After exploring Yellowstone National Park and being on the road for a bit, my friend and I needed a little relaxation. We spent two full days at Chico Hot Springs in Pray, Montana. More or less in the middle of nowhere (although not too far from somewhere), this hot springs resort was exactly what I needed.
Chico Hot Springs is filled with the character you would expect from a place designated as “historic”. Set against a backdrop of green mountains and blue skies, I knew we chose the right place for relaxation. The drive from Gardiner wasn’t too long, but it felt like we had successfully left the rest of the world behind.
Chico Hot Springs Resort
The European style hotel has small rooms with just the basics and shared bathrooms dotting the hallways. Being a hostel kind of gal, I was used to the shared bathroom thing and didn’t mind one bit.
Chico Hot Springs is an historic resort, so the buildings are old. The hallways are dark and narrow (maybe a bit Shining-esque), the stairs are creaky, and our door had to be locked just to remain shut (the wind blew it open without the latch). But these things are to be expected, and it didn’t interfere with my enjoyment of the resort.
The Resort Grounds
The resort grounds are absolutely beautiful. Imagine lush green grass, big gardens, and bright-colored flowers everywhere. I loved sitting in the rocking chairs out on the big wrap around patio while drinking coffee. Taking a minute to just sit was really nice after days of non-stop here-to-there.
The gardens are one of the best features of the resort. The main garden is small, but it’s really cute. It’s a great place to take a walk through the flowers, or to just sit and read a book. They also have a food garden and a greenhouse. They grow greens like kale and spinach, and tomatoes in the greenhouse.
Chico Hot Springs Pool
Now to get to the absolute best part of this place, the main draw of the hotel: the hot springs pool. The swimming pool is outside, but there are some covered areas. The main pool is heated naturally at about 96 degrees. A smaller pool is about 103 degrees.
Swimming in the pool on a cool cloudy day was the most amazing feeling. I woke up the first morning, headed straight to the pool, and swam in the rain. Watching the steam rise up off the surface of the water when the cool drops hit was incredible. I usually don’t enjoy swimming, but after a few minutes in the pool, it was all I wanted to do. When I stepped out of the pool for the final time before we checked out, my heart dropped. I wanted to stay and swim forever.
Believe it or not, I didn’t get a picture of the pool. Pretty silly considering it was the main attraction of the hotel, but I didn’t like bringing anything with me to the pool except for a towel. Even without a picture to remember it, the feeling is vivid in my mind, in my body.
My two days at Chico Hot Springs were truly relaxing. I think I may be a hot springs junkie from now on.
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