Natural hot springs are one of Mother Nature’s best features. Formed from deep pockets of hot magma (lava) that heat the springs before they come out of the ground, temperatures can range from warm to very hot.
The state of Montana in the northwest United States happens to be a hotspot (pun intended) for natural hot springs, thanks to the nearby Yellowstone caldera and its underground heat sources. Most of the hot springs are located in the western mountain ranges.
The majority of these hot springs have resorts, hotels, pools, or buildings of some kind built up around them that feature the natural mineral hot spring water that seeps out of the ground. A few are remote, requiring a hike or journey of some kind to enjoy the hot springs. All of them are well worth the time and money to enjoy!
1. Alameda’s Hot Springs Retreat
Located in aptly named Hot Springs, Montana, Alameda’s is a small inn built near natural hot springs, and they use them to their full advantage! Rooms have private mineral baths, full living rooms and kitchens, and gorgeous porches to soak in the summer sun.
While there is a lack of free public hot tubs on-site at Alameda’s, there are a few nearby that are fed by the natural hot springs and cost between $5-10 per person. Alameda’s Hot Springs Retreat is currently working on adding outdoor pools that are filled with the natural mineral hot spring water, so that’s something to look forward to this winter!
Located only a few miles from Flathead Lake’s southern end off of Highway 28, the town of Hot Springs dates back to 1910 and still has about 600 permanent residents, along with many seasonal visitors. Tourists love to stop and enjoy the beauty and comfort that is the hot springs in this quaint town.
2. Big Medicine Hot Springs
Also conveniently located in the town of Hot Springs, Big Medicine Hot Springs consist of one large outdoor cement pool that is partially covered by a wooden roof. Don’t let the primitive setting scare you away- this water temperature ranges from 101-105 degrees Fahrenheit, warmer than most hot tubs you’ll find anywhere!
The hot spring pool is for day use only, and has an honor system for fees; you “pay as you soak” at the metal box near the pool. Clothing is required for this hot spring, so please be respectful of your fellow bathers!
3. Lolo Hot Springs
Located in far southwestern Montana near the Idaho border lies the tiny settlement of Lolo Hot Springs (just west of the town of Lolo). The hot springs here have been used by people for over 200 years, first by the Indigenous Peoples and then by settlers shortly after 1805. The famous explorers Lewis and Clark actually passed through this area and may have used these very same hot springs!
Today, there is a resort, restaurant, and other tourist attractions near the hot springs. Large pools have been built and the water funnels into these, creating a giant hot tub that is perfect for year-round swimming. There are other outdoor amenities close by, such as snowboarding, skiing, snowshoeing, frisbee golf, hiking, and kayaking. Indoor and outdoor pools mean there’s plenty of hot water for everyone.
4. Lost Trail Hot Springs
Further south from Lolo is the small townsite of Sula, and near there is Lost Trail Hot Springs, named after the mountain pass that is only a few miles south of here on Highway 93. The facilities include a large pool (20 feet by 90 feet) and a smaller 8-person hot tub. The temperatures range anywhere from 95-105 degrees Fahrenheit depending on the season.
The property around the pools is always being expanded and improved, with a few small cabins, RV hookup sites, and camping sites currently available. Lost Trail Hot Springs are a fantastic choice for a winter stay, with skiing, snowboarding, and cross-country skiing located only 6 miles down the highway at Lost Trail Powder Mountain ski resort.
5. K Bar L Ranch and Medicine Springs
This exclusive and family-owned ranch is available for guests for 6-day long stays. Secluded in the Lewis and Clark National Forest, the only way to access the K Bar L Ranch is by boat or by horseback, and only after making a reservation with the owners. Told you it was exclusive!
This is a working cattle and hunting ranch, and located conveniently on the property is a natural mineral hot spring, great for relaxing after a long day in the saddle. Guests can get the full ranching experience at this historic family ranch, and then spend a few hours in the evening enjoying the warm waters after a full-course home-cooked meal.
Although this hot spring is less accessible than most on this list, getting to enjoy the Medicine Springs at K Bar L Ranch is a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
6. Jackson Hot Springs
Another hot spring that has a hotel built on or nearby the water source, Jackson Hot Springs is located in the tiny town of Jackson between Wisdom and Dillon. Jackson has a rustic, historic charm and the Jackson Hot Springs Lodge offers an authentic western experience in the Big Hole Valley. The lodging is comfortable and cozy year-round, with several options available.
