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Montana’s resorts–spas, massages, hot springs, and powerhouse cuisine–complement a day of skiing and winter exploration like nothing else. With all kinds of options, here are some of our favorite spots in Montana to really treat yourself.

This article has been created in partnership between Matador and our friends at the State of Montana.

LONG BEFORE the hot springs of Montana were ‘discovered,’ Native Americans were using them for the healing powers of their “smoking waters.” Later, settlers realized the growing popularity and commercial value of the springs. The evolution of the Montana resort was underway.

Once you’ve decided to come to Montana, the decision about which of the many springs to visit might be the hardest part of your stay. Here are a few of our favorite spots. We strongly recommend you utilize our Montana Resource page along with this guide to help plan your winter Montana itinerary.

Spa at Whitefish Lake

The Spa at Whitefish Lake is your gateway to several winter activities in the area. There’s easy access from your lodge to Glacier National Park — where you can enjoy cross country skiing, snowshoeing, and wildlife spotting — the slopes of Whitefish Mountain Resort, or the more local Blacktail Mountain Ski Area. Even closer is ice fishing, dog sledding, and ice skating.

Back at the lodge, the spa has one of the largest selections in the state including aromatherapy, massages, facials, in-room treatments, plus nail and body treatments. There is both an outdoor pool and hot tub, along with the Boat Club Restaurant and Coffee Dock Café.

Lodging options range from single-bed to two-bedroom suites, starting around $155. Also available are lakeside condominiums around $200+; they come with fireplaces, decks, kitchens, and in-suite baths.

The Resort at Paws Up

This ranch, which ties back in to the history of Lewis and Clark and the later mining booms, is 30 miles northeast of Missoula in the peaceful Blackfoot River Valley town of Greenough. It has become the epitome of luxury, standing out from all other resorts in the Rocky Mountain West.

You may have already guessed the signature winter activity at Paws Up is dog sledding, with over 100 miles of trails for exploring the Garnet Mountain backcountry. There are snowmobile as well as cross country and snowsheing options, or you could go for a sleigh ride or ‘cowboy up’ on a winter horseback ride with their world-class saddle club.

No corners were cut as far as the dining and spa go, either. Their master chefs prepare five-star cuisine, focusing on local ingredients often harvested from their own property or along the seven miles of Blackfoot River running through the resort.

You may want to opt for the in-house spa options this time of year, for ‘Spa Town’ is usually set up in a meadow during the summer. Vacation homes and buildings of varying sizes provide the secluded and rustic lodging. Two bedroom meadow homes include all you need, along with a personal golf cart, for a winter rate of $665 per night.

The Ranch at Rock Creek

The Ranch at Rock Creek is a new, upscale resort less than two hours southeast of Missoula. It has 6,600 acres, comprehensive outdoor adventure options, and high-end amenities.

The 50+ miles of logging roads on the property give you access to cross country skiing and snowshoeing, or horseback riding. Downhill skiing is nearby at Discovery Basin and Snowbowl Ski Area.

The ranch is also equipped for sleigh rides, skeet shooting, ice skating, and offers gourmet cocoa making classes with their executive chef.

The Granite Lodge has fine dining, with the Silver Dollar Saloon as a good after-dinner option for bowling, music, and drinks. Lodging rates include nearly everything you could do, drink, or eat at the ranch. Prices start at $800 per night for double occupancy, going up to six-person guest lodges at $6,200.

Chico Hot Springs

Thirty miles north of Yellowstone Park in the Absaroka Mountain range is the historic natural spring-fed resort of Chico Hot Springs. The resort is a hybrid of luxury and family-style.

In 1865, a miner by the name of John S. Hackney penned the first written record of what is now Chico. In 1900, the main lodge opened, offering hot mineral water baths in wooden tubs. The complex has improved since then, adding a near Olympic-sized swimming pool and a 103F covered soaking pool.

