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Manley Hot Springs – Alaska
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Overview
Location

Manley Hot Springs, Elliott Highway, Alaska

Sights

Manley Hot Springs (actual hot springs), Manley Hot Springs town

Fees

$5 per person per hour

Water Info

The hot springs were nice and toasty - above 100 degrees Fahrenheit

Best Season

All

Hours

Open to 8 or 9 pm

Restrooms

None located at the hot springs greenhouse.
There are also NO changing rooms either.

Camping

There are some camping spots in town for a fee

Food

Bring your own food and drinks. The roadhouse offers food for $$

Equipment

Swimming suit, towel, flip-flops, drinking water

Driving Directions


Purchase the PDF guide here!  The PDF guide is the same as the trek guide on this page but you can download it and use it on your phone while you’re out at Manley Hot Springs!

22 pages – 4.2 MB

The Trail:

Note: Manley Hot Springs is the name of the town.  The developed hot springs in this trek are called the “bath house” or the “greenhouse”.

A Brief History of Manley Hot Springs

Back around the 1900’s there were mining and farming operations in the area.  The town wasn’t originally named Manley but it was called Baker’s Hot Springs.  A man named Frank Manley built a resort around the hot springs that had 45 guest rooms and even a bowling alley.  The town grew to about 500 hundred residents around 1910 but the resort burned down in 1913 and soon the mining operations slowed or stopped making almost all of the residents leave the area.  The town was eventually named Manley Hot Springs in 1957.

Before You Go

It is important to know that you need to call and make a reservation BEFORE you go out to the springs.

Listed below is the number you must call in order to make a reservation.  We simply called and asked when is the next available time for the hot springs and the guy at the other end said there was an opening at 6pm that same night for one hour.

The man took my name down and said it would be $5 per person per hour and we pay in cash at their private residence.  The guy was very friendly and made sure we knew the directions and if we got lost we could call them back for help.

How it then works is that the person at the other end of the phone will give you directions to their private residence in town to pick up the key to the “bath house” (the greenhouse where the hot springs are located), drive down a different road to visit the bath house, enjoy your time there and when you are finished you return the key to the same house where you picked it up.  It might seem confusing, and strange, but it actually didn’t cause us any problems whatsoever.  Plus it gave us an opportunity to speak with a few locals about the area.

Click the button to see number.    Manley Hot Springs Phone Number

Also, the road (Elliott Highway) going out to Manley Hot Springs is dirt and gravel but had a few spots of concrete or asphalt pavement.  The road was pretty rough in some locations and due to the remoteness of the town you should bring a spare tire.  We brought an air compressor too just in case!  It took us about 3 1/2 hours to get from Fairbanks to Manley Hot Springs so it is important to give yourself some extra time so you don’t overlap into your hot springs reservation.

Before You Go Check-List

  • Call phone number to make a reservation
  • Drive out to Manley Hot Springs (make sure you have enough fuel to go there and back)
  • Pick up Bath House key from the private address
  • Drive to the greenhouse where the hot springs (bath house) are located.
  • Enjoy your time in the hot springs!
  • Once your time limit is over return key to the private address

Elliott Highway

Just leaving Fairbanks

We began our trip to Manley Hot Springs from Fairbanks.  We drove the 78 miles from Fairbanks until we got to the turnoff to Manley Hot Springs.  The dirt road was rough in a few spots but overall I think most cars and trucks could make this journey without having any problems.  That being said, I would be prepared for flat tires and make sure to fill up somewhere in Fairbanks before you head out.

Just about the 78 mile marker you will come to a sign pointing left to Manley Hot Springs.  Turn here and take the remaining 77 miles until you come to the bridge leading into the town.

Manley Hot Springs

We took a few pictures along the way.  You can see that the road was smooth in most parts but it was rough and bumpy in some others.  And there was a few miles where DOT was doing construction.

Manley Hot SpringsManley Hot Springs Manley Hot Springs

Manley Hot Springs

Manley Hot Springs

Right before you get into town you will come to a one-lane bridge which crosses over a slough.  Cross over and continue down the road and go passed the airport following the road as it curves to the left.

