Norris was named for Alexander Norris, owner of the Norris Ranch. Norris was a business center for five mining districts: Lower Hot Springs, Upper Hot Springs, Washington, Meadow Creek, and Norwegian Gulch. Some of the properties were placer claims. Lode mines were discovered by the late 1860s. Including the Washington district, the totals from 1864-1930 were $3.9 million from gold. The Northern Pacific Railroad built a branch line with the terminus at Norris in 1890 and Norris became an important shipping point for cattle ranchers.(from Cheney's Names on the Face of Montana, Mountain Press Publishing Company)
The town is on Hot Spring Creek, and for years miners, cowhands, and travelers sought out a warm bath in the Norris Plunge. Today, Norris Hot Springs offers guests a soak in mineral water pouring from the earth's depths at 120 degrees. Clean, clear, hot water bubbles up through smooth planks into an historic wooden pool. Live music under the stars issues from the poolside stage in the geodesic dome.
Not far from Norris is the Bear Trap Canyon Wilderness on the Madison River. This recreation area with boat access from the south end offers rafters a nine mile float trip through whitewater and a scenic canyon with 2,000 foot cliffs; featuring the famous Class V 'Kitchen Sink' rapid as the climax of the trip.