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“Great food in the lodge”

Elkhorn Hot Springs
Ranked #2 of 3 things to do in Polaris
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Attraction details
Owner description: The perfect place to take a dip to soothe tired muscles.
Reviewed September 1, 2012

I ambled over from the USFS campground and had a delicios dare I say gormet dinner. Only the chef was working and he did duty as waiter and bartender too. The place is quite rustic so it was a plesant surprise to get such a fine meal. The presentation was more like a stylish restaurant. At any rate it was quite good. I didnt get to take a bath because it was late and they were closing.

3  Thank Pasomonte
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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54 - 58 of 67 reviews

Reviewed July 4, 2012

Place is cheap, but impossibly run down. I was a Peace Corps Volunteer for three years in Africa, and this place had the single worst smelling pit toilet I have EVER been subjected to. You will be MUCH happier staying at the beautiful campground just down the road.

8  Thank DocWard
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 30, 2012

This rustic hot springs is located in one of Montana's most scenic valleys, in the middle of nowhere, especially in the winter. A friend and I stayed in a rustic cabin, which was fine--just a wood stove, two queens and electricity--but a little pricey, even though breakfast and the hot springs soak is included. The main lodge is a little run down, does not have a full bar by any means, and a very weird atmosphere. The service was dismal, but the food is actually quite good. The hot springs--with the exception of the changing room--is very run down. The water is great, but the pools need cleaning and the decking is in poor condition. The snow was not even shoveled around the deck, making it nearly impossible to get to the big pool. All in all very disappointing, this could be such a cool place if the people cared at all. Worth it if you know what you're getting into, otherwise keep driving to Jackson Hot Springs. We laughed and came up with a new motto for this place: "Elkhorn Hot Springs" We Would Actually Prefer It If You Didn't Come."

