I’m seeing more and more people visiting hot springs in all different types of weather. In fact, I’m mostly seeing people visit in the winter! I guess there’s nothing like stepping into warm water when everything around you is freezing and covered in snow. I think the uncommon nature of being outside in your swim suit in freezing temperatures is part of the alure of hot springs in winter. Of course, you can also enjoy them in the summer just as much! If you’re near the Bozeman area, this the the post for you. I’m going to list all of the hot springs near Bozeman, MT.
Man Made vs. Natural
Keep in mind that a lot of these hot springs are man made. This means that they almost look like man-made pools, but they are filled with water straight from natural hot springs. This structure has it’s pros and cons. On one hand, you’re not getting the full nature experience. However, on the other hand, you know you’re getting into clean water and you likely don’t have to try very hard to get to the hot spring. I’ll help you distinguish which hot springs are nature and which are man made below.
Here are 4 of the best hot springs in and around Bozeman, MT:
Bozeman Hot Springs
Bozeman Hot Springs is located in Bozeman near Four Corners. It’s been open for more than 100 years and has 12 different pools to choose from along with a fitness center on site. The pools are all naturally heated, but they are man-made structures. The outdoor pools are chlorinated, but the indoor pools are drained and cleaned every night and are not chlorinated.
When you visit, you can pay for single day access, but if you live in the area, you can get a membership which gives a bit of a discount.
One of the coolest parts of Bozeman Hot Springs is the fact that they have a campground if you want to stay a few days. They have RV site, tent sites, and cabins to rent.
Chico Hot Springs
Chico Hot Springs is not just hot springs – it’s also a resort and spa! Resort guests automatically get access to the hot springs with their room rate, but you can also stop by for the day and buy a day pass. Just like Bozeman Hot Springs, Chico Hot Springs are man-made structures, but they are geothermally (i.e., naturally) heated. These pools also aren’t chlorinated.
In addition to soaking in the hot springs, you can stay in one of their lodges or cabins. You can also have dinner in their fine dining room. They also have a ton of activities to choose from depending on the time of year you’re visiting! Some of them include horseback riding, snowshoeing, mountain biking, fly fishing, and more. This is a place to get the full “Montana” experience!
Spending more time in Bozeman? Here are the BEST boutiques to shop at in town!
Norris Hot Springs
Norris Hot Springs is a man-made structure filled with “Water of the Gods.” This water comes from artesian springs nearby and Norris Hot Springs takes that water (at about 120 degrees), cools it down to around 100 degrees in the summer and up to 106 degrees in the winter. This water is full of minerals such as lithium that their website says can put anyone in a good mood!
While you’re here, you can enjoy their food made of local ingredients – most of which are grown on site! They also have live music on the weekends. Near the pool, you’ll find the Norris Hot Springs campground which is open May-September. Campers can come in RVs or tents and they get discounted access to the Hot Springs pool.
Boiling River in Yellowstone National Park
Not very many people know that there are actually places within Yellowstone National Park where you can swim! The Boiling River is one of them. Since this is literally a river, it is completely natural and there’s nothing man-made about it! This river is where the hot water of the hot springs meets the cool water of the Gardiner River. When mixed together, the temperature is comfortable to swim in.
The Boiling River is near the Northern Entrance of the park, making it only about 1.5-2 hours from Bozeman. I’d plan to leave in the morning because swimming is only allowed until dark. Unfortunately, skinny dipping and alcohol are both prohibited here. Also, keep in mind that this river is only open for swimming in the summer.
Which one is for you?
The main thing to think about when deciding between these different hot springs is whether or not you want a completely natural hot spring (e.g., the boiling river) or a partly man-made hot spring. They each come with their own set of pros and cons. Of course, we all want to experience natural hot springs, but there isn’t a convenient locker room, restaurant, or place to stay right by the Boiling River. That’s what makes some of the other places on this list appealing!
Have you visited any of these hot springs? If so, let me know what your experience was like in the comments below!