There are two main restaurants: The Dining Room at Chico and a more casual option, the Poolside Grill. The Saloon features performances by local musicians.

A full-service day spa with massages, treatments, and individual packages is open daily. Other activities, including an on-site horse barn and nearby dog sled tours, can also be arranged. There is plenty of accommodation, starting with rooms in the main lodge between $49-$89, and up to $169-$345 for private mountainside cabins or chalets.

Fairmont Hot Springs

Fairmont Hot Springs is a full service, four season resort 15 miles west of Butte, in the shadow of the Continental Divide. There is an 18-hole golf course for summer recreation, as well a 350-foot waterslide into two Olympic-sized pools and soaking tubs.

In winter you can ice fish at Georgetown Lake Recreation Area, snowshoe, and cross country the Anaconda-Pintler Wilderness. There is also trout fishing in the Big Hole River.

An on-site massage studio can work out the kinks of an earlier tennis match, or you can soak away before visiting one of four restaurants and snack bars. Lodging options start at $149 per night, and there are discounted winter rates from January through May.

Triple Creek Ranch

Triple Creek Ranch is located in the Bitterroot Mountains, about 60 miles south of Missoula. Designed more as an adult resort, it has 23 luxurious cabins, ponds, and pools in the property below Trapper Peak.

The ranch offers a multitude of winter activities including horseback riding, snowshoeing, and cross country skiing. Helicopter rides are available leaving from the resort’s own helipad. They also offer many wine tastings, as well as cooking and nature classes, and a limited spa menu.

Dining is focused on gourmet world cuisine from traditional French dishes, Southwestern, West Indies, to Central American. There is also a state-of-the-art, award-winning wine cellar and showroom found as you enter the rooftop lounge.

The cabins at the Triple Creek Ranch vary in size, but all include a fireplace, fully stocked wet bar, and nearby hot tub. Rates start at $650 per night, including all meals, beverages, and most on-ranch activities.

COMMUNITY CONNECTION


If you’re going
to Montana, make sure to visit out Montana Focus page for more tips, ideas, and inspiration.

Luxury + High End


 

About The Author

Jon Wick

As if teaching American elementary kids isn't hard enough, a year ago, Jon decided to teach youngsters that don't speak his own language in South Korea. In doing so, he has broadened his travel resume around the Korean peninsula and Asia while discovering a passion for writing in the process.

  • http://wheretherebedragons.com Tim Patterson

    Chico hot-springs looks like a laid-back spot to relax…I really want to try X-country skiing to the hot-springs in Yellowstone sometime, too.

  • Tom Gates

    Just bookmarked this one. I’ve been meaning to get to Montana. May save up the pennies just to try Chico Hot Springs – sounds super relaxing.

    • http://wheretherebedragons.com Tim Patterson

      Remember, Tom, peeing in the hot-spring water is bad form.

  • http://matadortrips.com/ Hal Amen

    I’d love to try dog sledding for the first time in Montana. Wonder if I can swing it for this winter…

  • http://www.theexpeditioner.com Jon Wick

    Yeah, guys… Chico is amazing. With or without pee. Just heard a rumor of a haunting there- anyone know anything about that?

    Dog sledding is amazing just witnessing the sport- there is the Race To The Sky in Lincoln, MT every year which is awesome. To be actually standing on the runner of a sled… wow. You won’t even believe how powerful those pups are. Get on out here, Hal!

  • joshua johnson

    While y’all are having a soak at Chico I want to be horseback riding in the Bitterroots!

  • http://travelsofadam.com Adam

    Montana’s making all sorts of rounds in the travel blogosphere! I think it has something to do with that new Hugh Grant/Sarah Jessica Parker movie…. (which wasn’t really that great, but Montana sure looks beautiful!)

  • http://www.austinlehman.com Eric

    Chico is definitely a one of a kind resort. Connecting with the locals is always fun and the dining room is one of the best in Montana (try a side of Mac and Cheese). They do claim to have a haunted room and I believe they don’t even use the particular room anymore. There are several stories of ghostly encounters.

  • Heather K

    The new Hugh Grant/SJP movie was actually filmed in New Mexico or Arizona (I can’t remember exactly which state)…..which I find kind of funny.

    Montana is gorgeous. There are so many things to do and places to see. Glacier NP is one of my favorite places to go. Flathead Lake is full of fun things to do. Lots of fishing, white water rafting, hiking, camping, skiing, snowboarding, and all kinds of outdoor activities galore! I lived there for about 4 years and love to visit whenever I can. Oh, and like my current home state of Oregon….no sales tax!!!!

  • Ross

    A Winter trip to Big Sky to shred the gnar, finished off with the luxury and relaxation of spa treatments and massages, sounds like heaven. Sign me up!

  • http://www.kaleidoscopicwandering.com JoAnna

    I’ve been through Montana on a VERY LONG car ride, but I had no idea there were so many cool places to stay. I’d love to check out one of those spas or hot springs in the winter!

  • http://musictravelwrite.wordpress.com Michelle

    When I think dog sledding, I think Alaska. It’s pretty cool to know that I wouldn’t have to travel so far to see it, or even participate in it!

    • http://matadorabroad.com Tim Patterson

      We’ve got a little dog sledding in Vermont, but the snow can be a little unreliable and there just aren’t as many teams as out West. It’s absolutely a mind-blowing experience, though.

  • http://www.mikesryukyugallery.com Ryukyu Mike

    First the photos; Super shots; I think the girl with rocks on her back is a doll, though. Dog sledding, now that’d be the green way to go; outlaw all them gas burnin’ machines and tell folks tour on a horse or a sled or get the hell out from under the big sky.

    Jon,
    Wintertime in South Korea or Big Sky, which one’s colder?

    Cheers,
    Mike

    • http://www.theexpedtitioner.com Jon Wick

      SK by far (damn those Manchurian winds)

  • christine

    Hmm, I’m thinking next winter, this could be a possible Christmas/birthday expedition. I’ve been looking for a place to escape to for the last couple of years, and nothing has worked out. But you had me at hot springs. Now, I just gotta start saving up for the excursion.

  • http://thetravelersnotebook.com david miller

    when I was in my early twenties I used to laugh at these kinds of places. . .the point was being out in the woods, right?

    now i realize how good it can get to heal the body after pounding all day with hot springs soaks and a rejuvenating dinner, not just crawling into a sleeping bag after scarfing beans and rice.

    would love to take my family to any of these places.

    • http://www.theexpedtitioner.com Jon Wick

      Whew… It’s good to hear someone else is getting soft. Winter camping just isn’t what it used to be- I’ll take the hot springs any day, any time of year, really.

  • http://www.bearshapedsphere.blogspot.com Eileen

    I’m with Christine and Nancy, kind of freaked by the sheer brutality of the wolves’ kills. I know it’s in their nature, but for me, some things are better left unwatched. Still, a very intense trip. I’m a softie. Can we view the pups sometime?

  • http://www.bearshapedsphere.blogspot.com Eileen

    Sign me up for hotsprings after a long day of skiing, there’s nothing better. Except the sleep of the dead that follows!

  • http://theworldistoobig.wordpress.com Matt Scott

    I love this part of the States, it’s a shame so many travelers from this part of the world don’t even concider visiting there.If they read this I’m sure it would help change thier mind.

  • Adam Roy

    I like the idea of a 5-star resort paired with dogsledding. You gotta wonder – do the dogs get pampered too? I hope so :)

  • http://metalchick.net/travel Lindi

    You had me at “gourmet cocoa making classes”…

  • http://www.trophies2go.com Acrylic Awards

    I get homesick looking at these pictures. It really is god’s country! Living in the big city doesn’t cut it anymore. Let me offer you an award for this comprehensive post. Thanks for making my day.

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