We absolutely love the feeling of taking a long weekend to escape to a beautiful resort for some much-needed R&R&R (Rest, Recuperation and Romance). Thankfully these days, there are an infinite amount of luxury lodging that offers a bit of everything. But if you really want to relax surrounded by some stunningly breathtaking nature, exploring a few hot springs resorts in Montana is the way to go.
Guest contributor Joeann Fossland from Joeanns View recently visited two Montana hot springs. She’s here to tell us all about her amazing experience soaking in their therapeutic waters while enjoying the surrounding landscape and landmarks.
Two Hot Springs Resorts in Montana
A deep “ahhhh” escapes from my mouth every time I dip into the therapeutic, soothing waters of a hot spring. Add a comfortable room a few steps away, with decadent meals and an award-winning wine lists and it qualifies as Paradise!
Montana is home to two historic, hot springs resorts both located in Paradise. Quinn’s Hot Springs Resort is in the small town of Paradise in Southwestern Montana. Paradise Valley, a few hours to the east, is where you’ll find Chico’s Hot Springs and Day Spa.
For a romantic getaway or just a chance to unplug, relax and rejuvenate, a stay at either of these resorts will dissolve tension, melt stress and envelop you in a cocoon of warm, delight-filled bliss and feed your hunger and thirst.
While I have always loved hot springs, those that involve a long hike to an outdoor wilderness site with no facilities, are not my idea of perfection anymore. These days, give me instead upscale soaking, fluffy pillows, thoughtful amenities, gourmet eating options and, oh, yes, that nice glass of wine and I’m a happy gal.
Quinn’s Hot Springs Resort
Quinn’s is located on 190 Hwy 135, Paradise, Montana, about 1/2 hour north of St. Regis on I-90 if you are driving. Or fly into Kalispell near West Glacier and drive the 90 minute scenic route. You’ll pass Flathead Lake and, if you are lucky, you’ll get to see some Oreo Cows along the way!
Originally settled in the 1880’s by Martin Quinn, the hot springs and lodge have survived some rough years economically to evolve into today’s first class destination. Quinn’s was just too wonderful to bite the dust. Since 1999, the present day owners of Quinn’s have been updating and expanding to meet the wants and needs of baby boomers like you and me.
The Hot Springs
Five chemical-free pools, from 89° to 106°, allow you to soak at the heat level you like it or hop from one to another. A very cold plunge pool for the brave is there too. Call me a coward—I didn’t try that. Children under 3 are not allowed in the pools.
Enjoy The Food
Harwood House Restaurant provides fine dining all day. If you like Prime Rib, they have one of the best I’ve ever had.
The winning wine selections garnered the 2019 Wine Spectator Magazine Award of Excellence.
For more casual dining. The Tavern serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. Carry your order out to the pools and eat on the picnic tables. A full bar, the establishment also serves specialty cocktails, wine and beer. Play pool, take your chances on one of the slot machines or watch sports. Live music jazzes things up on Fridays and Saturdays.
Standard or luxury options are available for any budget. Use of the pools all day until 11 PM is, of course, included. The historic Glacier Lodge and cabins are across the parking lot from the pools, bar, restaurant, gift shop.
In 2017, the adult-only, 25 room River Lodge rooms were completed, across the street, on the riverbanks of the Clark Fork River. The sound of the river rushing will be yours if you choose one of this or one of the new spacious, river-view cabins.
If you are more adventurous and interested in some outdoor activities, the location provides access to expert fly fishing, exciting river rafting and hiking in pretty, pine covered green mountains. Check out a few of our favorite Montana hikes.
Chico Hot Springs
Luckily, as much as I enjoyed our stay at Quinn’s, I also had the amazing opportunity to spend some downtime at Chico Hot Springs as well. Located in Pray, MT in Paradise Valley, the resort is 30 minutes north of Yellowstone National Park and 35 minutes from the Bozeman Airport.
In the shadow of 11,000-foot Emigrant Peak, Chico Hot Springs has been a favorite place since 1900 to enjoy Montana’s lifestyle. This historic, rustic resort has stayed true to its beginnings offering a “good soak and a fine meal” with a working ranch feel. The current owners, Seabring and Colin Davis, have been expanding Chico thoughtfully to provide everything that could be wanted in a destination resort, while still offering a good soak and a fine meal!
Chico’s Hot Springs
The beautiful, large 44’ pool is a comfortable 95°. Swim laps or just soak in the benefits of the mineral water. The toastier 104° smaller pool next to the Chico Saloon is my favorite. A few stone benches and two places where the bubbling hot water flows in allow for comfortable soaking.
The full service spa is in a building just a stone’s throw across the parking lot and up the hill. Robes come with the luxury accommodations or are available to buy or rent.
Enjoy The Food
The Dining Room serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. The 2019 James Beard award-winning executive chef, David Wells, creates gourmet selections that will tempt and surprise you with locally sourced game and beef, flown-in seafood or local trout. Gardens behind the main lodge supply much of the produce.
The Dining Room at Chico has a reputation as one of finest restaurants in all of Montana. You’ll find locals from Bozeman and Livingston driving down for special occasions. Chef Wells forages the morel mushrooms himself according to our waiter. Plan to be there on a Sunday for the lavish brunch. Then, go hop in the pool and back to your room for a nap!
For a glimpse of the bounty, The Western Kitchen: Seasonal Recipes from Montana’s Chico Hot Springs Resort was recently published with their recipes and history.
From economical to luxury, Chico offers it all. The historic rooms in the main lodge, next to the pools with shared bathrooms, are simple and comfortable. A lower lodge, built in 1999, has 30 Rooms and 4 suites. The North 40 Cabins were gradually added between 2004-2010.
If glamping is your thing, reserve a Conestoga wagon with a king bed or the Caboose on the hill overlooking the pools.
After All, You are in Montana
Only 35 miles from Yellowstone, Chico is tucked into a beautiful valley with access to outdoor recreation. Depending on the time of year, there’s everything from snowshoeing and cross country skiing to fly fishing and Yellowstone Tours.
In 2017, Chico added 635 acres of land on the western side of the original property to protect the landscape from further development. Named Ranch 635, it is currently is the site for 5 miles of running, hiking and biking trails, plus an 18-hole disc golf course and horseback riding trails.
Now, to experience that “Ahhhhh” for yourself, you just have to go!
Disclosure* The author received a complimentary meal and lodging at Chico Hot Springs while researching this article.