While everyone dreams about taking a quick trip to someplace warm, like the California beaches, there are much closer, warm places to visit. Thanks to all the geological activity in the West, Laramie is surrounded by several hot springs, which provide a quicker (and more affordable) way to enjoy some warmth in the cold weather.

While a California beach is beautiful, nothing is more beautiful than being toasty warm in a hot spring while watching the snow fall slowly on the mountains.

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  • Hot Springs State Park

    Since the time of the Shoshone and Arapaho, the hot springs at Hot Springs State Park in Thermopolis have been a popular destination.

    The water, which runs off the mountains at a temperature of 135 degrees Fahrenheit, has been used for generations as a healing tool. The Shoshone and Arapaho, who believed that the water would make them invincible in battle, have a long history in the area, including Shoshone Chief Washakie who had a bathhouse at the hot springs.

    In 1896, Chief Sharp Nose of the Arapaho tribe sold the hot springs to the US. In 1897, the US released a small tract of land to Wyoming, which became the state’s first state park (although it originally started as the Big Horn Hot Springs State Reserve).

    If hot springs are not quite your favorite pastime, Hot Springs State Park also has hiking trails and great views of the terraces, which are multi-colored from the mineral-rich water running over them. There are also opportunities for boating, fishing, picnicking, and animal watching with over 20 varieties of animals in the park.

  • Saratoga Hot Springs

    There are two hot springs options in Saratoga: The Saratoga Resort and Spa and the free public pool.

    The Saratoga Resort and Spa offers a large main pool with several other smaller, private pools. While kept in pristine condition, the hot springs are not available to the public. Only guests are allowed to use the hot springs.

    There are also free, public pools commonly referred to as the “hobo” pool. The hobo pool is one mid-sized pool that has bathrooms and showers available. In addition to the main pool, in the summer, some of the water from the main pool is channeled into the river where participants can sit and enjoy the mixing of the cool river water and the hot springs water.

    Both hot springs have an incredibly high mineral content and a low sulfur odor that makes them more appealing than other hot springs to those who do not like the smell of hot springs.

    Like Hot Springs State Park, Native Americans used to used call the hot springs “place of the magic waters.”

  • Glenwood Hot Springs

    Established in 1888, the Spa of the Rockies has been a major tourist destination in Glenwood Springs, Colorado.

    It was used by the Ute Indians previous to the establishment, and it was originally called “Yampa,” which translates to “big medicine.” The spring is feed from the Yampa springs, which produces water at 122 degrees Fahrenheit.

     

  • Strawberry Hot Springs

    After a long day of alpine skiing, cross-country skiing, hiking, or biking, nothing feels better than to head to Strawberry Hot Springs in Steamboat Springs, Colorado.

    Located up in the mountains (four-wheel drive is recommended in the winter), Strawberry Hot Springs is in the Routt National Forest, so the natural ambience is preserved.

    Strawberry Hot Springs has multiple pools on multiple levels creating a cascade-like feeling.