Pray, Montana

Elevation: 5003 FT

Population: 681

County: Park

Pray is located along the Yellowstone River in the heart of the aptly named Paradise Valley, just a short drive from Yellowstone National Park. Picturesque views of the Absaroka Mountain Range in the Custer Gallatin National Forest are a dime a dozen here. It really is paradise, and with plenty of outdoor exploration to be had, like fishing, camping, cabin getaways and scenic hikes.

The heart of Pray is the historic Chico Hot Springs Resort and Day Spa, which has become one of the best places to stay in Montana, offering guests an authentic hot spring soak, fine dining, a saloon, gift shop, full day spa, hiking, fishing, horseback riding, mountain biking, dogsledding and cross-country skiing.

Fold head to Chico is for the perfect family vacation, romantic getaways, destination weddings, fly-fishing trips, or they make it their basecamp for adventure. Accommodations range from luxury to boutique to rustic. These open-air natural hot springs pools offer a total sublime soaking experience any time of year, from spring and summer stargazing to fall and winter warmups. 

True Story

When Chico first opened its doors, in 1900, a swim in the covered hot springs “plunge” cost just 10 cents. By 1912, owner Percie Knowles hired a doctor on-site to promote the healing power of the mineral pools as a cure for rheumatism, kidney disease, skin problems and other internal ailments. Within two years, a 20-room “hospital wing” was added onto the hotel, where one of the region’s first brain surgeries was performed.

Trip tip

Hit up Chico Hot Springs when live music is on tap. Weekends in the Chico Saloon are where the magic happens. The Chico Dining Room and Poolside Grille can’t be beat either. Executive Chef Dave Wells is a James Beard Award semi-finalist for “Best Chef in the Northwest.” Boasting one of the region’s finest wine lists in Montana, Chico is consistently recognized with Wine Spectator’s Best of Award of Excellence.

Live Like a Local

Take a day hike in the heavenly landscape of the Paradise Valley and then grab a day pass to Chico Hot Springs and stop in for a soak. If you’re the rugged outdoorsy type, you may even consider hiking to the top of Emigrant Peak at just under 11,000 feet. Start early, pack your bear spray, stay the course, eat up the views, and then bask in the post-summit soak Chico affords.

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