Tolovana Hot Springs is
approximately 50 air miles northwest of Fairbanks, on the
southeast slope of Tolovana Hot Springs Dome. (see map below).
A trip to Tolovana Hot Springs should be considered a
wilderness adventure as it is accessible only by trail or bush plane,
and there are no emergency
communication or on-site personnel. The accommodations are
rustic and simple. Bathe in a natural hot springs and to
enjoy the outdoors. The cabins are rustic, the hot tubs outdoors, exposed to the weather, the stars, and the
dancing aurora borealis. The operators consider getting out of the hot tub on a cold
night as part of the experience.
Detailed directions for getting to Tolovana Hot Springs can
be found near the bottom of the page. The hot springs
themselves are located
approximately 1/4 mile up the hot springs valley from the
rental cabins in a clearing in a forest of large
spruce and aspen trees. Enjoy the south-facing hillsides of
grasses, mint, sedges, rock, algae and steaming hot water. The
hot springs flow from the west bank for 30 feet to the
valley bottom where they create a small creek.
There are two cabins, two hot tubs,
two outhouses, and a drinking water spring barrel. There are
no other facilities or services.
Cedar cabin--18' x 24' cedar cabin
(Pan Abode Kit Home)
Sleeps 8 (sleeping pads provided)
Propane lights (4)
Propane stove, 4 burner/oven
Pots, pans, cups, bowls, plates,
5 gallon water jugs
Sink, dish pans, soap
Frame cabin--12' x 14' frame cabin
Sleeps 4 (sleeping pads provided)
Propane lights (2)
Propane stove, 2 burner (propane
Pots, pans, cups, bowls, plates,
5 gallon water jugs
Dish pans, soap
Firewood is provided, but may need to be cut to stove length. Handsaws
and axes are provided.
The hot springs have a temperature of
125-145 degrees Fahrenheit (62 degrees Celsius) and a pH of
7.4. The water is high in sodium chloride and low in sulfur
dioxide; there is no sulfur odor. Two hot tubs are provided.
Temperature is adjustable in both. Both tubs provide privacy,
Square Tub--a 5x7 cedar tub sits in the stream just
below the hot springs. Hot water from the springs and cooler
stream water is constantly piped by gravity to the hot tub.
Round Tub--a 6' diameter round cedar tub is located on
the bank of the hot springs creek 100 yards
downstream from the hot springs. Hot water from the springs
and cooler stream water is constantly piped by gravity to a
collecting vessel and is then piped to the round tub.
The operators of Tolovana Hot Springs want to preserve the natural, rustic,
setting at Tolovana. Their goal is to preserve
the natural hot springs water and the surrounding area while
offering visitors access and accommodations that allow them to
experience the hot springs, yet minimize impact. To do this,
users much follow rules, and use is coordinated
Use of the hot springs and cabins is
by reservation only. The majority of their business is during the winter/spring months. Repeat business means that weekends are reserved far
in advance, leading to a 3 month policy of reservations. Here are the rules they
Be safe on the trail. Assume
someone is coming the other direction.
Do not leave trash, food, or
anything behind. You haul it in--you haul it out.
No soaps allowed in the hot tubs
or creek. This is a natural hot springs.
No loose dogs. Dog waste around
the cabins is a problem.
The hot springs is a fragile
environment. Dogs are not allowed at the hot springs.
Dog mushers must use designated
areas for teams and waste disposal.
Snow machines not allowed to use
the trails surrounding the springs after 10 PM.
No smoking in the cabins.
(requested by many).
No shooting in the hot springs
confirmed upon receipt of full payment and a
signed Rental Agreement. Upon reservation confirmation, a
photocopied map with the 11 mile trail marked on it will be
mailed to you. Prices are higher during the peak season.
Thanksgiving (Thursday, Friday,
Christmas (24th and 25th)
New Years (31st, 1st)
Spring (15 February through 30
The summer/fall months are the least busy, because of more difficult access (hiking is the only viable method).
Advance reservations for a single
Friday, Saturday, or Sunday night can only be confirmed one
week in advance. A two night stay on the weekend has
reservation priority over a single night stay.
Prices are based on a maximum
of 8 people in the cedar cabin and 4 people in
the frame cabin. Additional people are allowed at a cost of $10
per person per night for a maximum of 16 people in
the cedar cabin and a maximum of 8 people in the frame
cabin. A partial discount is offered for extremely cold
weather. See their website for details.
How to get there:
11 Mile Trail
Primary access is by the 11-mile
year-round trail suitable for hiking, skiing, snowshoeing,
ski-skijoring, snow machining, and dog mushing. The trailhead
is 100 road miles from Fairbanks on the Elliot Highway
(milepost 93). There are long steep hills and the route goes over
Tolovana Hot Springs Dome. In the summer there is a 3 mile
stretch of boggy terrain. This trail was constructed in 1969
to access the hot springs.
26 Mile Trail (winter only)
This trail is ideal for dog mushing,
snow machining, and skiing. The trail head is 75 road miles
from Fairbanks on the Elliot Highway at the Livengood (West
Fork) Airstrip (milepost 74). This trail has long straight flat stretches along the historic
Sled Road, which runs down the Tolovana River Valley. The trail
was built in 1917 to support the mining activity in Livengood.
50 Mile Trail (winter only)
This trail is best for dog mushing, snowmachining, and skiing. The trailhead is 30 miles road miles
from Fairbanks on the top of Murphy Dome (end of Murphy Dome
Road). Its starts and ends on the top of Murphy Dome
(2,930) and has long runs on the Livengood-Dunbar Sled Road
down the Tolovana River Valley. If you travel this route, you
will need to be very well prepared.
Tom DeLong of Tolovana Hot Springs, Ltd., reports that they hope to complete construction on a new airstrip one mile from the springs. The idea is to
link up with air charters and offer access for shorter day-long visits, as well as multiple trips. But they still plan to keep it a small, rustic venture,
to preserve the very reason people come.
The last we heard was that the resort was owned by
Ester residents. For more information and to make reservations, visit
web site, or call Tolovana Hot Springs, at 455-6706.
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