With a little guy who loves the water and swimming as much as Bergen (22 months) does (which is a lot), a stop at Chico Hot Springs was high on our list during our visit to Paradise Valley, Montana last month.
Chico Hot Springs as a place to relax and take a soak goes way back. Beginning in the late 1800’s with just a couple of wooden tubs that were 4 feet deep, people were taking advantage of the healing water. Presently, the resort has two pools: A large pool with the water temperature at about 96 degrees Fahrenheit, and a smaller pool at about 103 degrees Fahrenheit. The two pools are connected (separated by a bulkhead) with a little waterfall flowing from the small pool into the large pool.
Chico is set up as a resort complete with restaurants, lodging, spa and other entertainment, but non-lodging guests can also come and enjoy the warm, soothing water with a day pass. After a big day of hiking and trail running in Yellowstone National Park (about 30 miles south of Chico), we were more than happy to dip into the spring’s toastiness to soak our sore muscles. Slaed and I soon realized though that the real magic of the place is probably better seen in winter when you can really take advantage of the warm-up that the water provides. I can just imagine the steam coming off the water making for a very cozy scene. As you can see, I’m already thinking about a return trip.
Nevertheless, the warm temperatures were great for Bergen as he’s still at the stage where his lips get blue after being in the pool for more than 10 minutes or so. He was skeptical for the first minute, but then got right down to his usual level of play at the pool, climbing in and out of the water, using the stairs, and going for the various toys he saw floating around in the water.
In addition to the pleasant temperatures, we were happy to learn that Bergen could actually walk around on his own in the shallow end (2 feet deep). We had to watch him like a hawk because he easily lost his balance, but he had so much more space to roam than our usual swimming destinations. If left up to his own devices, Bergen would have stayed in the water all day. We knew though, it was best to enjoy the springs in small doses, we did increments of 15 minutes or so, and took a break to explore the property a bit.
Chico has several dining options from the classic saloon where you’ll find baseball caps hanging from the ceiling, to the casual poolside grille with burgers, pizza, and great kids options, to the fancier dining room where you can dig into the specialties of the region. While we didn’t dine on this particular afternoon (though did enjoy drinks from the walk-up poolside bar), we thoroughly enjoyed our bison burgers from the grill a couple of days previous.
Are you a fan of hot springs? Where in the world have you taken a soak (or where are you dreaming of doing so)?
Info to Know:
- Chico Hot Springs is located in Paradise Valley, Montana in the town of Pray.
- 163 Chico Road Pray, MT 59065
- Day guest hours: 8am-11pm daily
- Adults/older than 6: $7.50
- Kids: 3-6 years $3.50
- 2 years & under: FREE
- Seniors: $3.50
- Bathhouse for all guests is onsite
- Bring your own towels, but they are also available from the front desk for a fee.
- Take extra care when walking on the deck–slippery when wet!
Come join the conversation! We’d love to have you join us on all of our adventures by “liking” our facebook page and following us on twitter! You can also keep up to date with each and every post by subscribing to the blog via email.