Five Natural Hot Springs Near Bozeman, Montana!
There is nothing more brutal than the cold Montana winter. But Montanans aren’t worried. There have been worse winters. In fact, Montana’s winters have been getting less and less extreme, but that doesn’t mean it’s not cold to our beloved out-of-staters! So when visiting Montana this winter, to help stay warm why not check out one of the sixty hot springs you can find in the Big Sky Country?
Hot springs are typically heated in one of two ways. The first is by coming in contact with molten rock found in volcanic regions. Water that comes into contact with magma can reach temperatures high enough to boil it, or cause it to become superheated and produce geysers. However, a majority of hot springs around the world are heated by geothermal energy. Geothermal energy comes from the formation of the planet as well as radioactive decay. Radioactive decay is the process of an unstable nucleus of an unstable element losing some of its particles until it becomes a more stable element. The mantle of the Earth has many unstable elements, including potassium-40, uranium-238 and -235, and thorium-232, and somewhere between 45 to 90 percent of the heat escaping the Earth comes from there. Bozeman is in the Southwest region of Montana and has some of the best hot springs in the state. Check out these top five hot springs near Bozeman and one that’s on the way!
1. Bozeman Hot Springs
The hot springs that are closest to the city of Bozeman, is its very own hot springs! Bozeman Hot Springs has been a local favorite for over a hundred years. Founded by Jeremiah Mathews is 1879, a full ten years before Montana was even a state, the Bozeman Hot Springs have been a popular attraction for locals and visitors alike! In 1890, the second owner turned the pools into a resort as well. Today, these naturally fed hot springs are home to the beautiful Bozeman Hot Springs Campground, a fitness center and of course the hot springs themselves! The Bozeman Hot Springs are home to 12 different pools ranging from 59°-106°, both indoor and outdoor. They are also home to wet and dry saunas, as well as an outdoor stage where they host local bands.
Bozeman Hot Springs is located on Gallatin Road in Bozeman, Montana. The facility is about 15-20 minutes from Bozeman, which is less than 10 miles. Simply follow Huffine Lane to Four Corners, turn left onto Gallatin Road towards Big Sky, and it will be on your right.
2. Norris Hot Springs
Sometimes things worth the wait, and Norris Hot Springs are definitely worth the extra thirty minutes to get there. Norris Hot Springs is home to the “Water of the Gods”, a series of artesian springs that average 120°. In the early 1860s, a group of miners working in the area found the springs and decided to turn them into their own personal hot spring. They cut down some trees and used the fir planks to cover the bubbling spring water. They then stacked the planks up along the side to create a pool that was four feet deep. The pool slopes gently and at the end, you can still see the large ball valve that acts as the drain even today. The pool was about 30’ x 40’ and could hold 38,000 gallons of water. The springs passed through ownership, acting as a bathhouse for families without water at first. However, the key that let people past the new fence was lost over time. During the 1960s people would still visit the hot springs, after, all they were only a fence hop away. In 1972, Doris and Mike Zankowski of New Jersey purchased the hot springs and the twenty-one acres surrounding the area. They opened the hot springs at $5 a person, and to bring in the crowds they hosted a weekly Nudie Night. Today Nudie Night is sadly no more, but they do have a stage for live music, a snack bar where you can eat pizza and soak, and a breathtaking view of the Bear Trap Canyon.
Norris Hot Springs is located on MT-84 in Norris, Montana. The springs are about 40-45 minutes from Bozeman, about 35.5 miles. Simply follow Huffine Lane to Four Corners, continue going straight until the road turns into MT-84 towards Norris and it will be on your left.
3. Chico Hot Springs
If you’re looking to soak in style then Chico Hot Springs is the perfect place for you! Chico Hot Springs was founded in 1900 by Bill and Percie Knowles. Chico Hotel started as a place for miners working in Emigrant Gulch to get away from the stressful day-to-day grind. The grand opening was a big affair with a brass band, a ball and lots of food. The food, warm beds, and warmer hot springs became popular overnight and soon the rooms available doubled. Soon the Chico Hotel grew to a two-story building and offered a full-service dining hall, a forty-foot hot spring, a dance hall built by Bill, lawn activities, and a carriage ride to shuttle you from the train station to the hotel. When Bill passed away Percie took full ownership of Chico. She hired Doctor George A. Townsend to attest to the healing properties of the spring. Together they built a twenty-room hospital wing in 1914. By now the hotel could host upwards of 60 people. The hospital was popular while it lasted, one of the first brain surgeries of the region happened there, but Dr. Townsend retired in 1925. Percie retired shortly after and her son, Radbourne, sold the property in 1948.
