Whether a local, celebrity or a weary traveler, Chico Hot Springs Resort is a well-known stop on the way from Yellowstone northward. Situated in the heart of the spectacular Paradise Valley, the name says it all. A famous stop since its opening in 1900, Chico Hotsprings will not disappoint.
Historically run by a couple as a miners rest stop, the retreat quickly flourished from a small retreat of only a handful of rooms to a full-on accommodating resort with fine-dining and spa rooms. Horse stables and farriers were on hand to feed and wipe down a weary steed, and carriages ran from the railroad stop three miles down the road for long-term travelers to stop in for a weekend getaway.
Tables with fine china, tablecloths, and home-cooked meals were a rarity in the rough mining camps and provided for a rare respite from weeks of toil. For those used to a less rugged lifestyle and with the extra cash to enjoy a bit of luxury, the hot waters were a regular stop with their healing properties. One and all were attracted to the dancing up on the hill, where late hours were held before one could lay their head to rest on a clean pillow, awaiting the morning soak and travels.
Surviving through both the Prohibition and Depression Eras was not easy. Though the original owners were considered Prohibitionists, it was rumored that the husband often turned his head to those sporting spirits. The party atmosphere of the hot springs was well-known and attracted quite the crowd from far and wide. Eventually, with such a successful business at her hands, the wife chose to resort back to her original plans of opening a true health spa. Though this idea is still popular and visitors come from all over to this day for “healing,” it created a different type of atmosphere at the time. Dr. Townsend, a well-known physician of the time, was introduced to the resort and worked quickly with the staff to not only tout ailment healing but practice actual surgeries and treatments. He and the owners were so successful that they opened a hospital wing at the resort where advanced medicine was practiced. The first brain surgery in the region was even thought to have been performed here.
Unfortunately, not even such a magical place could withstand the region's depression. The famous doctor retired, the owners grew older, and the usual visitors could no longer afford to visit their favorite pools. Though a struggle, the resort did make it through the time but sooner changed multiple hands throughout the coming years.
New ownership brought about changes both good and bad. Touted as everything from a luxury stable to a church retreat, it eventually settled on owners who wanted to keep with the original charm. Now, with the same two pools freshly steamed from the nearby stream, cheap boarding rooms, luxury glamping wagons, a bustling bar, and even a popular weekend music stage, the resort is once again thriving. The feel is still there today too and greets travelers of all sorts with the same homely love that once made it such a popular place.
Fine Dining and One of the Best Wine Selections Around
Always known for having delicious home cooking, the resort of today is a little different. As a retreat that prefers to cater to all forms of guests, Chico has a little of everything. A cozy restaurant is available with home-style meals, and a typical Montana saloon sits right around the corner for those waiting on their reservation. It also offers some surprising menus though, the type one would be surprised to find in such an off-the-beaten-path restaurant. Event catering is available as weddings and other ceremonies are held here, but the real treat is in the fine dining room experiences. Of the highest quality in the area, intimate 7-course and 12-course meals are booked here for unique dining experiences with nothing less than a personal chef and catered dinner for 2 to 6 people. The resort takes pride in its fine-tasting options and also touts possibly the best wine selection around!
Hit the Spa for a Fully Rejuvenating Getaway
Originally meant to be a health spa, the idea has come back around, and for good reason. Sitting just up the hill under Emigrant Peak is the spa center. Offering set treatments and custom packages, guests wanting a true rejuvenating Montana spa experience need to look no further. Customized for singular treatments and full-day packages, it is best to call ahead and reserve the best available times. The resort prides itself on its visitor's pampered experience and spares no expense in catering to every need. A personal spa therapist is assigned to each guest when booking one of Chico's famous Montana spa days.
Other Activities to Enjoy During a Stay
Though locals will mainly tell you about the reasonably priced soaking and rooms, good food, lively atmosphere, and the great live music, this is only a fraction of what Chico Hot Springs has to offer. Partnering with the local companies and guides, and situated perfectly outside of Yellowstone to cater to the same tourist traffic, the resort will find an activity for every type of traveler. Horseback rides, rock climbing experiences, whitewater rafting tours, disc golf, and even PleinAir painting are all within arms reach when staying at this unique resort.