “Peeps” O’Day. Despite the remoteness of the new town, life in Thermopolis for Dora and her family were full of social events, parties, weekly club meetings, basketball games and travel for both business and pleasure. In 1910, Martin bought the family a new 40 horse powered Inter-State automobile and the McGrath car quickly became a favorite sight in Thermopolis. Even though, at first, they had a chauffeur, Dora was soon behind the wheel taking trips with the local ‘autoists’ to Billings, Yellowstone and Denver. It was noted on a joy ride to Billings that “they found plenty of road but not all of it in the best condition for a speedway.” In May of 1916, Martin sold his merchandise and store to the Woods Brothers and began to develop his oil interests in earnest. Dora and her family


wintered in Los Angeles that same year but their hearts remained in Thermopolis and they split their time between the two states. When World War I broke out, Dora, living in California, focused her time on the war effort. She visited the Wyoming “boys” in the army training camps, sending reports back to the anxious mothers which were then published in the local paper. When her son was gassed in combat, Dora mobilized her efforts. Now in her fifties, she was on her way to France to establish a convalescent home for veteran soldiers. Visit Wyoming’s Favorite Hot Springs

However, fate was to intervene. She had been feeling ill for some time, so just before she left for Europe, Dora visited the doctor. She was surprised to learn that she was to be a mother again and ended up naming her newborn daughter, Frances Lorraine, in honor of France. Dora was not to be daunted in her work and continued her war efforts. In September 1917, she organized the Mother’s League in Thermopolis, the only one of its kind in the world. Throughout the war, her various committees were devoted to supporting their boys and comforting the bereaved mothers who had lost sons. Dora continued her work after the end of the war, forming the American War Mothers in 1924. Even during peacetime, Dora remained a lifelong advocate of Hot Springs county servicemen and women. Fueled by her passion to build a veteran hospital in Thermopolis near the healing mineral hot springs, Dora ran for the legislature. In 1930, she became Wyoming’s first woman senator and held the position for four years. Her veteran’s bill, however, did not pass until she finally removed the requirement of the hospital being built in Thermopolis. With that stipulation gone, the bill passed and the veteran hospital was ultimately built in Cheyenne in 1934.

In April 1929, Dora had organized the Hot Springs County Pioneer Association and remained as its president until her death in 1949 at the age of 80. During her tenure as President, Dora led the movement to build a historic museum and preserve important landmarks such as the Woodruff Cabin. In 1940, her dream was achieved and most of the artifacts the early pioneers donated remain on exhibit today including the Yellowstone Carriage. Dora McGrath may have slipped into the shadows and is not known to many today, but her legacy lives on in Thermopolis and Wyoming. The Veteran’s Hospital she fought for still serves our soldiers in Cheyenne and the museum she helped bring to reality has grown, now residing in a new location on Broadway. Dora McGrath was truly a lady of the west and mother to Thermopolis!

Dora served two terms as a Wyoming Senator and continued her work with the soldiers. She also turned her attention to preserving the history of Hot Springs County.

Senator Dora McGrath, first Wyoming Woman Senator

Dora McGrath poses with her fellow delegates at the dedication of the “oldest cabin in the Big Horn Basin”, the Woodruff Cabin.


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Dusty Lewis believes that any vacation should include an experience with great lodging so he set out to do just that by opening the Hide Out, his unique cabin on the Big Horn River. Visitors could soak in the hot tub, enjoying the view of the river from the large deck he built. However, he soon realized his guests wanted more opportunities for adventure.

About half the rentals go to first timers and those wanting to have a new experience they can only get on the Big Horn River. According to Dusty, who spends as much time as possible on the water, there’s not a lot of rivers in Wyoming like this. The Big Horn is scenic, clean and the water is warm. He has had visitors show up asking when the ride would begin and has to explain that this is not a ride but a self-guided adventure. You paddle at your own risk but Dusty ensures that everyone has a safe tour by giving these newcomers important advice.

