Normally, you pay to get in, but last night some pipes froze and the pool didn’t quite refill. It takes about 8 hours to go from empty to full, and by the time they opened at 2pm the pool had only 2.5-3 feet of water. So, they let us in free and it was perfect.
Norris Hot Springs used to be kind of a seedy place. The owner, Doris (or was it Dolores? Something that rhymes with Norris) was pretty mean. I’d only seen her yell at someone once, but the rumor was that she had quite a temper.
Anyway, the new owners seem very nice and they’ve really upgraded the place. There is live music in the dome several nights a week, a cafe with locally grown and organic food (plus good beer and wine) and you don’t have to travel across the parking lot in the dead of winter (wet) to use the rest rooms.
The cafe is called “NO LoOSE DOGS SALOON” in deference (or mockery) of a sign Doris had spray painted on the old bathrooms. She originally wrote “No Lose Dogs”, but someone must have mentioned the misspelling to her and she later squeezed in another “o”.
The hot spring pool is the main reason you go, of course, and it is the perfect temperature of warm. It’s an old wooden pool with space between the slats of wood where the water comes up from underground. The view of the snow covered hills and sagebrush flats is awesome.
Another great thing the new(er) owners are doing is making environmentally conscious decisions about how they run the place. In addition to the local and organic food, they have set up recycling bins and they charge a little more for the booze and give it to you in a reusable logo cup.
Just the Facts
Where: quarter mile east of Highway 287, on Highway 84 at Norris, Montana
Contact: 406-685-3303 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Cost: $5 per person
If you love hot springs as much as I do, you might want to check out this book.