The pool is quite large and fenced in by a historic-looking wooden fence and partial roof. The water ranges from 100-106 degrees Fahrenheit, even in the dead of winter. The water is clear, mineral-rich, and free of any chemicals that you might find in other swimming pools! Enjoy a soak, then dinner in the restaurant on-site. Skiing and snowboarding are just a 30-minute drive away!
7. Hunter’s Hot Springs
Near the beautiful towns of Livingston and Big Timber, Hunter’s Hot Springs has a storied historical past.
Like many of the hot springs in Montana, this one was used by Native Americans for centuries before being claimed by a gold miner in the 1800s named AJ Hunter, and he eventually built a hotel and pool; over the years many locals and Native Americans utilized Hunter’s Hot Springs for their “healing powers”.
The sprawling Hotel Dakota was built near the hot spring, but unfortunately, it burned down in 1932.
There is not much that remains of the hotels and other buildings around Hunter’s Hot Springs, and the site is essentially abandoned now as a ghost town.
The springs are still active, but information and directions have been hard to find online; if you’re looking for an adventure to go with your hot spring dip, Hunter’s Hot Spring might be the one for you.
8. Sleeping Buffalo Hot Springs
Located in the far northeastern corner of Montana, Sleeping Buffalo Hot Springs feeds a beautiful large pool with 108-degree water. The bathhouse that is built over the pool has an aesthetically-pleasing cedar roof that also helps give off a pleasant smell. This is the northernmost hot spring in Montana, and is fairly isolated, meaning you won’t be fighting the crowds here!
The pool is emptied and cleaned nightly before being refilled with the natural mineral water that comes from the 3200-foot deep well below the building. The water comes out from this natural hot spring at an astonishing 900 gallons an hour! This tiny community of Saco, Montana is home to Sleeping Buffalo Hot Springs and Resort, providing accommodations and the opportunity to soak in this beautiful hot spring water.
9. Symes Hot Springs Motel and Mineral Bath
Another favorite place for a warm dip is also located in the small community of Hot Springs, Symes Hot Springs Motel and Mineral Bath has been open since the 1930s. The resort still holds a lot of that 1930-1940s charm and style, and during your stay here, you almost feel like you’ve stepped back in time.
There are three pools and a couple of private jacuzzis on-site, all fed from natural hot springs underground. The mineral water makes your skin feel fresh and soft for days afterward! There’s also a spa at the motel, providing massages and other private wellness treatments. Enjoy some time at Symes’s restaurant, art gallery, and gift shops. The water is a constant 101-104 degrees; you’ll never want to leave!
10. Fairmont Hot Springs Resort
If you’re looking for a more high-end resort stay that includes relaxing hot springs pools, Fairmont Hot Springs Resort should be top of your list. The four swimming pools (two Olympic-sized and two smaller jacuzzi-style pools) are open to registered overnight guests only, but staying here is well worth it! Along with the hot springs pools, Fairmont offers luxury accommodations, restaurants, shopping, golfing, and more.
The hot springs originally bubbled to the surface at a piping hot 135 degrees, and since the resort was built, the water is funneled to the pools and cooled to a more comfortable temperature of 88-104 degrees. The most unique part of the Fairmont Hot Springs Resort is the 350-foot-long water slide that uses hot spring water and splashes into one of the Olympic-sized outdoor pools.
11. Yellowstone Hot Springs
Conveniently located only 8 miles north of Yellowstone National Park’s northern entrance, Yellowstone Hot Springs is still being improved upon just recently, with new pools and accommodations being built nearby. The main pool is a soothing 102 degrees, while the other smaller pools are closer to 104 degrees. Cool off with a cold plunge afterward in one of the pools that offer 60-degree water (this feels downright freezing after a dip in the hot tubs).
The water in these pools is continually flowing through from the natural source to the pool and back out again, meaning the water is always clear and clean. The natural minerals (12 of them total) keep your skin soft and smooth and makes for a truly natural spa experience. The pools were built in 2018, meaning all the facilities are state-of-the-art and in great condition.
12. Potosi Hot Springs
The tiny little town of Pony, Montana is home to Potosi Hot Springs; four quaint cabins built along South Willow Creek provide convenient access to the natural hot springs nearby. Concrete walls have been built to allow the water to naturally flow into pools that are the perfect size for relaxing with fellow guests.
The pools are reserved only for guests of the cabins, which provide sleeping room for up to 6 people and provide easy access to miles of hiking trails right from your front door. After your hike or other adventures, relax in the hot springs pools that are full of some of the purest and cleanest water you can find in Montana.
13. Upper Potosi Hot Springs
Also located on South Willow Creek outside the town of Pony, MT, Upper Potosi Hot Springs is much more primitive and less developed. Luckily, this hot spring is completely free of charge and open to the public. Just be prepared for a bit of a journey to get there- you can access the hot springs after a drive down a dirt road that can potentially be rough depending on weather conditions.