“We sold our camper and gave up our summer,” Dusty, a father of two young boys, explained, “to buy the inventory to jumpstart our new business.” An old garage was soon renovated as the brand-new Thermopolis Surf Shop – ‘Rent Adventure’.

Paddle in the middle of the river, away from the shore. Stay away from trees and, most important, be watching ahead. You can outmaneuver anything if you just look ahead. Most of the mishaps are avoided this way and, yes, there have been some misadventures.

Visitors can now rent drift boats for fishing and tubes for floating, but the most popular rentals are the kayaks and paddle boats. The perfect adventure for beginners.


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“We are also part-time Baywatch,” he concedes with a laugh. “We’ve seen it all and have had several jet boat rescues.” People can get caught in eddies, separated from their party at small islands and caught in trees. Dusty does offer instruction from how to fly cast to drift boat operation for beginners. To ensure that everyone can enjoy the Big Horn River, he also guides for those who need extra help or just want someone to go with if they are on their own. He says that is especially a good idea for those who are on their first fishing trip. He can paddle while they fish and enjoy the view. They can also offer drop-off and pick ups for those needing a ride to and from the river. Whether you are on your way to Yellowstone or Hot Springs County is your destination, Rent Adventure is sure to add just that – adventure – to your vacation here in Thermopolis!

Dusty Lewis on the deck of his vacation home, the Hide Out, overlooking the Big Horn River

Kayaks Paddleboards Tubes Trips and More.

Tate Roberts and Tim Lippincott enjoy the Big Horn River

You can book a room at and secure your rentals online at



845 Shoshoni St. 307-921-0366

7 Days A Week • 9am to 6pm

www. rentadventu renow. c o m 29

Visit Wyoming’s Favorite Hot Springs

So Much More than a Hardware Store

• Fishing & Hunting Licenses • • Camping & Picnic Supplies • • RV Supplies • • Gifts, Toys, Swim Toys • • Sporting Goods •

Eddy Cole demonstrates the special properties of a "glowing" rock



t’s a different kind of life,” Eddy Cole said, gesturing to the rocks surrounding him. “It’s not a nine-to-five job. Its seven days a week, 18 hours a day. You never stop learning, there are always new discoveries. And then you have to keep refreshing so that you don’t get stale.” Eddy is world renowned for his knowledge about geology and the major discoveries he has made with his wife, Ava. When the couple are not in the Rock Shop, they are out in the Wyoming landscape, looking for the next big find. It was dinosaur bones that first brought Eddy and his family to Thermopolis and the unique rocks that keep them there today. “There are eight different types of mica in the world,” Eddy said, “And five of them are in Hot Springs County.” He points over to a colorful display, another example of unique rocks, “Wyoming has the only Leopolite that can be polished.” “They are all cool rocks that we like and they like us,” Ava explained. But both Eddy and Ava agree, it is the Wyoming Jade that most rock hunters are looking for.

“It’s always been a stone of good fortune,” Ava said, “Our Wyoming jade is a nephrite. It can be black to green apple.” If you are wanting to hunt for jade – or any other rock found in Wyoming - the Rock Shop should be your first stop. The Cole’s sell a pamphlet to help you with the search and they are more than willing to share their knowledge. Eddy explains tricks to potential rock hounds for recognizing jade from the jade wanna-be’s and where to go to find Wyoming’s state gem.

Water Fun

Sporting Goods

Home Decor

He is also ready to help anyone identify the rocks they have found and has an average of two to three people stop by every day. The only rule? Just bring in one or two rocks at a time, no truckloads of rocks please. According to Eddy, every rock has a story and the Cole’s are here to help you discover the joys of rockhounding for yourself. Bring your own rocks to try to “stump the geologist” at Ava’s Silver & Rock Shop in Thermopolis. YOU CAN’T FIND THIS COUPLE ON-LINE Only at their shop six days a week from 10am to 5:30pm.


