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— updated 2012-03-30

Hot Springs, Montana — RMHI seminar location

Hot Springs is a small mountain town (population 600) in western Montana, about 80 miles northwest of Missoula and Missoula International Airport.

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Copyright ©1996-2004 by RMH-Publications Trust; all rights reserved.

Why our course participants like coming here

Hot Springs is a small, isolated town on the Flathead Indian Reservation in western Montana, 80 miles northwest of Missoula, 90 minutes from Missoula International Airport. It lies in a quiet valley surrounded by mountains and clean air. We are far from the hurly-burly of urbanized living, and have no fast food franchises, strip malls, or mega-shops to assault the eye or tempt the obsessed consumer. Cell phones do not work here, so leave them turned off; many visitors appreciate taking a vacation from these pesky devices. For the botanist and herbalist, interesting plant species and herbs are plentiful in the forest behind the town.

People love coming here — the clean air, relaxed atmosphere, and forested hills help to improve concentration and focus. Missoula International Airport is easily accessible from most other airport hubs, and the occasional extra costs involved in flying to Missoula are usually compensated by the inexpensive lodging once you arrive in Hot Springs. Convenient shuttle services between Missoula and Hot Springs are available for all RMHI course participants. Motel, hotel, grocery store, health food and herb store, restaurants, post office, and hardware store are located within easy walking distance of RMHI.

The area has several hot mineral pools available for public use. The hot springs water is heavily mineralized, has a slippery feel and sulphury odor - as one journalist commented, "like living in a fart". Pools have a maximum temperature of between 105 and 110 deg.F. The hot springs here have similar beneficial mineral content to those at Baden-Baden, Germany. The gliterati, however, continue to shun Hot Springs, Montana and head for Baden-Baden. There are no croissant shops here and pâté de foie gras is still likely to be confused with caulking compound.

Visitors have commented that coming into town feels like moving through a time warp (zero minus 40 earth years). Town dwellers are an eclectic bunch and include include ranchers, escapees from big cities, and nature lovers. Clothing fashions date from post-WWII; polyester leisure suits never became popular, and jeans, work shirts, and cowboy hats are too comfortable to give up. Trendy, fashion-conscious travelers speed out of town, never to return, but the more discriminating keep coming back for the clean air and the natural simplicity of our surroundings.

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If you will be flying into Missoula International Airport (85 miles from Hot Springs), drivers from either the Hot Springs Spa or the Symes Hotel are available to take guests to and from the airport. The fee is typically about $40 for one person each way. You are responsible for making final arrangements and verifying fees with your driver and letting him or her know of any changes; RMHI will be happy to assist you if you need help arranging a driver. (Pickups late at night and very early in the morning are more difficult to arrange, so please call RMHI for advice before scheduling a flight at such times.) As soon as you make your reservations, please let your driver and RMHI know:

  1. the airline, flight number, and city of origin of the flight arriving in Missoula
  2. time your flight arrives in Missoula
  3. scheduled departure time from Missoula for your return flight

We would appreciate a call on the morning of your departure to let us know you are on schedule.

To help you find the lowest air fares, here is a list of free online reservation systems:

  • Airline information on the Internet. http://www.iecc.com/airline/ - Good overview of what's available, with links to online reservation systems.
  • Travelocity Lowest-Cost Airfares. http://www.travelocity.com/ - one of the most comprehensive travel reservation systems on the Internet. First time users must complete a simple registration process.
  • Amadeus. http://www.amadeus.net/ - a large international CRS (successor to System One). For bookings you will need to contact a travel agent who subscribes to the Amadeus system.

For scheduled RMHI courses, if you are interested in car-pooling, ask the instructor if there are other registrants in your area. Specify whether you can drive or would like a ride.


Please make arrangements for lodging and transportation several months before each seminar/intensive in Hot Springs, Montana. Mention that you are attending an RMHI course, since the managers are familiar with RMHI attendees' needs, and may offer special discounts to RMHI students. Rates range from $250-400 per week.

  • Symes Hotel (406-741-2361). In addition to regular single/double hotel rooms, there are several separate apartment units available with multiple bedrooms, kitchenette, and dining room that may be suitable for groups of students who wish to share, or if you are bringing your family.
  • Alameda's Place (formerly Hot Springs Spa, 406-741-2283 - phone and fax). Single rooms, many with kitchenettes, to full apartments. Sprawled over a whole town block with tree-lined streets and a large central lawn with shade trees.

Meals and food

Lunch is included in all professional seminar packages, plus a buffet dinner (6pm) on your arrival the first evening. Renting a kitchenette unit is highly recommended for preparing your breakfasts and dinners.

  • Buck's Market (groceries), corner of Main St. and Wall St.
  • Camas Natural Foods, corner of Main St. and Wall St. diagonally across from Buck's.
  • Meals available on weekends at the Symes Hotel.

Misc., what to wear, hiking

Life in Hot Springs is informal, and plain, comfortable attire is appropriate. Warm clothing, hiking boots, rain-coat, canteen and knapsack are recommended for hiking. Though weather much of the year is pleasant, be prepared for cold in autumn, winter, and spring. Walking trails radiate from the town into the surrounding hills and woods; inquire about routes. A tribal recreation permit is required ($15 for entire year, $8 for 3 days) to travel or hike on tribal forest land.

Location of Hot Springs

Approximately 70 miles northwest of Missoula, as the crow flies. The turnoff to Hot Springs is a spur road heading to the west off of highway 28, half-way between Elmo and Plains, MT.

Directions from near Missoula, Montana: from Interstate 90, take the exit for Highway 93 North; drive 27 miles to the small town of Ravalli, at which you will turn left onto Highway 200 going west; drive 20 miles to the almost invisible town of "Perma" and turn right onto Highway 382; drive 16 miles and turn right onto Highway 28; drive about 3 miles and turn left onto the road to Hot Springs, which you will reach in about 2 miles.

The Rocky Mountain Herbal Institute is located within the town of Hot Springs. Contact us for street directions. We are within easy walking distance of downtown, the Symes Hotel, and Alameda's Place.