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Chena Hot Springs Resort – Fairbanks Alaska
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Overview
Location

Outside Fairbanks Alaska – Interior Alaska

Sights

Hot springs, pristine location, ice museum, flight seeing, dog kennel tours, ATV tours and hotel

Distance

Most services and activities begin near the hotel Front Desk.

Parking Lot Elevation

1,182 ft

Summit Elevation

No summit

Elevation Gain/Loss

N/A

Time Required

1+ hours. Depending on activity

Pets

Yes. Please keep on leash. Pet friendly rooms are available

Fees

Yes. Depending on if you are touring the ice museum, hot springs, staying at the hotel or doing the establishment tour.

Water Info

Drinking fountains around the area. Creek nearby. Hot springs have very hot water

Best Season

All. Winter offers incredible views of the northern lights and the hot springs are very inviting during -40 degrees.

Hours

Open year round. Each activity has different hours. Please call for current hours of operation.

Sun Exposure

Many birch and spruce trees offer plenty of shade around the area. The hot springs are not under shade.

Trail Condition

Trails around the hotel, ice museum and hot springs are paved. There are a few dirt trails outside of the hotel establishment but all are clear.

Restrooms

Many available

Visitor Center

Yes

Camping

Camping and RV camping are available for rent. Also, yurts and of course hotel rooms are available for rent

Food

Bring food and snacks. Restaurant and bar available but food is typically on the higher price end.

Equipment

Swim suit, towel and good hiking shoes if you are going to use the many trails around the area.

GPS Coordinates:

Chena Hot Springs Resort: 65° 3’12.91″N, 146° 3’29.79″W

Trail Map:

Driving Directions:

From Fairbanks, Alaska take the Steese Highway until you come to the Chena Hot Springs Rd.

Chena Hot Springs Resort is located 56.2 miles at the very end of the Chena Hot Springs Rd.

You will not take any turns at all.

The Trail:

Great place to relax and enjoy the surroundings

Great place to relax and enjoy the surroundings

From the parking lot you will see a long stretch of leveled land, this is the airport landing strip, please stay clear of this area.

To the north of the resort is the RV and camping area.  To the south is the hot springs, ice museum, hotel area.

Activities

There are many activities to enjoy depending on if you are a visitor in the summer or winter months.

ATV rides, horseback riding, hiking, ice museum tours, hot springs relaxing, greenhouse tours, flight seeing, dog mushing tours, bike rentals, snow coach tours, snow machine tours, cross country skiing tours, northern lights viewing, massages and more.

The Activity Center has a list of everything you can do – of course almost all of these activities comes with a price.

Inside the ice museum

Inside the ice museum

The ice museum is located closest to the parking lot.  If you are visiting in the summer months it is a great way to cool off inside and grab an apple martini served in an ice “glass”. Inside the museum you will see many ice sculptures and creations including a “hotel room”

Ice sculptor classes are available as well.

The restaurant and bar offers good eating and alcohol but at a price. You are about 50+ miles from the city so expect to pay extra for most offerings here.  Many of the produce the restaurant uses is naturally grown here at the resort.  I’ve eaten here a few times and it is pretty good.

Hot Springs

Hot Springs

The hot springs are the main attraction!  The are well-maintained and offer a relaxing experience.  I have used the hot springs in the summer months and the temperature is sometimes on the verge of being unbearably hot – due to the hot summer weather!

Fresh water from the nearby creek is used to cool down the hot springs a little bit but the temperature usually feels just like a hot tub or hotter.

During the winter months as the temperature drops considerably and the Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis) become more visible,you will enjoy sitting in the springs and watching the sky light up.

The hot springs also has an indoor pool with two hot tubs next to a small coy fish pond.  The outdoors area has the large hot springs with another hot tub area and a deck to relax and hang out on.  In the hot springs there is a large sprinkler type device that sprays water over parts of the area.

You can find plenty of places to hang out and relax on the rocks that surround the hot springs.  There is a hand guide rail that leads into the pools.  The hot spring pool has a gravel bottom.

Northern Lights Viewing

Chena Hot Springs is an incredible place for viewing the Northern Lights.  The hot springs are located in a flat(ish) valley where you have great visibility and also the springs is located more than 50+ miles outside of town so light pollution won’t be an issue.  And the best part is, you get to view the Aurora Borealis while relaxing in hot springs!

We visited on August 31 and the lights were beginning to “come out” around midnight and dance across the sky!

For a good place to check for Aurora forecasts, check out the Fairbanks Geophysical Institute.

Northern Lights as seen from Chena Hot Springs Resort.

Looking directly overhead

 

Personal Thoughts:

The Chena Hot Springs Resort is a wonderful area for people to enjoy the peace and quiet of the wilderness but not skip out on modern conveniences and accommodations.  I recommend coming out here and experience the hot springs, ice museum and the many other activities!

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Chena Hot Springs in Fairbanks Alaska

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Difficulty is basically the length, duration and stress of the Trek.  If the Trek is really long then it will receive a higher rating. If the Trek is short then it won't receive that high of a rating. However, difficulty rating also includes how tired we were at the end of the Trek.

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Enjoyment is strictly how much fun we had doing the Trek. Regardless of how tired and exhausted we were, if we had a ton of fun doing the Trek then it will receive a higher rating.

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About The Author
Jeff Johnson
Questions or comments? I'd love to hear from you! JeffTJohnson@ymail.com

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