Lost Trail Hot Springs History
Gallogly Hot Springs, known as Lost Trail Hot Springs since the 70s, has long been a secluded stopping place for travelers crossing the Continental Divide at Gibbons Pass. As the old Indian trail climbs about 2000 feet in just three miles, it is an exceptionally hard trek, and people would stop at the quiet hot springs to rest before starting the long climb over the pass.
There have been residences at the hot springs since 1892, when a woman began building a cabin there so her invalid son could be close to the soothing waters. The woman only stayed there about two years and never quite finished her isolated cabin.
In 1894, a Mr. Denning became the first person to channel the hot water through a pipe. He diverted it to his cabin, a comfortable one with a stone fireplace about one-quarter mile from the springs. Unfortunately, a tree fell and crushed his cabin one day when he was away, so he, too, moved.
The next owners, Mr. and Mrs. Frank Allen, decided to capitalize on the mining boom in nearby Gibbonsville in about 1895. Gibbonsville had blossomed to about 5,000 people, and the Allens decided to build a hotel. They constructed a two-story house with fourteen rooms, but had not yet completed it when the mines ran out and the boom ended.
James Gallogly heard of the place through Mrs. Allen’s mother and father, whom he was boarding with in Gibbonsville. An assayer with the mines, he had enough money saved up to buy out the Allen’s interest in 1897. The springs were still federal property, so Gallogly had five years to prove up on them. Lonely, he invited his sister Mary A. “Polly”Gallogly to stay with him. Polly had only one arm, but was quite strong enough for the necessary work. They expected their brother Elmer, who was in poor health, to join them, but he owned a drug store in Butte and could not leave it.
Indians still frequented the springs, and Polly liked to tell the story of a passing brave’s proposal of marriage. She was doing her chores one day when an old Indian on his horse with an Indian woman behind him road up. He dismounted and began to talk to Polly. He noticed her missing arm, and for some reason, suddenly asked to marry him. Polly was astonished, and asked him about the woman on his horse. The brave looked at the woman in surprise, claiming never to have seen her before. Polly politely refused his offer, but speculated for years about whether or not the brave had proposed to the other woman at his last stopping place.
Polly and James were joined by their sister, Martha Blake, and her two children Edgar and Elsie in 1899. By 1907, James was working as a forest ranger, and the family spent summers at the Springs and winters at the Sula Ranger Station. At this time, a new road was built to the Big Store, and the Gallogly road was abandoned, soon becoming rutted and hard to travel.
The Big Store was on the other side of Gibbons Pass. It served high country settlers who lived where the climate was too severe to grow much of anything but hay. Bitterrooters grew vegetables and fruit and transported them over the pass to sell at the Big Store.
A ranch owned by Mr. Waugh, which was directly below the Gallogly place, provided horses for the farmers to pull their wagons over the pass. The three mile trip would take half a day, as the horses had to rest every wagon length. The horses could only go about 25 miles a day, and the nearest house over the hill was 25 or 30 miles away, so the farmers would often spend the night at the springs.
Going down the mountain on the other side was equally difficult for the wagons, and they had to tie a tree trunk to the wagon as a drag to slow it down. The discarded tree trunks became a real problem, so the Galloglys put up as sign “Leave Drag Here” where they wanted the trunks dropped.
The first car to challenge the pass was driven by a Mr. Gibson and a Mr. Brooks in the summer of 1905. They each drove a little two-cylinder Maxwell. With about 10 men pushing and pulling, they reached the halfway tree, a big buckskin pine. This was a common resting point and people had carved their names in it for years. The next attempt was by a Stanley Steamer, which took the route to Anaconda. It was successful, but only by taking two weeks and using a block and tackle.
By 1914, the road which had carried Lewis and Clark over the pass was gone. Mail was delivered to Sula, eight miles from the springs, by stage on Monday, Wednesday and Fridays. If the family wished to shop in Hamilton, they left the springs in the afternoon, spent the night at the Post Office in Sula, and caught the stage at 7 a.m. They had dinner at the Hammonds Hotel in Darby and reached Hamilton after the stores closed. They would stay the night at the Ravalli Hotel, shop the next day and repeat the trip home, reaching the Post Office at the 6 p.m. And home by 9 or 10 at night. Almost a four-day trip!
Work began on a new highway in 1935, and the road builders made camp at the springs. They also built a new road connecting the springs with the highway. James Gallogly also rebuilt the springs at this time.
The old house was torn down and two small cabins were built for the workmen. Water was piped one half mile from the springs in new piping. A bath house and a residence were also constructed. In 1941, the pool, dining room, and dressing rooms were built. James died not too long after this and the pool was closed to the public for the time. In 1954, a private boys camp was held there was it was not reopened to the public until the 1970s.
Current owners, Mary Dell and Stann Honey, are working to develop the Springs as a family resort. There are now ten cabins, including two Jacuzzi cabins, a motel, family reunion lodge and RV park as well as the outdoor pool, indoor hot tub, and dry sauna. The restaurant specializes in fresh dough, thin crust, NY Style Pizza and is open seasonally.
We hope you will enjoy your stay with us in the beautiful Bitterroot Mountains.
(Menu from the 1941 Grand Opening)
GALLOGLY SPRINGS OPENING
Sunday, July 27th, 1941
Reservations for the opening will be accepted until noon Friday, July 25. This arrangement for opening day only, and just includes dining room. Chicken dinner will be served for $1 per plate. Dinners will be served from 2:00 until 7:00 p.m. Inspection all day. Favors for everyone while they last. Swim in the most modern plunge in Montana. The water is just right, not too hot, not too cold. Clean picnic grounds near by. Rent a clean, insulated cabin over the weekend. Attractive weekly rates, Phone 23-F-41, Darby or write Gallogly Springs, Sula, Montana.
Lost Trail Hot Springs Resort is located at the base of Lost Trail Pass in the beautiful Bitterroot Valley of Western Montana. We have year round opportunities galore for photographers, bird watchers, nature lovers, hikers, bikers, hunters, fisherman – everyone! Halfway between Yellowstone and Glacier, make this your overnight getaway from the crowds as you journey on your jam-packed once-in-a-lifetime Montana experience!
Lost Trail Powder Mountain is six miles south of us and Chief Joseph Cross Country Trails is just one mile east of them. Chief Joseph has twenty-five miles of beautiful, groomed trails at the top of Chief Joseph Pass on Hwy 43. In that area you will also find trails for snowshoeing, snowmobiling and for winter fun with pets.