Hot springs in the Northwest seem to be like some people. They can be primitive and rough around the edges or smooth, sophisticated and elegant. But unlike people you may have met, you probably haven’t experienced a hot spring that you didn’t like.
Here are three to check out in Montana.
Chico Hot Springs Resort
Chico fits on the upper end of a scale between primitive and elegant. It has the elegant but rustic feel of a western ranch. There are two pools. Both are open-air where visitors can soak and take in the mountains. The smaller soaking pool is about 104 degrees and the larger, swimmable pool is 96 degrees.
Years ago the owners realized that a hot spring 30 miles north of Yellowstone Park required more than a hot water soak to entice travelers to stop. So they hired well-known chefs that created delightful cuisine along with classic ranch style fare. In fact, the food is so outstanding a hard-bound recipe book collected from the Chico Hot Spring Resort kitchen, “A Montana Table” written by Seabring Davis, is available for sale. There are a variety of accommodations: rooms in the lodge, log cabins and newer rooms in a separate two story lodge. If you are on your way to Yellowstone Park, this resort is appealing for at least a stop and a break. It was listed in 1999 on the National Register of Historic Places. The public is invited to wander the grounds. Make a point to check out the historic saloon as well as, of course, the hot spring pools. You will certainly be tempted to stay for a while – it is that nice.
Where: 163 Chico Road, Pray, Montana
Contact: (406) 333-4933 or www.chicohotsprings.com
Quinn’s Hot Springs
Quinn’s Hot Springs is a quiet family resort located in a grove of ponderosa pines on the banks of the Clark Fork River. And, it’s the closest developed hot spring, at about 140 miles from Spokane.
The resort has a Western Montana rugged but comfortable ambiance, with a log cabin style restaurant and bar, log cabins for rent and a newer two story Glacier lodge for overnight accommodations. There is also an assortment of choices to stay along the Clark Fork River: Golden Eagle Suites, Canyon View Cabin, River View Cabins and River View Luxury Cabins.
There are six pools with temperatures that range from 60 to 106 degrees. The two larger swimming pool temperatures are maintained around 80 to 95 degrees. The water is chemical free. Quinn’s is open all year and reservations are recommended.
Where: 190 Quinn’s Canyon Road, Route 135, Paradise, Montana
Contact: (406) 826-3150 or www.quinnshotsprings.com
Symes Hot Springs
You really haven’t experienced a hot spring resort like this anywhere else. The minerals in the water, the historic building and the facilities make the Symes Hot Springs Hotel and the town of Hot Springs a weekend you will go back home and talk about.
Just soak for a few moments and you can feel it. Your skin turns as smooth as a baby’s behind. Your “skin condition” will last overnight. There are two public pools at different temperatures with a small water fall between them. If you want to soak in the history while soaking in the mineral water, ask to use the original, indoor, clawfooted tubs in private stalls. Close your eyes and pretend that you just came off the range after cow poking all day, rode into town and now you can relax. Some things never change, even if you actually did ride into town in your trusty SUV.
Where: 209 Wall St., Hot Springs, Montana
Contact: (888) 305-3106 or www.symeshotsprings.com