January 23, 2018

Chico Hot Springs in Montana: A Great Vacation Spot

Chico Hot Springs is a wonderful hot springs resort located just north of Yellowstone National Park in Montana.  This charming hot springs resort is in the beautiful Absaroka Mountain Range, and is one of our favorite places in Montana to visit.  There are several different choices of lodging available, an active bar, a refreshing hot springs, and some of the best food that you can eat in the entire state.  A lot of weddings take place here throughout the summer.  It is a magical wonderland, located pretty much in the middle of nowhere.  Chico has always been our little mini-escape.

Three words: We. Like. Chico.

Lobby of Chico Hot Springs, Pray, Montana, Copyright Montana Vacation Blog 2012

I will address the different areas of Chico Hot Springs by the following sections (hot springs, food, lodging, saloon):

1.  Hot Springs.

Probably the number one reason that people visit Chico Hot Springs is to visit the hot springs.  The hot springs has two different pools.  A larger pool that is cooler than the smaller hot pool.  It really varies on how crowded it will be.  We have been there several times, and never had any problems with having our own space.  I find that you can only sit in a hot spring for so long before you need to take a break.  It gets hot.

The large pool at Chico Hot Springs, Pray, Montana, Copyright Montana Vacation Blog 2012

I have not visited Chico in the winter, but I imagine that the hot springs are spectacular in the winter, with the steam rising and the chilled air.  During the summer, evenings and mornings are a wonderful time to enjoy the hot springs.  We have seen deer up on the mountainside overlooking Chico while sitting in the pool.  It is an extremely relaxing activity.

You can bring smaller children into the pool, as long as they are wearing a swimming diaper.  There is NO lifeguard, so all children must have an adult with them.  Pool towels are available to hotel guests and are available for a fee for day use.  They do allow pool toys, and you can also buy them.  There is a Poolside Grille where you can buy lunch and dinner.  There is not a swim-up bar, but the bar is right next to the pool, and there is an outside walk-up window where you can buy drinks, and drink them while sitting in the pools.  Outside food and drink are not allowed.  There are locker rooms with showers available for day use guests.

My husband at the Poolside saloon window, Chico Hot Springs, Pray, Montana, Copyright Montana Vacation Blog 2012

My husband at the Poolside saloon window

People are very friendly and will strike up a conversation with you while enjoying the hot springs, particularly the smaller warmer pool.

Rates as of 1/13/2013: (free to hotel guests) $7.50 for adults, $3.50 for seniors age 65+, kids 2 and under are free, and kids 3-6 are $3.50

Hours: Day guests – 8:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. daily; Hotel guests – 7:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. daily

Here is a link to the Chico Hot Springs history, including the healing powers that are thought to come from hot springs water: http://www.chicohotsprings.com/hot-springs/

2.  Food.

The spectacular food at Chico Hot Springs is one of the top reasons we visit.  Their quaint dining room has a homey feel, with large families and tables for two, it is always packed for dinner.

Eat up their skinny, crispy bread sticks with the dip they bring with them…they are a-ma-zing!! Every table receives these as soon as you sit down.

Breadsticks on the table at Chico Hot Springs Resort, Pray, Montana, Copyright Montana Vacation Blog 2012

Breadsticks on the table

 You truly cannot go wrong with anything that you order off their menu.  We love the Escargot Mountainiere and the Beef Wellington for two.  They have a full bar, and an excellent wine selection.  Ask your server to pair a wine with your meal.  They are professional and welcoming.  Chico has a garden out back, and they cook that fresh produce in their meals.  Their seafood is flown in so that it is fresh, and they do all of their baking on premises.  Let’s just say their dining experience is exceptional!

Beef Wellington for two, Chico Hot Springs, Pray, Montana, Copyright Montana Vacation Blog 2012

View their dinner menu here: http://www.chicohotsprings.com/dining/dining-room/dining-room-menu/

Don't forget Chico's dessert!  Copyright Montana Vacation Blog 2012


They also serve a delicious breakfast.

You can make a dinner reservation at the same time you book your hotel stay!  We like to eat around 7 p.m., that way we have time to spend the entire day in Yellowstone National Park, and still have time to take a dip in the hot springs before and after dinner.

3.  Lodging.

What we love about Chico Hot Springs is that it truly accommodates all budgets.  We often stay in the Main Lodge when we visit, as it is the least expensive, and you don’t have to walk outside to get to the pool or dining room.  The Main Lodge has 48 rooms, which are full of antiques.  These rooms are not for you if you prefer a fancier stay.  Only 13 of the 48 rooms have private bathrooms in the room, the other 35 share bathrooms that are scattered throughout the halls.  21 of the 35 have sinks in their rooms, the rest do not.  I will tell you that we usually book the room without a sink or a private bathroom, and choose to share the bathroom.  We have never had a problem using the shared bathrooms when we need them.  They are almost always empty.  You can shower or use the restroom anytime you need to, so I find it worth saving the money and sharing a bathroom.  The prices in the Main Lodge vary from $55-$93 a night, depending on whether you get a private bathroom or not.

Our Main Lodge stays are going to change for us now, however, since we have a new baby.  The Main Lodge can get noisy, the walls are thin, and depending on where your room is, you can have people walking by a lot to get to the pool.  This was not a problem for us before, but it will be now with a baby who needs to sleep more.  Chico Hot Springs is also very accommodating to pets, and we have had problems of dogs barking in other rooms that have kept us up as well.

It is nice if you stay in the Main Lodge, you walk right down the hall to the door that takes you out to the hot springs.

Chico Hot Springs also has a variety of other places to stay: cabins, chalets, cottages, and lodges….there is a lot to choose from!  You can get access to more information on each here: http://www.chicohotsprings.com/, then click on Accommodations.  Or call for details.

Grounds at Chico Hot Springs, Pray, Montana, Copyright Montana Vacation Blog 2012

Grounds at Chico Hot Springs, Pray, Montana, Copyright Montana Vacation Blog 2012

4.  Saloon.

I am not sure where the people come from, but they come out of nowhere in the Saloon!  The bar is always a happening place.  Chico continually has different bands and events, and people dance the night away on the small, crowded dance floor.  It is nice to have so much live music out in the middle of nowhere!

Live band playing at Chico Hot Springs in 2011, Copyright Montana Vacation Blog 2012

Live band playing at Chico Hot Springs in 2011, Copyright Montana Vacation Blog 2012

Chico Hot Springs literally has endless activities.  There is a spa on site, there is horseback riding, a gift shop, dog sled treks, a library….I think I could stay at Chico Hot Springs for a couple of weeks and be happy as a clam.

Horseback Riding at Chico Hot Springs, Pray, Montana, Copyright Montana Vacation Blog 2012

Horseback Riding at Chico Hot Springs, Pray, Montana, Copyright Montana Vacation Blog 2012

Chico Hot Springs is also offering an awesome winter special: until April 25, 2012, book their “Winter Getaway Package,” from Sunday to Thursday, and receive lodging, dinner and breakfast for two, with all dining gratuities included for only $189.00!  This is a fantastic deal!!  (They offer this every winter — so check their website!)

How to book your stay:  call reservations at (406) 333-4933.

Chico Hot Springs Resort is one of our favorite places to stay and visit in Montana!

Warmest Wishes from Big Sky Country,

Alex M. Neill

Montana Vacation Blog


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