Chena Hot Springs is located approximately 60 miles from Fairbanks and was founded over 100 years by prospectors who came here to ease the pain of their arthritis and other ailments. At the time that the geothermal hot springs were discovered on Monument Creek in 1905, I’m sure they had no idea what would become of their little hidden discovery. By 1911 a regular little community was developing that included a stable, several cabins and a bath house. Today, Chena Hot Springs Resort has become a well known destination to Alaskans and international travelers alike, encompassing 440 acres within the Alaskan Interior wilderness. In addition to the main lodge (Moose Lodge), there are rustic cabins, primitive yurt tents, meeting facilities, a restaurant with lounge and the infamous Aurora Ice Museum. There is also an area for RV parking and camping for those who want a more primitive experience.
The Hot Springs Rock Lake maintains an average year round temperature of around 110° F and a depth of approximately four feet. The healing mineral waters are natural, with no chlorine added. The chemical composition of the waters found here are unique to any others found in the United States. The indoor pool is maintained at around 94° F and is chlorinated. There are also hot tubs for those wishing to soak away the day’s stress.
One of the most well known attributes of Chena Hot Springs Resort is their fantastic aurora borealis viewing areas. I first learned of this place on a television program on something like National Geographic, Discovery or Travel Channel. Tourists come from around the world every winter to take in the great northern lights that are synonymous with Northern Alaska. Because Chena Hot Springs is well outside of the city lights, viewing the northern lights is more vivid and spectacular. In addition to their aurora viewing lodge (called an “Aurorarium”), visitors can take the Snow Coach out to the summit for aurora viewing in the middle of the night. There are also other locations around the resort properties where you can go to observe the auroras.
Chena Hot Springs is a year-round resort with outdoor activities available for those adventurous enough to take in sled dog rides, flight-seeing tours to the Arctic Circle or perhaps a more tranquil hike or bike ride. There are many other ways to see the area, including a horse drawn sleigh, cross country skis or snow mobiles (or snow machines as they’re know here in Alaska). Nature trails and fishing spots are also located in the area for those looking for ways to experience Alaska as it has been for hundreds of years.
After a full day of activities, you can indulge in a nice massage or perhaps a martini in the sculpted ice martini glass in the Aurora Ice Museum. There is also the Trails End Lounge for a wide assortment of adult beverages and the Chena Hot Springs Restaurant for a relaxing meal in front of the large fireplace.
Because there is so much to cover, I have written a separate journal featuring Chena Hot Springs Resort and all of the great activities available on-site at this full service resort. Please be sure to check it out, including all of the fabulous photos taken during my two day/one night stay.