Manley Hot Springs

Keep going down the road until you see a sign on the left side which says “Bath House Key” pointing you to the private residence where you will need to pick up the key to the bath house.  I won’t post a picture of their house but just follow the signs until you come to it.  Just knock on the door and someone will come take payment and give you a key.  When we visited a nice woman answered the door and knew exactly who we were.  She took our $5 per person and gave us a key which you will need to return at the end of your visit to the same house.

Please remember to be respectful while on their property and the hot springs property.

Manley Hot Springs

Pick up the key and drive back over the bridge at the beginning of town…

Bath House Key

Bath House Key

…until you see another sign pointing you left to where the bath house is located.  You can’t see in the picture below but there was a sign on my right side which pointed left to the bath house.

Take a left where that red truck is located

Take a left where that red truck is located

Go down the road until you see a large green house which is next to a creek.  There was a small pull-in where we parked our SUV.Manley Hot Springs Manley Hot Springs

The door has a lock with a few signs saying that tobacco, alcohol and even using soap in the springs is prohibited.  Once inside, you can lock the door behind you because according the woman we spoke with earlier she said we “have the entire place to ourselves for our reservation time.”

Manley Hot SpringsManley Hot Springs

Once inside you will immediately notice the smell of tropical flowers – at least we did.  There are all sorts of plants and fruit inside the greenhouse.  We found grapes, tomatoes and what appeared to be pear trees.  The grapes are literally growing right above your head as you relax in the springs!  While it is tempting to pick some of this “forbidden” fruit you must remember that the greenhouse is someone’s personal property and they do not allow you to pick any of the plants or fruit.

The temperature inside the greenhouse was around a very pleasant 73 degrees Fahrenheit.

By the way, there are no changing rooms or restrooms in the greenhouse.

Manley Hot Springs Manley Hot Springs

You can quickly see that this environment makes it seem like you are in Hawaii or some tropical place!

Manley Hot Springs Manley Hot SpringsManley Hot Springs

There are four square concrete hot tubs which get hot spring water pumped up automatically.  If you get too hot, there is a single hose on the western side which pumps in cold water so you can fill up the metal pitchers to pour on yourself like we did a few times.  The tubs could easily fit 8 people or more in them.  When we sat down inside the tubs the water level was right at our neck so it was quite a comfortable setup!

It was so comfortable that we almost forgot the time!  Good thing there is a clock we could periodically check to make sure we didn’t overlap into the next visitor’s stay.

The hot springs were probably around 103 degrees Fahrenheit and we didn’t smell any noticeable sulfur or other mineral-type smells.

Manley Hot Springs Manley Hot Springs

Beautiful walkways

Beautiful walkways

Manley Hot SpringsManley Hot Springs Manley Hot Springs Manley Hot Springs Manley Hot Springs Manley Hot Springs Manley Hot Springs Manley Hot Springs Manley Hot Springs Manley Hot Springs

Cold water hose. I wouldn't drink from this

Cold water hose. I wouldn’t drink from this

Manley Hot SpringsManley Hot SpringsManley Hot Springs Manley Hot Springs Manley Hot Springs

The Return:

Make sure you return the key before you go back to Fairbanks!

When our time was over we returned the key and wanted to check out the Manley Roadhouse – which isn’t connected the the hot springs we just visited.  We opened the doors and found only a few people in the bar area.  No one seemed interested in welcoming us or asked if we wanted something to eat (maybe they were closed for the night??).  After checking the menu and saw $18 for a chicken strip basket with fries, we peeked in the bar and found an employee who was staring at us like we didn’t belong.  The building itself is historic with lots interesting things to see but I would skip the restaurant and bring your own food and have a picnic outside instead!

Manley Roadhouse

Manley Roadhouse

Manley Roadhouse

Manley Roadhouse

Manley Roadhouse

Manley Roadhouse

Manley Roadhouse

Manley Roadhouse

Personal Thoughts:

Visiting Manley Hot Springs was quite the adventure.  It encompassed so many different aspects such as hot springs, bumpy dirt roads, historic buildings and more.  It is a long drive from Fairbanks so you may even want to find a camping spot and spend the night.  I would honestly say that a drive out here just for the hot springs is worth it!

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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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