Updated on December 27, 2020
Are there hot springs in Alaska? Yes, there are. And one of the best hot springs in Alaska is for sure Chena Hot Springs near Fairbanks. So, if you plan an Alaska Road Trip, especially the northern part, it’s worth to add Chena Hot Springs Resort to your Alaska Itinerary. Furthermore, it’s a perfect place if you are looking for the Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis) during your trip. So, check our photos, review, and lots of hints before you go.
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Where are hot springs in Alaska?
Alaska has many hot springs. In this article, we focus on one of our favorite Chena Hot Springs Resort in the north. However, you should know that there are more hot springs in this fabulous state. Lot’s of them are wild.
So, if you plan to visit only south of the state, there are Baranof Warm Springs, Goddard Hot Springs, White Sulphur Hot Springs in the Southeast, near Sitka.
If you are going to the Wrangell – St.Elias National Park, you can soak in Hief Shakes Hot Springs.
In the north interior, you will find Tolovana Hot Springs. But, getting to these hot springs in Alaska is a challenge. They are located 45 air miles northwest of Fairbanks, and they can be reached via an 11-mile strenuous hike trail or by plane.
Circle Hot Springs is another spring about 130 highway miles from Fairbanks.
But now let us tell you why you should go to Chena Hot Springs Resort near Fairbanks?.
What is Chena Hot Springs Resort?
Chena Hot Springs is a charming year-round open resort surrounded by beautiful nature. You can stay there overnight, or you can use the awesome Alaska natural outdoor hot springs, as well as indoor hot tubs and swimming pool during your day stay. So, you can visit it as a day trip from Fairbanks or as part of a longer stay at the resort. What makes this place special is that it is one of the best places to see the Northern Lights in Alaska.
For sure this is one of Alaska’s most popular and accessible hot springs. So, if you plan to visit Denali National Park and Fairbanks, add Chena to your Itinerary.
How much does Chena Hot Springs cost?
Pool House & Hot Spring Day Pass is $12 for children and $15 for adults (Ages 18-59). The fee for seniors is $13. Towel Service is $5.
No charge for guests lodging at the Resort. The lodging price is approximately $210 per night, depending on the date. Check the prices and reviews.
PROTIP: If you plan to stay during the Northern Lights Season, we suggest you book your accommodation well in advance because the place is becoming more and more popular.
Chena Hot Springs in Alaska – directions
From Fairbanks, take 10th Ave to AK-2 W for 0.4 miles. Follow AK-2 W to Chena Hot Springs Rd. Take the Chena Hot Springs Road exit from AK-2 W, and follow Chena Hot Springs Road, which is 60 miles long and runs through the Chena River State Recreation Area’s incredibly picturesque setting. The road is fully paved and well-maintained. It is just a scenic 90-minute drive from Fairbanks.
If you don’t want to drive or have a limited time, consider an organized full-day tour from Fairbanks. It’s great if you have only one day and you would like to have a glass of wine and relax after soaking in hot springs.
PROTIP: If you plan your dream road trip to Alaska, you can take our 10-days Alaska Itinerary for 2021. Chena Hot Springs is not there. But add 3-4 days for it after camping in Denali. Go to Fairbanks and Chena Hot Springs and then back to the south.
Chena Hot Springs Northern Lights
If you’re in a season of Aurora Borealis, consider Northern Lights and Chena Hot Springs Tour from Fairbanks.
Fairbanks and its neighborhood are the perfect locations for observing the miracle of nature, as Northern Lights viewing. They are located under the “Auroral Oval,” a ring-shaped zone over the far north where aurora activity is concentrated. Furthermore, the area offers clear nights due to the distance from the coastal and low precipitation. So, the Fairbanks and Chena Hot Springs in Alaska area are considered one of the best places for Aurora Borealis viewing in the United States. It is such popular for Northern Lights viewing as Norway in Europe.
When is the best time to see the Northern Lights?
It is not 100% sure that you will be able to see the Aurora Borealis. Aurora Season in the Fairbanks area is from August 21 to April 21. It is estimated that the Aurora will be visible an average of four out of five nights when the sky is clear and dark.