Automotive PHOTO KIOSK

Digital photo printing • Fast & Easy

Parking for All Size Vehicles

158 Hwy 20 S. Thermopolis, WY 307-864-3672

8am-6pm Mon.-Sat. Noon-4pm Sun.

Visit Wyoming’s Favorite Hot Springs

VA C A T I ON R E N TA L S If you are looking for a unique lodging experience, book your stay in Thermopolis through Vrbo, Airbnb or even directly. From “Luxurious Lodging in the Wind River Canyon” to cozy homes in town, its all about what adventure you are looking for. In Hot Springs County, you will find your options range from cabins on the Big Horn River, clean homes within walking distance to the hot springs and even glamping options with Superhosts who will put you up in your very own tipi! To qualify for hosting on AirBnB and Vrbo, the homes must be clean and follow a set of standards developed in partnership with experts so you know you will have a safe lodging environment to enjoy!

Book your lodging adventure today! “We host a vacation rental because we use them ourselves and it’s such a great service for traveling with families and groups of friends. We want our visitors to have a beautiful, peaceful experience in our home which is why we call it our Shalom Home. We have had several visitors comment on their relaxing time so we know we are achieving our goal. Our property is unique because of all of our personal touches we have. We want our visitors to have everything they could possibly need or want while staying in our home. We try to go over and above in service.” Audra of “The Shalom Home”


Visit Wyoming’s Favorite Hot Springs




Black Bear Café


The Crow Bar (Located at Nature’s Corner)


One-Eyed Buffalo Brewing Company


P6 Station Safari Club



Whether dining in or looking for good

Kirby Creek Mercantile


take-out – Thermopolis area restaurants

Los Cabos


offer you many choices! All our restaurants

Dairyland & Hot City Coffee


follow Wyoming safety protocols such

Bangkok Thai


as placing tables at optimal distances to

Pizza Hut


protect our customers for indoor dining.

Elle’s Restaurant & Bar


Taco John’s


Champs Chicken


Many even offer outdoor dining when the weather permits. All our restaurants offer take-out options. Be sure to visit our

McDonald’s 307-864-2323

website for updated information on current regulations at our Covid-19 Resource tab and for the most current restaurant list.

Book a GUIDE!

Lazy Fox Artisan Goods


Thermopolis Golf Course


WY Smoke Burritos


Thermopolis showcases the best of Wyoming adventures! We have world-class white-water rafting, fly-fishing and self-guided tours. Check our website for the latest list of guides and updates.

Wind River Canyon Whitewater & Fly-Fishing 307-864-9343

Thermopolis Fly Shop


Wyoming Adventures Rent Adventures


Big Horn Guide Service


Mike Vaughan River Guide


Keith’s Float Trips

Fisherman’s Friend Shuttle Service



530-521-9901 904-477-1255

Visit Wyoming’s Favorite Hot Springs


Mineral Hot Springs at the Fountain of Youth RV Park


L O DG I N G Days Inn


Quality Inn


Best Western Plus Plaza Hotel


Elk Antler Inn


Roundtop Mountain Motel 307-369-0900 Paintbrush Inn


Your Home Away From Home!


• Local owners on premises

Fountain of Youth Inn


• Cozy, clean rooms with a family touch

El Rancho Motel


Rainbow Motel


Two Rivers Inn


CA MPGRO UNDS Fountain of Youth RV Park 307-864-3265 Wyoming Gardens RV Park & Cabins Eagle RV Park

307-864-2778 307-864-5262

• Well-Lit Parking for Cars, Semis & RV’s • Dog-friendly • Kitchenettes available • Microwaves and refrigerators • Within walking distance of local stores and attractions 307-864-3155 • 605 S. 6th St. • Thermopolis

To get a taste of America’s next great bourbon whiskey, all you have to do is hop on the bourbon trail in Kentucky and head 1,500 miles due west to Kirby, Wyoming. It’s the same route Bourbon Hall of Famer Steve Nally took when he decided to alter the course of the American Whiskey Conversation and make a traditional bourbon in an untraditional place. Bourbon didn’t start here, but we are going to have our say.