Chena Hot Springs Resort
This is the most accessible and developed hot springs in Alaska's
Chena Hot Springs became famous in the early 1900's for curing
crippled prospectors of their aches and pains.
WHAT IS HERE IS
NOW ONLY FOR HISTORICAL INTEREST. We do not have links or contact
information for them, so please do not ask us for any.
History (info obtained from their web site)
Whether you are looking for
holiday deals overseas, or searching for an Alaska hot springs experience, it might be
helpful to know some of the history of Chena Hot Springs.
Robert and Thomas Swam had learned that a U.S.
Geological Survey crew, in 1904, had seen steam rising from a valley somewhere on the
upper Chena River. They (the surveyors) had guessed that the steam came from a hot springs
but had not investigated further.
Robert Swan, suffering from rheumatism, set out with a boat load of
supplies, in search of the hot springs. Over a month later the brothers were at the North
Fork of the Chena and had to pole their way up that tributary to the mouth of Monument
Creek. Soon after, on August 5, 1905, they finally found the hot springs.
By 1911, the property (with a stable, bathhouse and twelve small cabins for
visitors) was a resort on its way to becoming a favorite getaway spot for world-weary
residents of Fairbanks.
During the 2nd World War, it was designated at the Rest
and Recreation facility for the Alaska Command. A gentleman wrote to us
that he stayed there for R&R in 1945, while stationed on Adak.
Water is Analyzed
As the fame of the hot springs
spread, the Department of Agriculture was asked by Alaska's delegate to Congress, James
Wickersham, to analyze the waters. The Bureau of Chemistry analyzed three pints and
concluded that the water was "different from any American hot springs which we have
The principal characteristics of the Chena Hot Spring waters consisted of its
content of sulfate, chloride and bicarbonate of sodium. In fact, it was very similar to
the waters of Felsenquelle, one of the famous springs at Carlsbad in Bohemia. The hot
springs are located at the center of a 40 square mile geothermal resource area.
Chena Hot Springs Resort is located 60 miles northeast of Fairbanks,
at the end of the Chena River State Recreation Area. Water flows from the
springs at 156 degrees, so it is cooled before bathers can enjoy the mineral waters.
Other Activities Available
In addition to relaxing soaks in the mineralized pools and spas, the resort
offers a full range of summer and winter sports and outdoors activities, from
fishing to volleyball, snow shoeing to naturalist walking tours and "snow cat"
tours. Last we heard, the pool was
open from 9 a.m. until midnight seven days a week.
Later, an aurorium was built to provide winter
indoor views of the northern lights.
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