Chena Hot Springs Resort was developed around the hot springs that were discovered in the late 1800s. In fact, the resort celebrated their 100th anniversary in 2005! It is said that prospectors came from miles around to soak in the hot mineral springs found here. With the air temperature hovering around -10° F during the day, the steam could be seen rising from the Hot Springs Rock Lake, creating ice formations all along the edge on the rocks that border the lake.
When you arrive at the swimming area, you will enter a bathhouse type changing room. Lockers are available for a quarter so that you can protect your clothing and other belongings. There are also bathrooms and showers here. If you choose to swim inside, there is a swimming pool that is fed from the hot springs. The water temperature is maintained at just over 90° F and is chlorinated.
Outside, you will find the centerpiece of the Chena Hot Springs Resort... the Hot Springs Rock Lake! With a zero entry walk-in ramp, entry and exit into the lake is very easy. The bottom of the lake has sandy base and many go into the lake barefoot to swim. The water level was just about chest high (approximately four feet deep)... and at 106° F it was very soothing. As the steam rises from the lake, the water condenses and caused icicles to form on your hair. Many went completely “under” the water so as to create an ice formed “helmet” because the water froze almost immediately. Possibly the worst part of a visit in the middle of winter is getting out of the warm bath water and having to hustle inside to the locker room area.
While there are two hot tubs here (one inside and another outside) they were unoccupied. I suppose when you are at a hot springs spa, there is no reason to soak in a hot tub.
The swimming pool and lake are open from 7am until midnight daily. There is no lifeguard outside so you will be swimming in the lake at your own risk. Additionally, children under the age of 18 are not permitted in the lake. Overnight resort guests have complimentary use of the swimming facilities on the day of arrival and the day of departure, as well as all days of their stay. Day guests can buy a pass for $10 per person per day at the pool reception building. While towels are provided free of charge to resort guests, those visiting for the day will be charged $5 for use of a towel during their stay. After you shower and are ready to get dressed, they do have hair dryers available so that you don’t have to go back outside with wet hair.