You can camp nearby at Potosi Campground, after which you’ll have to hike about a mile-and-a-half to the hot springs themselves. The pool is small, with boulder edges and a gravel bottom, but at a comfortable 99 degrees, it makes for a great dipping pool in the middle of the forest.
14. Elkhorn Hot Springs
Elkhorn Hot Springs is a rustic getaway near the Montana/Idaho border; the lodge was built in 1918 and has been serving travelers and locals alike ever since. You can get a quintessential Montana experience by staying here- the quiet surrounding forest provides a tranquil atmosphere as you soak in the pools that are fed by the natural hot springs below.
The outdoor pool ranges from 92-102 degrees depending on the time of year and the water is always clean since it comes from a natural source. The indoor wet sauna heats up to a sweltering but relaxing 104 degrees, which sounds just perfect for a cold winter night!
15. Quinn’s Hot Springs Resort
Located just south of aptly named Paradise, MT lies Quinn’s Hot Springs Resort on the banks of the Clark Fork River. At less than an hour’s drive from Missoula, this hot spring makes for a great day trip if you’re visiting the popular college town. Of course, with excellent lodging accommodations available, you may just want to make a weekend trip out of it.
Guests get full access to all the pools at Quinn’s Hot Springs Resort, which are all filled with mineral-rich water from the natural hot springs underneath the pools. They even have a cold plunge pool (the benefits of a cold dip are just as plentiful as the benefits of the natural hot spring) along with pools and spas ranging in temperature from 90-106 degrees. The outdoor setting at the resort is absolutely breathtaking, especially in the winter. The surrounding mountains are covered in snow and the steam rising over the pools creates a calm and cozy atmosphere.
16. Norris Hot Springs
Close to the Idaho/Wyoming/Montana border and the western entrance to Yellowstone National Park is the tiny town of Norris, which is really just a “blink and you’ll miss it” site on Highway 287. Norris Hot Springs made an effort to maintain the natural course of the water while also using it in the pools for people to enjoy; the pools are drained every night and the water is diverted toward nearby wetlands.
The pools are meticulously clean and incredibly warm and relaxing; the natural minerals are even said to have healing properties! An especially cool feature of Norris Hot Springs is the overall atmosphere- live music on the weekends poolside, delicious restaurant food and drinks, and camping nearby as well. Norris Hot Springs may be located kind of in the middle of nowhere, but it’s a great option for a weekend getaway.
17. Wild Horse Hot Springs
Looking for an off-grid experience, far away from civilization, Wi-Fi, and cell phone service? Wild Horse Hot Springs should be top of your list. A genuinely rustic location in rural Montana (seven miles outside aforementioned Hot Springs, MT), the owners of Wild Horse prize themselves on having the best mineral water in the state. The pools are filled by the Mother Dragon geyser, which originated as a well dug by settlers back in the early 1900s.
A large pool surrounded by 13 other smaller plunge pools is fed by two hot water wells from below ground. Wild Horse Hot Springs is definitely for the more adventurous type- the cabins don’t have any running water, the tipis don’t have any beds at all (think camping in a large tent), but there are hookups for RVs available. You can even bring your own tent and enjoy a weekend soaking in all of the mineral water goodness from morning to night.
18. Boulder Hot Springs Inn and Spa
The hotel at Boulder Hot Springs is on the National Register of Historic Places and was originally built in the late 1800s. The hotel has been a getaway spot for presidents, celebrities, and wealthy ranchers since then, but the hot springs have been used for centuries by Native Americans who lived here before the arrival of settlers.
The current owners of Boulder Hot Springs Inn and Spa embrace the natural resources and beauty of the land, while also respecting the landscape and those who came before them. Their philosophy is the maintain a place of beauty, retreat, and spirituality so that others can connect with themselves and the surrounding beauty.
The outdoor pool is open year-round and is fed by the natural hot springs that gush from underground at a constant temperature, cooled by cold well water to a more comfortable 100 degrees for all ages to enjoy. There are two separate indoor steam rooms (for men and women) with hotter temperatures of 103-106 degrees, providing more privacy and enjoyment for adults.
19. Renova Hot Springs
One of the few undeveloped hot springs in Montana lies about two hours outside Bozeman; Renova Hot Springs is on the bank of the Jefferson River, and locals have blocked in a small pool using rocks and boulders. The hot springs water mixes with the river water, so check the water level before you go! Anything higher than 700 CFS (cubic feet per second) will flow completely over the hot spring pool and you won’t get to enjoy the water at its warmest.
