When most people thing of hot springs they picture a steamy riverbed or resort to kick back and relax while enjoying a wide range of amenities. However, in Wrangell, Alaska you won’t find that when looking for a natural warm spring to soak in. Chief Shakes Hot Springs is located in the Tonga National Forest and is one of the best hot springs for those looking to truly get away from the world. Accessed by boat, it features two hot tubs with one inside and one outside.
Chief Shakes Hot Springs Pools
Being in the peaceful wilderness should always be free and the forest service makes sure that is the case. The entire facility is free to use which does attract a decent amount of locals and tourists throughout the year, but because of it’s seclusion it still won’t be overcrowded as most hot springs you visit.
The inside hot tub is enclosed within a small cabin, bench, and screen porch. The outdoor hot tub allows you to take in some of the most scenic views Wrangell, Alaska has to offer. Each hot spring has hot and cold flow pipes that control the temperature of the natural mineral water. We hope you are ok with 140 degrees as that is the typical temp each pool is maintained at. Other than the two pools, the facility offers a few amenities such as a dressing room, bathroom (outhouses), and place to eat.
Camping around Chief Shakes Hot Springs
Tent camping is permitted as long as you stay 100 ft near the trails that surround the area. Most of the area is underdeveloped so plan on bringing most supplies as if you were stranded in the wilderness, but wanted to still have a great night under the stars. If camping isn’t your style there are also two cabins available if you are willing to hike upriver a bit.
The actual hot springs is roughly 30 miles northwest of the city of Wrangell. Because it is only accessible by boat it may be best you hire a guide or local if you aren’t familiar with the area. As you follow the Stikine River, there can be some more aggressive water parts of the river that guides can help navigate you through. Once you get the the springs, it’s a short walk by trail to the cabin and facilities.
In Alaska, Chief Shakes Hot Springs is one of our favorite as the location and peacefulness brings a relaxation most places in the world can’t offer. If you don’t have a summer vacation planned yet, consider making the trek as it’s a story that will last a lifetime.
Address: Wrangell, AK 99929
Season: All Year
GPS: 56.726944, -132.052222