Yellowstone is known for steamy geologic features and exciting geyser eruptions, but there are very few places in the park where you can go for a steamy dip (for your safety, and the park’s). Fortunately, all that geothermal activity means that the surrounding area boasts plenty of hot springs authorized for soaking and relaxing. Here are a few of our favorites.
With two open-air mineral hot springs right outside the park, Chico is a natural choice for a soak. Established in 1900, the hot springs has a long history that is anything but stale. Day visitors can enjoy a soak, food, and drink from 8 am to 11 pm.
Yellowstone Hot Springs boasts a history just as long and storied as Chico, but it’s the new kid on the block in modern-day, having just reopened in 2019. It was first opened as LaDuke Hot Springs in 1899. However, of an extensive resort infrastructure built in the 1940s, only the open-air plunge still exists today.
Enjoy the modern, stylishly curving pools while you soak in the natural mineral springs. The main pool averages 102 degrees Fahrenheit, with a cooling plunge pool at around 67 to 70 degrees. These are flow-through pools, so there’s new water cycling through in real-time.
For a natural option inside Yellowstone, the Boiling River is it. This is the only place in the park where visitors can physically interact with steamy waters. The Boiling River flows into the Gardiner River just south of Gardiner, and the spot where the two mix makes warm-to-hot-to-icy-cold pools among the rocks. It’s a half-mile walk from the trailhead and parking area to the designated soaking spot.
The Boiling River is often crowded during peak times, like weekends and during the busy summer season. Keep in mind that no food or drink is permitted in the pool areas. Help keep the Boiling River from being loved to death by obeying all rules, regulations, and posted closures. Pack it in, pack it out! And be sure to stay on the trail.
Just outside of Bozeman in Four Corners, Bozeman Hot Springs is a convenient stop on the way to or from plenty of different adventures in and around Yellowstone. It offers several soaking pools of varying temperatures, a lap pool, a sauna, and a fitness center.
You’ll find snacks and ice cream for sale onsite, but remember that it’s a no-alcohol facility. It’s a great family-friendly spot, and you’ll find live music on many weekend evenings.
West of Bozeman in the community of Norris, Norris Hot Springs offers an in-between that bridges the gap between rustic, undeveloped hot springs and built-up resorts. Wood-lined pools in the same style as the spring’s early days give an earthy feel, but you can still enjoy access to bathrooms, changing rooms, and good grub. Local brews on tap help you enjoy the sounds of live music floating into the night air, and the rugged ambiance is the ultimate Montana experience.