It is also estimated that in the Fairbanks area, with a minimum stay of 3 nights, there is a 90% chance to see this amazing phenomenon. To have a dark sky, you have to get out of town. Chena Resort is in a remote area. The night is not disturbed by any city lights. So, you have a better chance of seeing the Aurora.
If the weather is fine, clear skies, and dark night you have a unique opportunity to view the dancing aurora borealis while soaking in hot water. Furthermore, Aurora wake-up calls can be arranged with the front desk staff in Chena Hot Springs Resort, which is great.
But even if you fail to see the Northern Lights, this place is just magical. It’s quiet and beautiful here. You can rest and relax after the Alaska road trip. And it’s worth coming here even for one day at any time of the year. So if you are planning your Alaska road trip in the early months of June or July, it is still worth coming here. For us, it’s one of the best hot springs in Alaska.
Things to do in Chena Hot Springs
Chena Hot Springs is not only a resort with geothermal water. There is no chance for boredom. Whatever if you plan a romantic weekend or family holidays, you have amazing activities for everyone.
Soak in the hot springs
Of course, you can be soaking all day in hot thermal water. It is all-natural water constantly flowing in and out of the hot springs lake, creating circulation and natural filtration. You have several indoor and outdoor tubs and great jacuzzis surrounded by rocks and trees. Furthermore, there is an indoor family swimming pool.
The most famous is outdoor Rock Lake (ages18+), which provides a wonderful and relaxing vantage point for watching northern lights in winter. However, it is a perfect place even during the day.
After relaxing in the water you can take massage therapy or go to the Chena Restaurant.
How hot is Chena Hot Springs water?
The springs in the geothermal area produce a steady stream of water that, at 165 degrees. Of course, it is cooled before visitors soak in.
The outdoor average temperature is 106 degrees F year-round. Furthermore, the outdoor natural hot springs lake is for adults only, ages 18+, and is not chlorinated.
Indoor heated pool average temperature is 90 degrees F.
The temperature of the 3 hot tubs is 100-104 degrees F. All hot tubs are chlorinated.
Visit Aurora Ice Museum
Even if you have only one day for your visit, don’t miss the Aurora Ice Museum. It is the world’s largest year-round ice museum with its very own ice bar, and you can admire ice sculptors’ creations. Finally, you can drink out of ice glasses. The place is exceptional.
Other activities in Chena Resort
Chena’s area located along Monument Creek is beautiful, and you can enjoy hiking, horseback riding, sled-dog cart rides, ATV tours, or mountain biking. Furthermore, there is a river nearby, so it’s possible rafting, canoe trips, fishing for grayling, gold panning. Flightseeing is also possible.
Tips for Visiting Chena Hot Springs in Alaska
- What do you wear to Chena Hot Springs? This hot spring is not clothing optional, so don’t forget a swimsuit.
- How long should you soak in hot springs? It is recommended to take short breaks every 20 minutes. During this time, it is worth drinking water so as not to dehydrate.
- Don’t forget a quick-drying towel. You don’t want to catch a cold after getting out of hot water into cold air. Of course, you can rent it, but it’s great to have one.
- Bring plenty of water to keep you hydrated. Drink water often.
- Bring a waterproof bag to store your mobile, documents, camera. Of course, there are lockers and showers. So you can leave your things in the cupboard. But if you want to take photos – it’s worth having something to hide the equipment, because there is a lot of moisture in the air.
- Keep Quiet. People want to soak themselves in hot springs, relax, admire nature. So, everyone should respect the serenity, and no one should be too loud.
- Please do not comment on the appearance of other folks. Be respectful. If you’re taking pictures, don’t photograph other people.
- Don’t use cosmetics in the pools—even the biodegradable kind. Don’t use soap, shampoo. Natural springs and the connecting waterways cannot support cosmetics. So respect this.
Is Chena Hot Springs in Alaska Worth it?
Without a doubt, the Resort Chena Hot Springs in Alaska is worth a visit. This place is unique, and if you are planning a 2-3 weeks stay in Alaska, it is worth adding it to your Itinerary. We hope to back there soon.
- You can find more of our suggestions on what to see in Alaska in our Alaska Travel & Photography Guide.
- Check out our Alaska Packing List before you set off on your road trip. We have been in this state on a road trip several times and share our best experiences.
- In this post, you will find a ready Alaska Itinerary for 10 days.