Take a break and relax
A getaway for sure. Hopefully you get at least one clear night
There are a number of excellent winter trails around Chena Hot Springs. On our most recent visit (February 2006), we snowshoed up Charlie Dome, all the way to the yurt. The grade of the trail is pretty steep, but if you're in shape, the hike is well worth it. The snowmachines (snowmobiles and snowcats) break the trail, so you won't be slogging up...more
There is a natural outdoor pool as well as an indoor pool and some outdoor hot tubs where the hot spring is located. This is a great place to relax. Of course, getting in and out of the pools is the hard part, especially with the arctic air around here. This is a choice location for watching the aurora. Because of the water temperature and the air...more
First and foremost, do not plan on seeing this in the middle of summer. There is no nightime in the middle of summer. Winter is the best time to see the aurora with its long nights. The big hurdle is getting clear weather. if you get a clear night up here, there is an excellent chance of seeing the aurora. Chena Hot Springs is a popular spot for...more
Yes, the resort restaurant is the only show in "town." However, the bacon cheeseburger I had there was truly amazing and delicious, obviously made with very high quality ingredients. I went to Alaska planning on eating salmon, halibut, and local seafood everyday...and then I saw the prices! Hamburgers are the only sustaining meals you can find in...more
Near the west end of the road to Chena Hot Springs is Two Rivers Lodge. This is one of the finer restaurants in the Fairbanks area. This can be a nice stop along the drive between Fairbanks and Chena Hot Springs. Be sure to make reservations.There is a solarium in the summer.more
Trails End is located in the resort, and it is the only restaurant at Chena Hot Springs. In the past 5 years or so, the quality of the food has ranged from mediocre to good. The last time I was there, (9-05) the food was better. The resort is also growing their own organic produce now, which should improve things even more.more
We met lots of nice people on the Aurora train, and formed a little community. A very Alaskan thing to do. We'd meet up and make plans to dinner, then more would join, until we had the whole dining room for our private party. Many bottles of wine, a good meal, and pitchers of Martinis for dessert.
Dress Code: The picture is from Anchorage, but I had to find a place to put it in. I didn't have my camera with me at dinner.
There are some great hiking trails in the Chena Hot Springs area. The character of these hikes has changed since the extreme fire season of 2004 burned through some of the area. For the most part, these are natural, although dramatic, changes to the landscape. You can also see how the forest responds and recovers from such sudden changes. The...more
Flying the Chena river from Fairbanks to the resort is a short, pleasant trip.The resort maintains a 3000 foot gravel strip. The strip is in a canyon but otherwise easy to access and well taken care of.The resort offers flightseeing from an amphib - 325$ and up.The photos were taken during the fall colors Spetember 2005.more
From Fairbanks, drive north on the Steese highway a few miles. From there, its about 56 miles northeast on Chena Hot Springs Road. If you are coming from the Richardson highway, from Delta or Tok, there is a shortcut at Northpole - take Badger road to Nordale road, which will save at least 30 minutes.Chena Hot Springs road generally follows the...more
Every resort need a gift shop. All manner of souveniers are available: shirts, stuffed animals, magnets, jewelry, arts/crafts, postcards . . .
What to buy: Whatever strikes your fancy. Personally I go for something small and easy to pack. I got a painted wood state of Alaska with Santa Claus mushing under the northern lights, with a magnet on the back (it is on my refridgerator right now) But if you didn't read my packing tip, get the fluffy terry robe.
What to pay: Resort Prices
There are plenty of restrooms in the main lodge, I counted at least four in the restaurant area. They are labeled "Men/Women", "Men/Women", "Men/Women" and "Unisex" so whichever you are more comfortable with. Signs at the resort are also in Japanese!
When we checked in, we were told that the pool/locker room building and the rock pool close at midnight!! Geez, we come to see the northern lights, and they close the joint at peak viewing time!!! "Well" the guy says, "you could jump the fence and go in the rock pool, but you'll have to walk back to your lodge in your wet things". The lady the next...more
I don't recommend using the outhouses, I cannot emphasize this enough, I don't recommend using the outhouses. They look very nice, but everyone of them had poop on the seat, like the last user was afraid to sit and missed the hole. Totally Gross!!!! Real Alaskans go in the woods anyway and wipe our butts with snow. (haha) Use the toilet in the...more
I was in a quandry as to how many bathing suits to pack, since you are in and out of the springs fairly often. They do have dryers, but charge $2!! This could get expensive if you don't like putting on wet clothes and heading out into the winter air. Gretchen only packed one suit, while I took more. There is a clothes line in the shower, so you can...more
The lure of gold brought a rush of prospectors to Alaska, and I have met some who still seek gold, but this is just nuts! For $20 you can pan for gold in a little shack, and they promise that you will get some dust. It ain't gonna be twenty bucks worth, and searching for gold inside a building ain't the way it was done. You are in an isolated...more
Try not to bring a large gym bag if you are not spending the night. There are lockers in the dressing rooms, but they cannot accomodate large bags, and the lockers fill up quickly! Some people like to wear flip flops outside to the Rock lake. It's not necessary to bring a towel as they rent them out, but I try to bring my own to use after the...more
Any luggage will do, since this is a spa, it will be handled for you. Dress in layers for outdoor activities. Waterproof shoes are best in the snow with wool socks, and a good hat/scarf/mitten set. (see Pia's -- Shopping tip in Anchorage) Extra batteries are a must, as cold temperatures will drain the life very quickly. Bathing suits, and a good...more
There are quite a few moose out at Chena Hot Springs Resort. We saw 6 while driving through the state recreational park on the way out and then we saw three more at the springs. Evidently they like to eat the algae in the bottom of the natural pools and such....or maybe they know that soaking in the natural mineral hot springs feels good on the ol'...more
The midpoint on the train ride is Honolulu. (I told Brendan to make sure and get the sign).Honolulu is a flag stop, and we asked the conductor if we could stop for photos, and that we brought Hawaiian shirts. The other passengers thought we were nuts, but hey, what a great idea for a Christmas card! It was only supposed to be myself, Gretchen, and...more
If you have one to three dogs that you would like to take on the trails, whether it's hiking in the summer, or skijoring in the winter, for a relatively small deposit of $100 US dollars, your dog(s) can stay in the room with you. This is a real benefit for those whom cannot find a dog sitter, as I have found often, too!more
Chena Hot Springs Resort is located at 55 mile Chena Hot Springs Rd. At 48.9 mile, there is a turn off for the Angel Rocks Trails. There are 2 trails; one is a 3 1/2 mile loop, the other is an 8.5 mile hike to the resort. Along the hike, you can spot various types of terrain. The most unusual aspect of this trail is the formation of the rocks...more
While more people are going to Alaska during the winter in hopes of spotting the Aurora Borealis, many of them hope to take home actual photos of this natural wonder. First of all, such a trip is not possible in the summertime due the constant daylight at this latitude. Therefore, an "aurora" trip is best for the darker and colder months. Also, the...more
I have no idea what this thing is, but I like it. Brendan ran into me in the hallway of the lodge and asked where I was going. I told him I had to get a picture of the Giant Asparagus. He said "Oh, OK." He told me later that he knew exactly what I was talking about, and had a good chuckle over it.more
Gretchen and I travelled from Kodiak, where we have had no winter, and she told me that every year she makes a snow angel, but we've had no snow. So I pointed to some virgin snow and said "go for it". We were walking back to our lodge and were weaing only robes, she plopped down and with bare arms and legs made her angel, and it is the prettiest...more