Kanuti Hot Springs is a strikingly remote, geothermal hot spring located only 15 miles north of the Arctic Circle. Tucked away in a field of grass, and surrounded by deep forest, this hidden Alaskan treasure is just about as far off the grid as you can get.
The Hot Springs Pools
With temperatures reaching as high as 150°F, a comfortable soak in one of the two pools at Kanuti Hot Springs must be strategic. It is recommended that visitors position themselves near the places where cooler water flows into the hot springs as to not overheat.
Year-round access to these pools is possible, but make sure you come prepared. Reaching this location in the winter could require trekking through heavy snowfall. In the spring, the area is filled with mint, wild chives, and blueberries as well as momma bears and their cubs.
Note: Be careful to stay out of range, bring bear repellant, and be aware of your surroundings at all times.
Backcountry camping is permitted in the Kanuti National Wildlife Refuge and is rather primitive. You won’t find any official campsites set up, so you will have to figure out a location for yourself. Make sure to check your surroundings before pitching a tent and remember to clean your site before leaving.
The springs are located within the Kanuti National Wildlife Refuge of Alaska, positioned between its boundary and the Caribou Mountains. Visitors should be aware that access to Kanuti Hot Springs is not easy and a Bettles B-2 topographical map is highly recommended due to the fact that there are no marked trails to guide you.
With that being said, your journey will be best experienced in warmer months by making a 14-mile journey down the Kanuti River. A lightweight pack raft is helpful to get back to the main road with greater ease.
- Begin floating at the Dalton Highway crossing at the Mile 103 marker.
- To hike out, the map will guide you to follow the ridgeline tundra high above the tree line.
- You will continue further through the wilderness, and then down the mountain to once again find the road.
Note: It is also possible to snow ski to the springs in the winter months, but snow depth can make it quite challenging.
Location: Kanuti National Wildlife Refuge, Alaska | 12 miles west of MP103 on the Dalton Highway
Season: Year-round | Best experienced during warmer months
GPS: 66º 20′ 30″ N 150º 50′ 44″ W