Chena Hot Springs Resort
On your first visit to Chena Hot Springs Resort in Alaska is it amazing to think about earlier visitors traveling the same path via different modes of transportation and trail and taking anywhere from 4-14 days from downtown Fairbanks to reach the resort. Today’s travel via a modern 56.5 mile paved road provides a quick one hour fifteen minute trip.
Chena Hot Springs Resort celebrated its 109 year anniversary in August 2014. It was discovered by two gold mining brothers, Robert and Thomas Swan who learned that a U.S. Geological Survey crew, in 1904, had seen steam rising from a valley somewhere on the upper Chena River. The surveyors concluded that it had to be from a hot springs, but did not investigate further.
Robert Swan looking for a place where he could ease the pain he suffered from rheumatism, set out in a boat loaded with supplies with his brother Thomas, in search of the hot springs. Over one month after leaving Fairbanks they arrived at the North Fork of the Chena and traveled up that tributary to the mouth of Monument Creek. They ascended Monument Creek a short way, and found the hot springs on August 5, 1905.
By 1911, the property boasted a stable, bathhouse and twelve small cabins for visitors. The resort was on its way to becoming one of the premier resorts of Interior Alaska, and a favorite getaway spot for world-weary residents of Fairbanks.
As the fame of the hot springs spread, Alaska's delegate to Congress, James Wickersham, asked the Department of Agriculture to analyze the waters. The bureau of Chemistry analyzed three pints and concluded that the water was different from any American hot springs previously examined. The principal characteristics of the Chena Hot Springs waters consisted of its content of sulfate, chloride and bicarbonate of sodium. In fact, it was very similar to the waters of a famous hot springs in Bohemia.
Today Chena Hot Springs resort enjoys a clean, healthy and beautiful natural environment and continues to welcome people from all over the world to bathe in the curative powers of the hot waters. The Resort is located approximately 60 miles northeast of Fairbanks accessed year round via Chena Hot Springs Road.
The Aurora Ice Museum
Chena Hot Springs Resort is home to the world’s only year-round ice environment in the world, the Aurora Ice Museum! It was created from over 1,000 tons of ice and snow all harvested at the resort. The museum was completed in January 2005 and stays a cool 20 degrees Fahrenheit inside. Keeping the museum icy cold in the heat of summer comes from the patented absorption chiller, the first of its kind in the world used for this purpose!
The Aurora Ice Museum gallery features amazing ice sculptures created by 13 time world champion ice carver Steve Brice and with his wife, Heather, they are also 4 time champions as a husband and wife team. Within the museum, they have created a two story observation tower with a circular staircase, life size jousters on horse back, a polar bear bedroom, a Christmas tree bedroom, an igloo and an ice outhouse among other pieces of ice art and additional chambers made exclusively with our Alaska Diamond or Alaska Marble ice.
As you step inside the ice museum for the very first time, you are mesmerized by the ever-changing colored ice crystal chandeliers overhead depicting the Aurora Borealis. After touring the museum, relax at the Stolichnaya (Stoli) Ice Bar. Enjoy sipping our specialty beverage an “appletini” in an ice carved martini glass while awed by your surroundings. Sit comfortably on our caribou fur covered stools and take in the view or warm your hands by the ice fireplace.
The Healing Waters and Swimming Pools
People have been going to hot springs for centuries; some in search of the eternal fountain of youth and others searching for cures for whatever ails them. The healing water of Chena Hot Springs has been compared to mineral waters found in hot springs in Bohemia.
The water is composed of a variety of different, identified minerals. Many people believe that by bathing in the water, skin conditions such as psoriasis, muscular pains, and arthritis may be relieved. The water may be beneficial for some circulatory disorders and attract lots of people with bronchial disorders who claim the combination of steam and minerals provides breathing relief.
Chena’s recorded history dates to the early 1900's but there is evidence indigenous people used the water as well. The water boasts usage by people throughout Alaska, the Lower 48 and International visitors and dignitaries from every corner of the globe. The waters are timeless but the resort began when weary gold miners discovered that soaking in the oh-so-warm waters helped their aching bodies.
Chena Hot Springs Resort offers double queen rooms in the 40 room Moose Lodge with full baths, hair dryers, television, phone and coffee makers; 32 Signature Rooms feature two double beds and 3/4 baths, 8 Family Suites offer two rooms, one with two double beds, one with two single beds and both 3/4 bath and 1/2 baths. There are also two Moose Lodge rooms with handicap access. Room rates do not include 8% Bed Tax (BT) and $5 Energy Surcharge (ESR) per night. Signature room and Moose Lodge room rates are based on double occupancy, family suites quadruple occupancy. Additional persons are $20 per person per room night plus room tax with a maximum of four persons per room (family suites six person maximum).
Mongolian Style Yurt Tent. Comes with three cots ready for your sleeping bags, a
table and chairs are added for your comfort.
For More Information:
Chena Hot Springs Resort
Fairbanks, AK 99711
Phone: (907) 451-8104