With fall in full force and winter peaking its head around the corner, the season for hot springing has officially begun. The many hot springsboth natural and developedin southwest Montana provide respite, relaxation and recreation for families.
One of our familys favorite hot spots is Norris Hot Springs. This geothermal delight can be a destination in itself or a relaxing end to a day of fishing, hiking, floating or cross-country skiing. We like to load up the dogs and head for Bear Trap Canyon on the Madison River. After a mellow hike along a mostly flat trail we point the truck west to Norris Hot Springs.
The Water of the Gods flows from the ground and into the wooden pool where it is cooled to about 105 degrees, warm enough for a cold day soak, but not too hot for little bodies. As you are bobbing about or dunking your kids, keep an eye on the hillsides and wetlands for deer, pronghorn and moose. Eagles, hawks, Sandhill cranes, waterfowl and other birds are likely to make an appearance as well.
The folks at Norris Hot Springs will rent you a swimsuit and towel if you forget yours or if a soak in the hot springs is a last minute decision. If your kids arent ready to take the plunge sans floaties, they can borrow one of the life vests hanging outside the changing room.
When the kids tummies rumble, take advantage of the local and sustainabley grown snacks at the No Loose Dogs Saloon. You can check out the distance particular foods traveled to get there by clicking on their website. The greens are even grown on site; you cant get more local than that.
Older kids might enjoy listening to live music while they swim. Bluegrass, acoustic tunes, alternative music, Celtic melodies or other music fill the air around the pool, and combined with a microbrew or a glass of wine, creates the perfect atmosphere for mom and dad, too.
What you need to know to go:
.25 miles east of Norris, Mont. on Hwy 84
October-April: Wednesday-Friday 4pm-10pm, Saturday & Sunday 2pm-10pm.
$5 per person, $7 at 7 pm Thursday – Sunday to support live music.