Thaw out along with the weather by soaking in this funky town’s many pools

Story by Myers Reece

A2014 profile about the community of Hot Springs in this magazine described the town as a “relic from a different era, if not an alternate reality,” where there was no cell service and a day in the town might have included a visit to Fergie’s Pub & Grill for one of its famous burgers, a tarot card reading at the Rainbow Zen organic café and a trip down the street to the Depression-era Symes Hotel, “a surreal gathering place where hippies and spiritual healers mingle with loggers and cattle ranchers.”

Four years later, the town continues to inhabit its own reality, but it eagerly invites visitors to come experience it for themselves. The payoff for making the trip isn’t just a cultural experience; it’s also the opportunity to choose from multiple natural warm and hot soaking pools to help you thaw out from winter.

Hot Springs, 65 miles southeast of Kalispell, is located along a stretch of eastern Sanders County that is strewn with hot springs created by subsurface geothermal activity, hence the town’s name. The waters are said to be among the most mineral-rich in the world, touted for their healing properties, giving the community its motto: “limp in, leap out.”

Whether you find that the waters heal, or whether you have any ailments that even need healing, there is a straightforward pleasure in the simple act of soaking in nature’s bubbling bathtubs. Symes, which also has steam rooms, might be the most well-known soaking destination in town, but there are pools throughout the area that provide steamy relaxation for similarly inexpensive prices, to warm both the body and soul.

As the owner of Alameda’s Hot Springs Retreat told this magazine, Hot Springs “is a place where people come to check out.” Do yourself a favor and check out the town, and in turn check out from the daily grind you’ve left behind.