[Review] Chico Hot Springs

Posted on November 17, 2012

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* TheJonWickProject recurring Review series highlights memorable places and experiences I encounter along my journey that I want to pass along to you. Please note that any opinion expressed in these reviews is solely that of me. My opinion should, and typically does, hold no credibility ever and those reading should know any experience, both good and poor, varies greatly depending on an immeasurable amount of circumstances.

This trip down the paradise valley south of Livingstone to Chico Hot Springs was unexpected, at best. I checked vacancy on their website weeks earlier; all booked up, as Chico has a tendency to be particularly on holiday weekends (Monday was Veterans Day). Luckily, winter storm Brutus was bearing down on SW Montana and Cass had the brilliant idea of calling to see if there were any cancellations. With our good friend Lance up from San Francisco, we scored a room in the lodge, complete with a full serving of old-world charm and velvet wallpaper.

One of the state’s earliest developed hot springs, Chico is a resort in all sense of the word. It comes with a wide variety of accommodations, from singles with shared bathrooms in the lodge, to separate dog-friendly cabins. The onsite Dining Room at Chico is a 5-star restaurant that caters to fine palates, while the poolside grill offers a more casual fare for the families. Weekends provide live music spilling out of arguably the finest western saloon anywhere; complete with stage and dance floor, pool table, shuffleboard, gaming devices, and a service window access to the soul of the resort-the hot springs. Many other offerings on the property include dog-sled tours, horse tours, and a well-stocked gift shop. The resort also offers a spa and conference space worthy of a killer business gathering or that fairy-tale wedding location.

The concrete deck and sun-bathing chairs were covered with over a foot of fresh snowfall providing a stark contrast to the steaming brew of relaxation. A large hot tub sits under a roof and opens to a large pool graduating from 2 to 8 feet in depth. Looking lengthwise over the pool, you are surrounded by uniquely Chico-esque architecture hiding restrooms, the lodge, bar and poolside grill. This certainly doesn’t take away from any natural therapy you may be seeking, as the resort is literally tucked into a tight valley, whose mountains stand watch over the water.

Our time consisted of a three-hour soak in the shallow end of the pool with intermittent bouts of shrinkage at the bar window waiting for drinks. After a round of well-earned burgers at the poolside grill, the Saddle Tramps fiddled us into the far-reaches of the night. Though we didn’t get to the fine dining, I know there will be many other trips to Chico and other opportunities to indulge at this, one of my favorite, Montana destinations.

Directions: About 50 miles from Bozeman, take I-90 East to Livingston. Go South on HWY 89 about15 miles to a signed left turn at the Emmigrant gas station. Follow signs to the resort.

Website: www.chicohotsprings.com

QWick Guides: MT Hot Springs includes more information on Chico and other hot spring destinations around Montana, Buy Here

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Posted in: Reviews, Travel