Chalk full of natural landmarks, the great outdoors in Alaska is second to none. If you’re planning a trip to The Last Frontier, make sure you visit one of the hot springs in Alaska. There’s everything from free primitive pools secluded in the wilderness, to resorts close to town.
List of Hot Springs in AK
Alaska is one of the most stunning parts of the world, blessed with huge mountains and endless coastline. Even though it’s separated from by Canada, Alaska is one of the best getaways for people who love nature and hot springs. Give one of the following hot springs a try on your next trip to AK!
Map of Hot Springs in AK
Guide to Alaska’s Natural Hot Springs
Alaska’s 20+ hot springs are natural wonders, heated by the Earth itself. They are generated by the geothermal reserves of ancient volcanic action. Once only known by the indigenous people of each region, now, thanks to mapping and digital tracking systems, these hot springs have turned into destinations for all Alaskan adventurers to enjoy.
Hot springs of Alaska range from resorts to rustic community facilities to undisturbed gems in the rugged tundra. Each one is unique and provides its very own reason to come and explore.
Types of Hot Springs in Alaska
Before planning a visit to one of Alaska’s many hot springs, it is important to understand the various offerings throughout the state. Primarily, Alaska’s hot springs are divided into three categories: primitive hot springs, rustic community facilities and hot spring resorts.
Primitive Hot Springs
For those adventurers seeking the most natural and unique experience with a bent towards hiking, trekking, snowmobiling or hiking while taking in the abundant Alaskan scenery and the peace it offers, seeking out a wilderness hot spring is probably your best option.
Many of these primitive springs are more difficult to reach and sometimes require a local guide. But the payoff is a long, hot soak in the middle of nowhere that feels like the rest of the world is miles and miles away – because it is! Generally characterized by their isolation and proximity to open wilderness, wildlife and nature, these hot springs are quite simple.
Typically composed of a few rocks bordering a natural pool or a basic wooden or concrete tub, you will find yourself sitting right in the middle of a hot mineral spring or inside of a basin that is filled from a nearby source. Cooler water is often available to help regulate the temperatures.
Sometimes it is piped in and other times you will need to carry it in buckets to keep your soaking temperatures bearable. Most often there are no amenities except the offerings of the Alaskan splendor at your fingertips. The experience is not for the faint of heart, but it will be totally unforgettable.
The discovery of primitive hot springs in Alaska is often a budget-friendly route to take. Accessibility is more difficult and requires a lot of physical exertion or maneuvering of waters or snowy paths. Access is more challenging depending upon the weather and a lot of preparation for your adventure is necessary.
Most primitive hot springs sites do not provide lodging, though some can be found near cabins or Airbnb’s. Mostly, be prepared to do some primitive camping, as well. Primitive camping is allowed in Alaska as long as you make camp at least 100 feet away from the hot springs.
Rustic Community Facilities
One step up from Alaska’s primitive hot springs is those rustic community facilities found in off-the-beaten-path communities where locals frequent them just as much as visitors. Some of these facilities are quite nice with bathhouses that are maintained by the residents or the Forestry Service.
They offer outhouses and well-cleaned pools either outside or inside of a protected structure. These pools are often used for actual bathing in remote areas by residents who work in the region seasonally or as a hotspot for local gossip.
The rustic community hot springs are much easier to find. A compass may not be necessary, but a boat or seaplane might.
Depending on where you choose, many of these hot springs are in locations that are tucked away in a remote location where a village has been formed nearby. Renting a form of transportation from a closer large city such as Sitka or Fairbanks will often be the best way to travel to these rustic community facilities.
Primitive camping as well as cabin or lodge rental is typically available. You won’t always need the hiking skills to find a rustic, community hot spring, but that does not mean you shouldn’t come prepared. Bears and mosquitos do not care what spring you are visiting. They are always lurking nearby.
Hot Springs Resorts
Finally, Alaska is also the home of a few extravagant hot springs resorts. Located outside of larger cities, these resorts serve the vacationing population with a quintessential and all-encompassing Alaskan experience with every amenity you can imagine.
From luxurious pools both inside and under the stars, these resorts feature well-appointed accommodations that extend your hot springs relaxing into their massage studios and guestrooms.
Hot springs resorts are usually much more crowded than primitive pools. They are perfect for those guests searching for a more traditional getaway in a developed area.
These Alaskan resorts typically offer a selection of recreation options such as dog sledding and tours to see the Northern Lights. Massages and yoga classes round out the experience, along with posh guestrooms and hearty meals.
Locals and visitors alike are welcome to purchase day passes to these hot springs resorts in order to gain access to the pools. So even if you are not the high-end vacationer, you can still enjoy a taste of the good life for a day in the healing mineral waters.
You might consider rounding out your Alaskan adventure with a taste of hiking the wilderness and then ending up at a resort where all of your tired muscles can recover. The resorts make for a perfect end to a fabulous Alaskan holiday.
Some Favorite Alaskan Hot Springs
Alaska is rich in thermal mineral springs, located across the state. Let’s take a look at a couple of the top hot springs:
White Sulphur Springs – This hot spring is known for its beauty and the therapeutic impact that brings. You can stay the night here at very affordable prices via the on-site White Sulphur Springs Cabin. This remote built-up primitive hot springs, is only accessibly by boat. You don’t want to miss out on the scenic beauty and the amazing warm springs pool.
Tenakee Hot Spring – The Tenakee Hot Spring are not only awesome but also free. The pools here are exceptionally clean and the temperature of the water average a perfect 105 degrees all year round. This hot spring is not only practical but also serene and therapeutic. Do visit Tenakee Spring outside of Juneau if you’re looking to relax.
There are plenty of hot springs to choose from in Alaska. So make the most of your time in one of North America’s most unique places – The Last Frontier!
Why Visit Alaska?
Just the mention of Alaska evokes images of snow and glacial peaks, whales and salmon fishing. You see brown bears and wide, open meadows painted with lavish wildflowers and snow-covered mountains in the backdrop.
With over 34,000 miles of rugged coastline that touches two separate oceans – both the Arctic and Pacific, 17 of the 20 highest peaks in the entire United States and only 700,000 inhabitants, Alaska epitomizes the definition of the great outdoors. It should not take long to convince you, the outdoor enthusiast, to visit Alaska at least once in your lifetime. Nothing else compares.
One very unique fact about Alaska is that at least 20% of today’s population remains indigenous to the state. These honored and necessary peoples exist by living a subsistence style of life and have taught their skills and way of life to others.
By relying on Alaska’s abundant natural resources and putting into practice traditional knowledge that has been passed down from generation to generation, Native Alaskans have offered much knowledge of the land. This vast knowledge includes that of the waters which spring forth pools of steamy, mineral water and beckon locals and visitors alike to come and savor a long, hot soak.