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Chena Hot Springs, located just outside of Fairbanks, is one of Alaska’s top tourist destinations. Discovered in the early 20th century, its thermal baths have been shown to have rejuvenating effects on the body and have also helped those suffering from various chronic ailments. Originally a retreat for Fairbanks residents, Chena Hot Springs now draws visitors from around the world and has a number of facilities and tourist attractions beyond the hot springs themselves.
If you’re planning an excursion to Chena Hot Springs, you’ll have plenty of things to see and do when you’re not relaxing in the thermal baths. Here is a brief guide to some of the tourist attractions of Chena Hot Springs.
Tourist Attractions of Chena Hot Springs
Chena Hot Springs itself is a privately-owned resort with several tubs (both indoors and outdoors), Jacuzzis, a swimming pool, and Rock Lake, an artificially-created lake ringed by boulders. The water from the hot springs itself bursts out at 165 degrees Fahrenheit, requiring cooling before it is safe to use. Visitors to Chena Hot Springs can take full advantage of all of these facilities.
Chena Hot Springs’ water has been noted for its rejuvenating properties. A study conducted by the Department of Agriculture showed that it was rich in various minerals that have positive effects on individuals suffering from chronic conditions. Indeed, the mineral composition of Chena Hot Springs’ water is unlike that of any other hot spring in the U.S. and resembles that of popular thermal baths in Central Europe.
In addition to this, Chena Hot Springs offers daily free tours of its geothermal power plants. The first-ever geothermal plants in Alaska, these power plants provide sustainable, environmentally safe power to the residents of Chena Hot Springs, and are a common favorite among tourists who enjoy witnessing some of the most advanced power generation technology in the world. While Chena Hot Springs is open year-round, the summer opens up a wide variety of new activities for visitors to engage in. These include horseback riding, sled-dog tours, hiking, kayaking, fishing, mountain biking, gold panning, and more.
One of the most notable attractions in Chena Hot Springs is the Aurora Ice Museum, dedicated to sculptures made out of ice. The interior is kept at an extremely cold temperature to prevent the sculptures from melting; visitors are provided parkas upon entry if they don’t bring their own. In addition to numerous ice sculptures, the Aurora Ice Museum also offers viewers the chance to watch live ice sculpting demonstrations.
Located not far from Chena Hot Springs is Chena River State Recreation Area, a popular park for outdoors activities. Hikers can enjoy a wide variety of trails with varying levels of difficulty, allowing them to partake in gorgeous views of the surrounding mountains. Other activities available at Chena River State Recreation Area include kayaking, canoeing, fishing, camping, and much more.
Finally, Chena Hot Springs is located within driving distance of several major Alaskan cities and landmarks. The city of Fairbanks is located less than 60 miles to the south and is a common entry point for tourists visiting Chena Hot Springs. Fairbanks offers numerous recreational and tourist activities, such as the Fountainhead Antique Auto Museum, the University of Alaska Museum of the North, Pioneer Park, the Palace Theatre, the HooDoo Brewing Company, and much more.
Also located close to Chena Hot Springs is the Dalton Highway, which stretches from Fairbanks in the south to Deadhorse in the north, along the Arctic coast. Built as a supply route for the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System, tourists interested in the pipeline will often take a drive up the Dalton Highway, which parallels it for much of its length. The Dalton Highway is also noted for its scenic vistas, passing through the Brooks Range and other mountains, and is often visited by tourists who want to go to the Arctic Circle, which intersects the Dalton Highway in the north.
Chena Hot Springs is a popular destination for those seeking treatment for chronic conditions or those who simply want to enjoy the feeling of relaxing in a thermal bath. Its waters have been scientifically proven to have positive effects on human health, contributing to its popularity as both a local retreat for Fairbanks residents and a draw for tourists around the world. But Chena Hot Springs has much more to offer than just thermal baths.
The region surrounding Chena Hot Springs is rich in natural beauty, with many parks, recreation areas, and other places to visit for kayaking, hiking, and more. The region is also home to many museums and other tourist attractions, such as the Aurora Ice Museum, offering you a unique look into Alaska’s long history. Whether you’re into the great outdoors, history, culture, wildlife, or more, Chena Hot Springs has plenty to offer you when you’re not soaking in its warm and rejuvenating waters.