While most people visit Alaska to enjoy its stunning scenic views and abundant wildlife, the hot springs sprinkled across the state are perfect for those looking to add a little relaxation to their vacation.
With miles and miles of uninterrupted wilderness, Alaska is truly an outdoorsman’s most grand adventure. It’s the kind of escape that feels like you have truly found a corner of the world that exists only for your personal pleasure. And with 20+ natural, geothermal hot springs to choose from, no matter where you are, you can find somewhere to unwind.
The geothermal hot springs of Alaska range from rustic to resort. Whether you are hiking deep inside of this grand wilderness, traversing mighty tundra, or even overlooking the vast Pacific Ocean, Alaska has a hot spring for you.
While some will literally take days of hiking or skiing to reach, others are found just a quick seaplane, car, or snowmachine ride away. The majority will be found either on islands within the Southeast panhandle or inside the Yukon River watershed of interior Alaska.
Whatever your pleasure, don’t find yourself in Alaska without seeking out one, or a couple, of these natural geothermal gems for yourself. So, grab your hiking boots, skis, kayak, or favorite seaplane pilot and set out on an adventure of a lifetime.
Chena Hot Springs – Fairbanks
Chena Hot Springs Resort is Alaska’s premier hot pool location. This privately owned resort is a popular, year-round, interior Alaska destination.
Whether you choose to soak in the chlorinated 106°F indoor pools and hot tubs, or in the 90°F outdoor hot spring that remains in its natural state, you will find rest and recovery from a day of activities at this full-service resort. Some of the resort amenities include lodging, dog sled tours, an ice museum, massage therapy, and a Northern Lights tour.
Visitors from Fairbanks may also just choose to enjoy Chena for the day by purchasing a day pass to the pools. Chena Hot Springs is famously known for soaking under the stars in sub-zero temperatures while watching in awe the winter views of the Northern Lights.
If resort life is your style, Chena Hot Springs is waiting just for you.
Goddard Hot Springs – Sitka
Baranof Island, just 16 miles outside of Sitka, is home to the beautiful Goddard Hot Springs. Once the location of an invalid hospital in the 1800s, the city of Sitka now owns this unique property.
Goddard Hot Springs consists of two open shelters covering the 153°F spring-fed waters, two cedar bathhouses, and wide-open, fields framing your view of the bay, offering a cozy location to camp overnight. Best discovered by boat from Sitka, you may either hire a guide or paddle yourself to the shore for a day of escape or a few days of overnight camping in the Alaskan wilderness.
Not the camping type? Just across the bay, you can make basecamp for your adventures at Tom Young Memorial Cabin. It is a lovely, fully-equipped cabin, owned and maintained by the city of Sitka and available to rent on a first-come, first-served basis.
Baranof Warm Springs – Sitka
Just 20 miles east of Sitka, on the magnificently scenic and remote island of Baranof, is where you will discover the Baranof Warm Springs. And while the name says “warm”, the pool temperatures of its two outdoor pools and three indoor baths remain from warm all the way up to a balmy 124°F year-round
Visitors may lounge amongst the waters-edge of the raging Baranof River or simply hang out in the public bathhouse for a more private soaking experience. Breathtaking views of the commanding landscape are guaranteed no matter which pool you choose.
Baranof is a local fishing community that can only be easily accessed by floatplane or boat, which can be chartered from Sitka as no roads to Baranof exist. If you are lucky enough to find your way there, a getaway to the Baranof Warm Springs will prove to be an all-around great experience you won’t soon forget.
Stay a while longer at the Baranof Wilderness Lodge and Resort where you will get pampered well and fed like a king or queen.
White Sulphur Springs – Sitka
Located deep in the Tongass National Forest of southeast Alaska, the White Sulphur Springs is a hot springs experience you have been hoping to discover.
Operated by the U.S. Forest Service, the White Sulphur Springs are comprised of an outdoor pool and a bathhouse made of red and yellow cedar that is locally sourced and will protect you from the elements as you soak. View the Pacific Ocean from inside its 135°F natural waters while waving at nature lovers and charter boat guests who have come for a long, hot soak as well.
Visitors can access White Sulphur Springs by boat from the town of Pelican, by floatplane, or a kayaking day trip along the coast of Chichagof Island. Once there, you can stay in the minimally stocked White Sulphur Springs Cabin overnight or just make a day of it and return to Sitka before the sun goes down.
Pilgrim Hot Springs – Nome
Are you searching for a hot spot in the middle of the Arctic north? Well, look no further!
With surrounding Nome temperatures that rarely rise above 60°F, the contrast of Pilgrim Hot Springs 170°F pools will quickly warm the coldest of toes. Once a resort during the gold rush that later became a Catholic mission for children who lost parents to the Spanish flu, the history of this site is as deep as the source of the healing waters.
Pilgrim Hot Springs is unique in that you must get a pass from the city of Nome in order to visit this site. Multiple historical buildings surround the outside pools, making visitors feel like they jump back in time with each soak. Admission is free and the springs can be found at the end of a breathtaking, 68-mile drive to its entrance.
