Alaska is known for a lot of things – its wilderness, its wildlife, and its cold climate. But did you know it’s also known for having an abundance of hot springs? That’s right! After several cold days of adventure, you can relax your muscles in a geothermal pool of warm mineral water heated by Earth’s crust. If that sounds like your kind of Alaskan vacation, keep reading. In this article, we’re sharing seven amazing hot springs in Alaska you need to visit.
How Many Hot Springs Does Alaska Have?
Alaska has 79 thermal hot springs. However, the public only uses about 20 of them. Most of these hot springs are found in the Yukon River Basin in central Alaska and on the islands of the Southeast panhandle.
Many of these hot springs are accessible by boat or plane only, while others require a short hike. Additionally, you can enjoy some of the Alaskan hot springs in a resort setting, along with amenities like showers and dressing rooms.
Are There Hot Springs in Anchorage, Alaska?
Anchorage is Alaska’s largest city and a popular tourist hub. However, there are no hot springs in the area. If you want to take a dip in one of The Last Frontier’s geothermal pools, you’ll have to drive north to Fairbanks, Alaska’s second-largest city. There you’ll find the world-renowned Chena Hot Springs.
Pro Tip: Anchorage is a great place to kick off your RV journey across Alaska. Check out the 6 Best RV Rental Companies in Anchorage, Alaska.
7 Best Hot Springs in Alaska
1. Chena Hot Springs
Chena Hot Springs maintain a temperature of about 106℉ and a depth of about four feet throughout the year. They are located in Chena Hot Springs Resort, which is a scenic 60-minute drive from Fairbanks.
The resort is open year-round and also offers lodging, sled dog tours, and Northern Lights tours. A day pass to the hot springs is only $15. The day pass includes access to the resort’s showers, hot tubs, and heated pools.
We visited Chena Hot Springs in Episode 17 of our Go North series. Check out our experience in this video:
2. Goddard Hot Springs
Goddard Hot Springs is located 16 miles south of Sitka, Alaska on Baranof Island. A chartered boat or floatplane is the only way to access these hot springs. However, they are worth the trip!
You can relax with amazing views in an abundance of naturally hot water that averages 153℉. Plus, you can enjoy a beautiful day at this hot spring free of charge! There are outhouses nearby and boardwalks that make it easy to get around the springs.
These guys show us how it’s done in Alaska!
3. Tenakee Hot Springs
Take a step back in time when you visit Tenakee Hot Springs, located only 45 miles southwest of Juneau, Alaska. The beautifully restored bathhouse was built in 1900. It is open day and night to those seeking a therapeutic dip in its hot spring tub. The 105℉ mineral water comes in and drains out of the tub at a rate of seven gallons per minute. Meaning, the hot springs are self-flushing.
However, the bathhouse requires that you wash with soap and water before you enter to help maintain the cleanliness of the springs. It’s also important to know that clothes are not allowed in the springs, so managers established separate hours for men and women.
There is no charge to visit Tenakee Hot Springs, but donations are greatly appreciated to help local volunteers keep this rare find available to all.
4. Manley Hot Springs
Manley Hot Springs is located at the end of Elliot Highway in Interior Alaska, just northwest of Fairbanks. On your way, you can enjoy the amazingly scenic drive through mountains and valleys once explored by gold miners over 100 years ago.
Upon arrival, you can soak among the hibiscus flowers, Asian pears, and grapes at this truly unique spring inside a greenhouse. Choose from one of three concrete baths that cost only $5.
5. Chief Shakes Hot Springs
Chief Shakes Hot Springs is 28 miles northwest of Wrangell, Alaska up the Stikine River. Visitors can access the springs via a short 0.3-mile hike off Hot Springs Slough. This Forest Service-owned hot spring is a local favorite that is busiest on weekends and holidays, so be sure to plan your visit accordingly.
It features two unique redwood tubs, one sheltered and the other open to the elements. There are also outhouses, benches, and dressing rooms for your convenience.
6. Baranof Warm Springs
Baranof Warm Springs is a remarkable place, surrounded by untouched, pristine forests. It is located on the eastern side of Baranof Island on Warm Springs Bay. A boat or floatplane is the only way to access these hot springs.
Here, you can immerse yourself in nature while soaking in these 124℉ healing waters overlooking stunning waterfalls. There are a total of nine separate hot springs to choose from that are all just a short quarter-mile hike from the head of the bay.
7. Serpentine Hot Springs
Last but not least is Serpentine Hot Springs, located in Bering Land Bridge National Preserve. Serpentine is known as a place of spiritual healing. Eskimo shamans and Native healers used these springs for centuries. Now, they are one of the most visited areas in the preserve.
Surrounded by granite tors, you’ll feel like you’re bathing in a fantasy world at Serpentine Hot Springs. These 171℉ springs are open year-round, and you can access them by plane.
Pro Tip: Road tripping across Alaska? Make sure you know The Average Price of Gas in Alaska before you go!
An Unexpected Alaskan Experience
No matter which hot spring in Alaska you choose, you’re sure to be pleasantly surprised. Come for the therapeutic mineral water, and leave with a renewed sense of peace and wonder. If you’re looking for an unexpected Alaskan experience, be sure to add one of these hot springs to your itinerary.
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