Getting here requires a 7-mile drive down a dirt road, but the road is in decent condition depending on the weather. The bottom of the pool is river rock, so come prepared with water shoes if you have sensitive feet. Renova Hot Springs is generally not very busy, and you get to enjoy a classic Montana hot spring in its most natural state.
20. Pipestone Hot Springs
Located only a few miles outside Butte, Pipestone Hot Springs is a popular destination for ATV/OHV riders (all-terrain vehicles and off-highway vehicles). Miles of trails wind out into the wilderness from Pipestone Village, where you can rent cabins or tented domes for a comfortable stay.
Each cabin at Pipestone Village has its own hot tub, filled and heated by Pipestone Hot Springs underground. The area has a history that goes back to around 1870 when a man named John Paul bought the property and started building accommodations, and the site of the thermal Pipestone Hot Spring has since changed hands several times. A historic hotel used to stand here, and now some cool ruins remain.
21. Bozeman Hot Springs
The natural hot mineral water that bubbles from thermal springs underground fill 12 pools at Bozeman Hot Springs. What started as a small pool built by a local man in the 1880s on the site of the hot springs has turned into a full-on resort and fitness center with accommodations and pools for all to enjoy.
Indoors, there is a series of both hot and cold pools, conveniently located right next to each other so you can hop from one to the other; the benefits of soaking in both hot and cold water are nearly endless, and Bozeman Hot Springs has both for guests to enjoy. The outdoor pools range in temperature from 80-104 degrees, depending on the season. The hottest pools inside get up to 106 degrees, which feels downright heavenly after a full day of hiking or skiing.
22. Chico Hot Springs
About 30 miles north of Yellowstone National Park (the caldera that creates geysers like Old Faithful also produces hot springs scattered around outside the park), Chico Hot Springs has been used by travelers for over a hundred years. The Native Americans were using the hot springs much sooner than that, but the first hotel built at Chico Hot Springs came to be in the year 1900, built by Bill and Percie Knowles.
The water at Chico Hot Springs became famous for its mineral content and rumored special healing powers. Today, after changing hands several times throughout the decades, the historic inn is the only original building standing. Cabins and luxury suites have been built, as well as two large outdoor pools that are filled by the natural hot spring underground. It’s a great place for families to stay during their Yellowstone trip.
23. Broadwater Hot Springs
Broadwater Hot Springs is the only geothermal hot spring located near Helena, Montana’s capital city. Only 10 minutes from downtown Helena, you can soak in the ultra-relaxing waters of this hot spring-turned-day spa and resort. At one point in time, the Broadwater Hotel and Natatorium held the largest indoor pool in the world at a whopping 30,000 square feet!
The hotel fell on hard times in 1941 but was renovated and reopened as Broadwater Athletic Club and Hot Springs in 1979. In just the last ten years, more improvements have been made to the pool and facilities. Now with 5 hot tubs or recreational pools and a couple of cold plunge pools, Broadwater Hot Springs is the perfect destination for a winter holiday; imagine swimming in a hot pool while snow is softly falling all around you. How magical!
24. Spa Hot Springs Motel and Clinic, White Sulphur Springs
The town is named White Sulphur Springs for a reason- the smell of sulfur (and other natural minerals in the hot spring water) permeates every corner of the hotel and pools, but your nose gets used to it after only a few minutes! This historic hotel and spa have been open since the 1860s, so it is definitely one of the older developed hot springs on this list.
The three separate pools have varying sizes and temperatures, giving guests some choice on how hot they want their soaking experience to be. The pools are all outside and are surrounded by beautiful Montana-themed murals on the walls of the hotel. The rooms are all conveniently located poolside, and there is also camping available nearby. People have been using the hot springs in White Sulphur Springs for centuries for their rejuvenating and healing powers, and will certainly continue to do so for years to come!
Before You Go
The unique underground geothermal network in Montana is almost unmatched by any other state, and there are almost certainly more hot springs that have yet to be discovered or named!
The vast majority of the hot springs in Montana have had an assortment of hotels, inns, resorts, cabins, or other accommodations built on or close to them. The majority of the hot springs have also been siphoned into large swimming pools or spas, a far cry from their natural state from centuries ago but still utilizing the same water and its minerals.
The hot springs in Montana are especially fantastic in the winter, as the temperature of the water gushing from the springs rarely changes. Just the thought of relaxing in an outdoor spa, in the 104-degree water, while snow softly falls all around me is almost enough to buy myself a plane ticket to Montana for Christmas!