Symes Hot Springs
Location: Hot Springs, Montana
Hours: 7a-10p Sun-Thurs, 7a-12p Fri-Sat
Cost: $10 day-soak, $30-35 tent/RV camping, $60-$150 Rooms
Season: Open year round
Date Visited: September 11, 2018
Description: Rustic hacienda style hotel and mineral baths, with 3 pools and a tub room. Rooms are available, as well as tent and RV camping.
Stopped by Symes Hot Springs yesterday in Hot Springs, Montana. This was a resort style hot springs with outdoor pools, and an indoor tub room. The site included a historic hotel, with many amenities, albeit fairly rustic, including a small café, restaurant, and tent and RV camping. It is a popular spot among the locals, who add plenty of flavor to the place.
The hotel is an older building, constructed in the 1930’s, with mission style aesthetics, complete with stucco walls and turquoise trim. The hotel has 30 rooms, a restaurant, and small coffee counter, with an office, and a couple sitting areas (including wifi) in the front. The rooms run $60 and up, but day-soaks are $10.
The outdoor pools were built in the 1980’s, and are typical swimming pool style facilities with concrete patios, fencing and pool chairs. Temps range from hot (around 115 degrees Fahrenheit) to cool (around 80 degrees). The water is soft, with a visible mineral content and slightly sulphurous odor, but not overpowering, (it actually made my skin feel great). The pools are large, and shared by everyone. There is an active local community who use the pools on a regular basis, and the pools tend to be chatty, but still pleasant. Swimwear is the norm in the outdoor pools.
The tub room is off the lobby, and was the original soaking facility when the hotel was built. There are 4 tubs, complete with claw-feet and cast iron fixtures, and each has spring fed hot and cold taps, so the temperature can be adjusted precisely. Each tub is partitioned off for privacy, so swimwear is optional here.
While I normally prefer more natural settings for a good soak, I really enjoyed Symes Hot Springs. The atmosphere, from the historic hotel to the chatty locals, was quirky and interesting. The pools were nice and hot, and while if slightly cloudy, I found it to have a nicely balanced mineral content that felt good on my skin. I really liked the private tubs, since they were adjustable and quiet, but the outdoor pools were great too, local flavor and all.
I also got some great travel recommendations from another pair of vandwellers while I was there. They were traveling home to Seattle from Yellowstone and Glacier, and had a few recommendations on where to go in Glacier. They had also been through the Southwest and recommended San Antonio Hot Springs and Gila Hot Springs in New Mexico. Duely noted Haley and Martin, thank you!
I camped that night in the forest 15 minutes east of town, and had a restful sleep in the van. Woke up to a pretty sunrise, and cows grazing through trees. Now off to Glacier.
More Information can be found on the Symes Hot Springs Website: