Jackson Hot Springs

Smack in the middle of the Big Hole Valley’s spectacular scenery sits Jackson Hot Springs, where Lewis and Clark wrote about stopping and cooking their meat in the hot water. Not to worry, the mineral waters here are now cooled to range from about 94°F to 103°F. The pool used to be inside but the owners moved it outdoors, cleverly leaving walls around the pool to shield bathers from the wind. The walls have tons of windows, so you can drench yourself in Big Hole Valley vistas as you soak in the great water. Aaaah!

The rustic Jackson Hot Springs Lodge is a favorite hangout, with its huge, old-fashioned dance floor lobby, tavern, cozy fireplace, wide array of rooms and cabins, and restaurant. Just down the road you can find ski hills, snowmobiling, world class fly fishing, ghost towns, crystal digs, miles of mountain hiking trails, mountain biking, horseback riding, and the historic Big Hole Battlefield. And, everywhere you look, dramatic mountains.

At Jackson, the pool is drained and cleaned every Wednesday. The pool is open from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. Wednesday mornings and then again for soaking around the dinner hour. Children must be at least three years old and potty trained to go in the pool.

To get to Jackson Hot Springs, head down the Bitterroot Valley, climb the pass, and turn left. To call ahead, the number is (406) 834-3151.