This venerable resort (13 miles north of Hwy. 278 on Hwy. 484, 406/834-3434 or 800/722-8978, www.elkhornhotsprings.com ) is the other popular lodging for skiers.
Cross-country skiers converge here; with 25 miles of cross-country trails managed by the resort, an entire mountain range of informal trails to explore, and a good hot soak to come home to, this is near-heaven (at an elevation of 7,385 feet, literally so). In summer the hot springs are popular for hikers. There are two outdoor mineral pools plus a sauna, and it costs $6 ($4 for kids) for a swim.
Rooms are either in the lodge ($40 and up, bathroom down the hall) or in rustic cabins scattered among the trees. The restaurant in the lodge is open for three meals a day. Cabins, with electricity and wood-burning stoves but no plumbing (an outhouse is shared with neighboring cabins), start at $80 for a double (swimming included). Don’t come to Elkhorn Hot Springs expecting a trendy New Age getaway; it’s funky and remote, and with that in mind, charming and relaxing.
If you want to stop at Elkhorn for a swim and a soak but would prefer to camp out, the very pretty Forest Service Grasshopper Creek Campground (June–mid-Sept., $8) is less than one mile down the road. Pick up the Blue Creek trail just south of the campground and head into the West Pioneers. North of Elkhorn Hot Springs are several more campgrounds and trailheads.