12  Thank BigSkyEditor
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 29, 2011

I was not sure exactly what to expect on our visit to Elkhorn Hot Springs, but I went with an open mind knowing ahead of time that it would be rustic. We got a much later start on our trip than was expected, and this was our first stop of 3 different hot springs in Montana. Our late start was compounded by a severe snow storm and very slick roads. We let them know we would be there by around 8, and yet we didn't reach the location till nearly 11:30. After carefully working my way around a resident moose and her yearling calf (it was pretty neat, they were only about 20' away and barely acknowledged our presence as they were grazing), I had to decide which cabin had someone living in it full time and then knock on their door. Fortunately they were awake. Since we were the only people staying there that night all cabins were open and they told us to take our pick of any cabin since there was so much snow and our car might not have been able to make it to the smallest cabin we were wanting to stay at. After some thought, it seemed to make the most sense to try to make it to the smallest cabin since it would be easier to heat up a smaller cabin with the wood stove. It took a few tries, but we were able to make it to the flat parking area at the cabin we wanted to stay at. We unloaded our stuff and got the fire started. Everything was available...kindling was split, paper was there, matches were on hand, and enough wood to make it through the night, and to our delight there was electricity in the cabin. When we were checking in, we were informed that we would be welcome to let ourselves into the pools, even though it was after hours, since we were the only ones up there. Even though it was pretty late, we decided to take them up on their offer and we went for a soak.
It was very nice having the place to ourselves!
They have essentially 3 different pools. One of them is indoors and is the hottest of all of them. I believe they call it a "greek sauna". It is a hot pool of water inside a fairly small room (about 12'x12' or possibly a bit larger) that is lined with cedar wood. It is essentially a steam room in which you relax in hot water instead of sitting on a bench covered with a towel. It is a very unique feature that I have not seen anywhere else in my travels.
The other two pools are located outdoors which was great to sit in with all the snow falling. One of them is nearly an Olympic sized swimming pool. This pool is somewhere in the ballpark of 90*....warm enough for just sitting and soaking in and cool enough for swimming and playing around. I do not recall exactly what the temperature was, but the temperatures of all 3 pools, and also the fountain of water which I will describe in a moment, are all listed on a board as you leave the building which houses the changing rooms and sauna/steam room/hotpool. I would assume that the temperature fluctuates a small amount depending on outside air temperature.
The third pool is located slightly lower than the large pool and is warmer than the large pool. The very unique feature here is a large 12" diameter pipe that gushes hot water down from a height of somewhere around 8 or 9 feet. The water is just bearable to stand under, but not for a extremely long time depending on how tough you are! The feeling was incredible to have such a tremendous amount of water gorging over you! It was very enjoyable!
After spending a couple of hours relaxing in the different pools we decided it was time to turn in. We got back to our cabin to find that it was still a bit cool but warm enough. We loaded the stove up as full as we could get it and went to bed. The bed was comfortable enough, sheets and bedding were clean, and extra blankets were provided and were used.
I did have the foresight to bring in the wood we would need for the night so that I wouldn't have to go outside and I would recommend doing this if you are not familiar with heating with wood. I also kept my flashlight close at hand. I did have to wake up at some point in the middle of the night to load more wood into the stove and having the flashlight close by meant that I didn't have to turn the lights on and wake up my wife. This time I closed up the damper now that it was warm enough and the cabin was thoroughly heated. It made it till early morning before I had to add wood again and open the damper to get it nice and toasty warm before getting out of bed. The only complaint I have with the place is that the wood stove does not hold quite enough wood to make it through the night without having to be tended to. I'm sure that it might have something to do with a safety issue...it's not often that a person can rent a place that has wood heat due to safety reasons.
Free breakfast is included with an overnight stay. The person who checked me in the night before had the presence of mind to ask what time we would like breakfast at. I think that normally they just serve breakfast at a set time, however with us being the only ones up there, I think that it was very relaxed and they were willing to cater to us a bit. It was a nice touch because it might have been a bit tough getting out of bed too early; we were up kinda late! Breakfast was also a pleasant surprise. I was expecting more of a continental breakfast that is frequently served at hotels. The breakfast I got was closer to something that you would get at a mom-and-pops diner. Bacon, scrambled eggs, toast, hashbrowns, orange juice and milk. It was a very relaxed help-yourself-to-some-coffee-and-breakfast-will-be-right-out kind of place.
After he made breakfast the owner had a cup of coffee with us and we discussed some improvements he is working on. He is currently working on piping hot water from the springs into several of his cabins for heat. I believe that he said one or two of the cabins are already finished. The main lodge has been heated this way for many years now.
So, to sum it all up, I would recommend this place to most people. It was a very unique and enjoyable experience. However, if you are a bit of a pansy and are not accustomed to "roughing it" at least to a small degree I would recommend that you stay in the main lodge. However if you enjoy trying new things and understand ahead of time that you are not renting just some traditional motel room I think that you will enjoy this place very much!

18  Thank Eric J
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 20, 2011

For the record, I live in Dillon, Montana about 50 miles away and have been here more than once, and will end up going again. I have property near by and it's the only place for a soak unless I drive all the way to Jackson Hot Springs (which if you're planning a trip at a distance, I recommend doing and skipping this place). After reading the reviews, I thought I'd add my two cents as well.

The review "Unrealized Potential" says it all. This could be a charming destination with a scrubbing, a little paint and some owners that took some pride. I seriously think it wouldn't be all that hard to turn this place into a gem, and it makes me angry that it's been neglected for so long. "The Elkhorn Business Model" has become a local joke. It has a yearly closure 'for cleaning and painting" after which it opens back up and looks exactly the same - run-down and scummy. All that said, EHHS is in a great location and beautiful setting with recreation opportunities abounding. However, when you can't be bothered to pick up the trash in the parking lot from week to week, it says a lot about the attitude of the owners. The grungy guy sitting there taking your money can't do more than grunt when you greet him, and he's always standing outside smoking and throwing his butts on the ground. If you ask him how business has been, he'll give the same one word response - "slow". Well, no SH__! The dressing rooms are dirty and the plumbing is broken, and there's no possible way I'd stay in the hantavirus hotel. One look at the dust and cobwebs in the lobby will tell you about the condition of the rooms. If you're looking for lodgings while you ski at Maverick Mountain, stay down the valley at the High Country Lodge (awesome accommodations for the price), or the Grasshopper Inn, whose new owners have been working hard to turn it into a great little hotel and restaurant. Unless you're desperate for a soak and a shower, I'd skip this place.

11  Thank XtraBlu
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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