When visiting Montana, it can be easy to jam-pack your trip with non-stop adventure. Hiking through Glacier! Drinking your way along the Beer Trail! Staying up all night stargazing! It's all worth doing, but it's also important to take a moment to relax... and Montana has tons of thermal hot springs that are great for taking a moment to unwind. Slip into the naturally-heated, mineral-rich waters of some of Montana's best springs and soak up the calming vibes and amazing views! Here are some of our favorite hot springs in the state.
Unlike the other hot springs on this list, there isn't a resort built around the Boiling River—it's completely natural. It's located in the small portion of Yellowstone National Park that's in Montana, and it gets its name from a hot spring that enters the Gardiner River. The hot and cool water mix to create a perfect temperature for bathing. There are several pools made of stone for relaxing, but if you venture out into the river (carefully, carefully!) you can feel how varied the water temperatures can be as the river flows along!
A visit to Norris Hot Springs will feel like a trip to a world-class spa, but it won't cost nearly as much! A nice, long soak here will only set you back a measly $7, a small price to pay for the relaxation you'll receive. They go to great lengths to make sure that the system that fills their pool is sanitary and eco-friendly. The water is drained each night, the pools are washed once a week, and the water is recycled back into nature so that it can run its natural course. You'll also find an onsite restaurant, campsite, and they often feature live music as well. So, there's pretty much nothing you need to worry about while you unwind!
Ever since the Flathead Blackfeet and Crow tribes have been in Montana, these springs have not only been a place of relaxation, but also a place of peace: despite any disputes between the tribes, the valley where Spa Hot Springs is located has been neutral ground, so that all could make use of the spring and its healing waters. The property was once owned by John Ringling (of the Ringling Brothers Circus!) who wanted to turn it into a resort, until the Great Depression hit. His vision for the springs has more or less worked out, though: in addition to the two outdoor pools and the indoor pool, there's a lodge where you can continue the relaxation, even after your soak is over!
An 1890 article in the Bozeman Avant-Courier declared the water of this local hot spring to be a cure-all for afflictions like "rheumatic affections, skin diseases, dyspepsia, impurity of the blood, [and] chronic constipation … ” Now, I don't know about all of that, but I can say that the warm, mineral-rich waters at the spring make for an incredibly enjoyable dip. There are 9 pools filled with natural spring water for soaking, plus a fitness center, which is perfect for working up a sweat and soothing your muscles after a nice workout or skiing trip!
The water at these outdoor pools can reach up to a steamy 103 degrees, which means you won't find a better spring to swim in during the winter. And if swimming in their spring-fed pools isn't cutting it in the relaxation department, then you can try a Yellowstone Rock Massage from the spa, take a stroll through their lush garden, or drift off to sleep in one of their cabins. It even has a caboose that's been converted into a luxury room!
Banner Photo Credit: Via Shutterstock