Chena Hot Springs, Alaska Visitor Guide
Chena Hot Springs is a popular resort and outdoor destination located in the Interior region of Alaska, about 60 miles northeast of Fairbanks. The area is well-known for its natural hot springs, which provide a unique and relaxing experience for visitors. This guide will cover the latitude and longitude of Chena Hot Springs, directions from Anchorage, things to do, the area’s history, RV and camping information, and annual festivals and events.
**Latitude and Longitude**: Chena Hot Springs is located at approximately 65.0416° N latitude and 146.1424° W longitude.
Getting to Chena Hot Springs from Anchorage
Chena Hot Springs is accessible by car from Anchorage, and the journey is about 400 miles (644 kilometers) and takes approximately 7 to 8 hours.
1. From Anchorage, head north on the Glenn Highway (AK-1) towards Palmer.
2. Continue on the Glenn Highway, eventually merging onto the George Parks Highway (AK-3) northbound towards Fairbanks.
3. Upon arriving in Fairbanks, follow the signs for the Steese Highway (AK-2) and head east.
4. After about 6 miles (9.6 kilometers), turn right onto Chena Hot Springs Road.
5. Continue on Chena Hot Springs Road for approximately 56 miles (90 kilometers) to reach Chena Hot Springs Resort.
The drive to Chena Hot Springs from Anchorage takes you through the diverse landscapes of Alaska, including mountains, forests, and rivers. Be prepared for variable weather and road conditions, and always carry a full tank of gas, extra food, water, and emergency supplies.
Things to Do
Chena Hot Springs offers a variety of activities and attractions for visitors to enjoy, both at the resort and in the surrounding area. Some popular things to do include:
Hot Springs and Swimming
The main attraction at Chena Hot Springs is the natural hot springs themselves. The resort features both indoor and outdoor soaking pools, which are heated by the geothermal waters of the springs. The outdoor rock pool is particularly popular and offers a stunning view of the surrounding landscape. In addition to the hot springs, the resort also has a heated indoor swimming pool.
Chena Ice Museum
The Chena Ice Museum, located on the grounds of the resort, is a unique attraction featuring ice sculptures created by world-class artists. The museum is housed in a specially designed building that maintains a constant temperature of 20°F (-6°C) year-round, allowing the sculptures to remain on display. Guided tours of the museum are available, and visitors can even enjoy a drink at the ice bar.
Chena Hot Springs is located in a prime location for viewing the aurora borealis, or northern lights, during the winter months. The resort offers aurora viewing tours, which take visitors to a heated yurt or cabin in a remote location away from light pollution. The best time for viewing the northern lights is typically between September and March.
Dog Sledding and Kennel Tours
Experience the thrill of dog sledding with a guided tour at Chena Hot Springs. The resort offers both summer and winter dog sledding experiences, as well as kennel tours where visitors can learn about the care, training, and history of sled dogs.
Hiking and Outdoor Recreation
The area surrounding Chena Hot Springs offers numerous opportunities for hiking and exploring the beautiful Alaskan wilderness. Trails of varying difficulty can be found nearby, suitable for both casual walkers and experienced hikers. During the winter months, visitors can enjoy cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, and snowmobiling.
Chena Hot Springs was discovered in 1905 by gold prospectors seeking a source of warm water to help alleviate the harsh Alaskan winter conditions. The hot springs quickly gained a reputation for their healing properties, and a resort was established to cater to visitors seeking the therapeutic waters. Over the years, the resort has expanded and evolved, adding amenities and attractions to enhance the visitor experience.
Today, Chena Hot Springs is a popular destination for both locals and tourists seeking relaxation, outdoor recreation, and the unique experience of soaking in the hot springs while enjoying the stunning Alaskan landscape.
RV and Camping Information
Chena Hot Springs Resort offers RV and camping options for visitors:
Chena Hot Springs RV Park
The resort’s RV park offers 30 sites with electric hookups, as well as a dump station and potable water. Amenities include restrooms, showers, and access to the resort’s facilities, such as the hot springs, swimming pool, and restaurant.
Chena Hot Springs Campground
The resort also has a campground with 20 sites for tent camping. Amenities include picnic tables, fire rings, restrooms, showers, and access to the resort’s facilities.
Reservations are highly recommended for both RV and tent camping, especially during the busy summer months.
Annual Festivals and Events
Chena Hot Springs hosts several annual festivals and events throughout the year, attracting locals and tourists alike. Some of these events include:
Chena Hot Springs Renewable Energy Fair
Held annually in August, the Chena Hot Springs Renewable Energy Fair showcases the resort’s commitment to sustainable energy and resource management. The event features educational workshops, presentations, and demonstrations focused on renewable energy technologies, such as geothermal power, solar power, and energy efficiency. The fair also includes live music, local food vendors, and family-friendly activities.
Winter Solstice Celebration
Each December, Chena Hot Springs celebrates the winter solstice with a festive event that includes aurora viewing, bonfires, ice carving demonstrations, and other winter-themed activities. The Winter Solstice Celebration is a unique way to experience the magic of the Alaskan winter and the beauty of the northern lights.
Chena Hot Springs Music Festival
The Chena Hot Springs Music Festival, usually held in July, is a multi-day event featuring live music performances by local, national, and international artists. The festival showcases a variety of genres, including rock, folk, blues, and jazz, and takes place at various locations throughout the resort, providing a unique and intimate music experience in a picturesque setting.
Chena Hot Springs Yoga Retreat
The Chena Hot Springs Yoga Retreat is an annual event that combines the relaxation of the hot springs with the practice of yoga. Participants can enjoy a variety of yoga classes and workshops led by experienced instructors, as well as soak in the hot springs, explore the surrounding nature, and partake in other resort activities.
When planning a visit to Chena Hot Springs, it’s essential to be prepared for the remote location and potentially variable weather conditions. Always carry extra food, water, and warm clothing, and make sure to inform someone of your travel plans. By taking these precautions and respecting the natural environment and local community, you can fully enjoy the unique experiences, stunning landscape, and rejuvenating atmosphere that Chena Hot Springs, Alaska, has to offer.