While there are no campsites directly beside the hot springs, due to it being designated as a historical site, campsites are still available close by. Pilgrim Hot Springs is perfect for an Alaskan wilderness drive and soak, and is especially fun for those who love adding historical sites to their itinerary.
Manley Hot Springs – Manley Hot Springs
Manley Hot Springs is an incredibly unique soaking experience, unlike anything on this list. Nestled inside of a private greenhouse, guests will find three concrete soaking tubs that can be reserved at 30-minute intervals for a nominal fee. The 135°F water of the springs provides heat for the greenhouse, allowing it to support tropical plants and making you feel like you are in a jungle.
These spring-fed tubs are quite popular and have become a fun excursion from Fairbanks, Alaska. Guests may camp near the springs or stay locally and take advantage of Northern Lights tours and guided snowmobile excursions.
Soaking in the splendor of the tropics is something you never thought you would experience while visiting Alaska, so don’t miss out on the chance!
Tolovana Hot Springs – Tolovana River Valley
Strap on your skis or snowshoes and start hiking, or pack up a snow machine for an adventurous ride over the snowy trails to visit the Tolovana Hot Springs.
Three man-made, 125°F hot tubs, each complete with a deck for lounging, make up the Tolovana experience. Visitors may enjoy the tubs year-round and can even stay overnight but making a reservation for one of the three, free adjoining cabins located on-site.
Additionally, visitors should have backcountry experience or hire a guide. While the hike is nice, taking a snowmachine will reduce your travel time and allow you to take in Alaska’s stunning scenic views.
So pack in your gear and food, and come soak for a while in the Tolovana Hot Springs! This is a true Alaskan outdoor adventure, perfect for a family getaway.
Chief Shakes Hot Springs – Wrangell
Many Alaskan hot springs experiences come with the fear of mosquitoes that could interrupt all the fun but at Chief Shakes Hot Springs, guests don’t have to worry about these issues.
Visitors and locals can experience the luxury of soaking inside in a steamy, redwood hot tub that is surrounded by a screened-in porch, protecting you from all things that buzz at Chief Shakes Hot Springs. The 140°F second tub, the same temperature as the indoor pool, is fully outside, with sweeping views of the Tongass National Forest at your fingertips.
Arrival at these cozy springs is best done by boat. You can hire a guide or brave the tidal river like a local but be quite careful as experience is necessary.
The entire Chief Shakes destination is serviced by the Forest Service and includes two hot springs tubs, two outhouses, a dressing room, a picnic table, and a fire ring. No overnight accommodations are provided but two wilderness cabins, Shakes Slough 1 and Shakes Slough 2, are closeby and open for reservations.
Chief Shakes Hot Springs is a Tongass National Forest soak that you don’t want to miss!
Serpentine Hot Springs – Bearing Land Bridge NP
Serpentine Hot Springs is the most visited area of the famous Bering Land Bridge National Preserve. Soaking beneath its nearby granite tors provides a dramatic backdrop to an Alaskan experience that lures avid outdoor enthusiasts year-round.
One unique pool at Serpentine Hot Springs is situated inside of a cute, red bathhouse where visitors will be protected from the harsh outdoor temperatures. But if you prefer to soak outside underneath the dramatic views, outdoor waters are waiting for you as well. Temperatures can be as high as 170°F, but cold water is always available to cool things down a bit.
A minimally stocked bunkhouse and outhouse are available on-site for visitors on a first-come, first-served basis. Access can be granted by dogsled and snow machines in the winter, or you can hike through the tundra in warmer months. Additionally, visitors can choose to arrive by plane as there is access at a nearby airstrip.
Kilo Hot Springs – Ray Mountains
Kilo Hot Springs is one of the most remote and natural of all the Alaskan hot springs on this list. Your determination will pay off if you are lucky enough to discover this hidden treasure located “somewhere” in the Alaska interior. Just remember that compass and map skills are a “must.”
This hot spring is 211 feet long and averages temperatures of 122°F. Soaking here is like discovering a private oasis created just for the lucky person who finds it. Visitors may camp anywhere nearby within 100 feet from the water and stay as long as you like. You won’t want to leave soon because you’ll be so proud you got there.
Whether you choose the 40-mile hike or a private flight to land you within 5 miles of the springs, Kilo Hot Springs feels like a treasure hunt destination that you can surely brag about to your friends.
Tenakee Hot Springs – Tenakee Springs
If you are looking to live like an Alaskan and catch up on all the local gossip while bathing nude, Tenakee Hot Springs is the one spring you must add to your bucket list. This remote little town’s hot springs is a meeting place and bath for residents all wrapped up in one unique experience.
At Tenakee you can soak inside in the 107°F, 6X9 foot tub that remains steamy and warm even in the coldest of Alaskan winters. This bathhouse is maintained by residents and worth every moment of relaxation it provides. Entrance to these springs is free and visitors are welcome, just check the schedule before entering as men and women must soak at scheduled times.
After a long soak, enjoy the small town of Tenakee by renting a cabin or cottage and spending a few days with the locals. Visit the Tenakee Springs Market for all your food and supply needs, sprinkled with local banter and good times.
Those are the probably the top hot springs in The Last Frontier! Have a rejuvenating time soaking in Alaska’s precious mineral waters.