Chico Hot Springs. Photo Courtesy of Chico Hot Springs
Chico passed through many hands over the years and became many things. From a church camp to a ranch house to more before falling into disrepair. In 1973 the Art family rescued the decrepit resort and began to turn it into the beautiful resort we know and love today. After forty years of success, the Art family sold Chico to the current owners, the Davis family. Today Chico Hot Springs boasts a wide range of amenities. From countless sleeping arrangement options to a poolside grill, to outdoor activities like horseback riding, Chico has a lot to offer. The best part? The warm Montana welcome you get paired expertly with a breathtaking view of the Crazy, Absaroka, and Gallatin Mountain Ranges and the claim that when you visit Chico, you’re only a stranger once.
Chico Hot Springs is located in Paradise Valley, south of Livingston, Montana. The springs are about 50 minutes to an hour from Bozeman, just under 50 miles. Simply hop onto I-90 East and follow the interstate to Livingston. Take Exit 333 to Livingston, Mt and US-89 S towards Pray, Montana. Turn left onto Mill Creek Road and then right onto US Highway 540 and the springs will be just ahead!
Chico Hot Springs. Photo Courtesy of Chico Hot Springs
4. Yellowstone Hot Springs
Back in 1889 Julius LaDuke, a French-Canadian immigrant opened the LaDuke Hot Springs. They were a series of pools along the Yellowstone River that were fed by natural underground hot springs. In 1900, Dr. Frank Corwin had the Corwin Springs Hotel constructed at the site. The main attraction was the 30’ x 50’ pool that was filled using the LaDuke Hot Springs. However, the Hotel burned down in 1916 and only the pools and fireplace remain.
As of August 15 of 2019, people are able to enjoy the wonderful healing waters of the LaDuke Hot Springs. The Yellowstone Hot Springs, located in Corwin Springs, Montana is an awesome facility. The Yellowstone Hot Springs is owned by the Royal Teton Ranch and will be located just six miles North of Gardiner. The Yellowstone Hot Springs features a 3,750 sq ft pool that has an average temperature of 102°, a hot plunge that will average 104° and a cold plunge that will average 70°. The Yellowstone Hot Springs also has a special wading pool called a Kneipp Walk, which alternates hot and cold water to help stimulate better blood circulation. The water is pumped a mile and a half from the LaDuke Hot Springs. The Yellowstone Hot Springs also includes more amenities including refreshment stands, lodging, and live entertainment.
The Yellowstone Hot Springs is roughly one hour away from Bozeman, which is nearly 70 miles. It is located along US-89, across the Yellowstone River from the Lighthouse Restaurant.
5. Broadwater Hot Springs
In 1889, Colonel Charles Broadwater built the world famous Broadwater Hotel and Natatorium. The pool in this historical hotel measured in at 30,000 square feet, and was actually known as the world's largest indoor pool! As the perfect spot to reside in between Yellowstone National Park, and Glacier National Park, the Broadwater Hotel and Natatorium was the ideal luxury resort that was beloved by many. Unfortunately in 1935, an earthquake severely damaged this iconic natatorium, and in was soon condemned thereafter. In after years of misfortune, the Broadwater Hotel closed down in 1941.
Luckily, on October 17,1979, this space officially reopened its doors as the Broadwater Athletic Club and Hot Springs. However, with the rich history and natural mineral water resources of this area, this facility was sold and rebranded as the Broadwater Hot Springs & Fitness, as we know it today! Under new ownership this space was expanded and six new free form pools have been added including cold plunges and thermal soaking tubs with water temperatures at 105 degrees. The Broadwater Hot Springs & Fitness is also known for a variety of amenities including the Springs Taproom & Grill serving burgers and beer poolside, or even a glass of wine for those individuals looking to unwind! Looking for a space to host an event? This unique facility even built an event room and tent for an array of special occasions.
So slip into some soothing waters, feel your stress wash away, and appreciate the breathtaking Montana beauty around you! Wherever you choose to soak you are guaranteed a warm Montana experience. Whether you go near or far, big or small there is a hot spring that is perfect for you!
By: Alexa Jorgenson, Issa Rabideaux