While there is a lot of geothermal activity in this state, you won’t find any hot springs near Anchorage, Alaska. Take the six-hour drive to Fairbanks, however, and you’ll be surrounded by choice.
Plus, making your way north through the stunning mountainous landscape is a reward in itself. The capital city of Juneau has hot springs as well, but you’ll need to book a flight unless you want to spend a few days on the road. So, we’ll take a look at the closest options to Anchorage, which all happen to be the hot springs near Fairbanks.
Here are the best hot springs near Anchorage, AK, in order of proximity:
Chena Hot Springs Resort – 418 miles
Chena Hot Springs Resort is a well-loved option that offers a wide variety of lodging options to suit any setup. Camping and RV sites, cabins, lodge rooms, and yurts are all available. The main attraction is the large, four-foot-deep hot springs lake, a natural pool perfect for stargazing under the wide open sky in the evening.
The water sits at a balmy 106℉. Guests can also enjoy the indoor heated saltwater pool (90℉) and indoor and outdoor hot tubs, which are filled with mineral water with the addition of chlorine for hygiene purposes. When you’re not soaking up the thermal waters or getting a massage at the pool house, the long list of activities around the resort is enough to keep everyone entertained.
Take a dog cart ride or visit the Aurora Ice Museum. Take the horses out for a jaunt or go on any number of different tours: snowmobile, ATV, Aurora viewing, etc. Staff will even walk you through their renewable energy projects around the property.
To refuel, warm up next to the fireplace as you enjoy the best food Alaska has to offer. Dedicated to sustainability, Chena Hot Springs Resort supplies much of its restaurant with produce from its year-round greenhouse supply. A secondary cafe, the Aurora Cafe, offers light fare, snacks, and specialty coffee.
Tolovana Hot Springs – 501 miles
The trailhead for Tolovana Hot Springs is about 100 miles outside of Fairbanks. The spring itself is only accessible by plane or trail. The shortest route to access is a 10.1-mile hike or, in the winter, choosing between options that include skiing, snowshoeing, snowmobiling, etc.
It’s a beautiful but challenging trek with views of Minto Flats State Game Refuge, the White and Ray Mountain Ranges, and if you’re lucky, Mount McKinley in the distance. After the exertion, guests can stay a few nights at one of two on-site rustic cabins with outhouses and enjoy stunning vistas from the comfort of one of the two spring-fed hot tubs.
Cooler water from the stream nearby brings down the temperature of the 125-145℉ spring water that naturally emerges from the ground. Guests supply their own food and sleeping bags. As one of the most remote springs in Alaska, Tolovana makes for some of the best stargazing you’ll find.
Manley Hot Springs – 513 miles
The “bath house” or “greenhouse” at Manley Hot Springs consists of four simple concrete soaking tubs in a rural hunting and fishing village. The greenhouse itself is filled with the kind of lush plants that thrive on heat and humidity, adding to the already unique surroundings.
Nearby, the Manley Roadhouse offers budget and luxury rooms in a historic lodge built in 1906 as well as a few cabins for those looking for full privacy. The in-house restaurant offers family-style dining with themed dishes like “Prospector Omelet” and “The Gold Rush”. They proudly run one of the most well-stocked bars in the interior of Alaska.
For more things to do, consider checking out Iditarod Kennels, hiking trails, fishing charters, boat rental, etc.
Alaska is covered in rough terrain, and if you’re not up for taking on the open road, you can easily catch a flight to either Fairbanks or Juneau from Anchorage. Regardless of how you get there, a hot spring is well worth a stop on your next adventure to Anchorage. In a landscape like this, soaking will only be one thing on a long list of incredible opportunities surrounding these geothermal pools.