• Amber Miller

FAIRBANKS TRAVEL GUIDE: Chena Hot Springs Resort



tap an item to shop


After exploring around Anchorage, Girdwood, and Seward... we hopped on a plane and took off for Fairbanks! We stayed at the Chena Hot Springs Resort which is about 1 1/2 hours away from the Fairbanks airport. The resort has a shuttle, so that was super convenient especially with the snow!



Chena Hot Springs Resort:

The Chena Hot Springs Resort was so unique and admirable. They are the most accessible and developed hot spring resort in Alaska’s Interior. This amazing place was discovered back in 1905 and became famous for curing crippled prospectors of their aches and pains. Fairbanks residents would take the trip to enjoy the healing waters and soak. The check in process was so easy and the staff was unbelievably welcoming. We stayed in the Moose Lounge which was right in the heart of all the activities. Now, on to the fun stuff!


Hot Springs:


tap an item to shop

The Hot Springs have been a crowd favorite for centuries. It has always been known as the "Healing Waters" and now I can attest to it... it is healing! It is definitely hard to describe the feeling it gives you unless you've experienced a Hot Springs before, but it essentially gives you a feeling of Zen. My body felt so relaxed, rejuvenated, and peaceful. The water is composed of a variety of different, identified minerals. Many people believe that by bathing in the water, skin conditions such as psoriasis, muscular pains, and arthritis may be relieved. The Hot Springs were one of my favorite parts of the trip! To see these waters up close, watch my instagram reel HERE.


In case you don't know what exactly "Hot Springs" are or how they naturally occur... here's a general idea for you: The Chena geothermal system is fed by water which circulates deep underground over a period of thousands of years, picking up the natural heat from the earth, and then ‘short circuits’ back up to the surface through cracks and fractures in the granite rock underneath the hot springs area. Granite rock fractures or breaks very nicely in all directions, as opposed to layered sedimentary rock that just tends to break horizontally. This allows the hot water to quickly find its way to the surface from a great depth.


Aurora Viewing Tour:

WE SAW THE NORTHERN LIGHTS Y'ALL!!!! ... and WOW, they were breathtaking. We traveled two miles straight up the mountain to Charlie Dome, where we had a small basecamp to stay warm and drink hot chocolate in between venturing out to see the lights. We were there from 10pm - 3am, so the weather got pretty chilly (I believe it was negative 10 on that night). We had a 360° unobstructed view of the Aurora Borealis and of course we were able to snag some AMAZING photos! I was so ecstatic to finally cross this natural phenomenon off my bucket list!


Dog Sledding:


tap an item to shop


It's safe to say I fell in love with ALL of the Siberian Huskies at Chena Kennels. Most of them are former competition dogs or are litters from the dogs already there! A solid portion of them actually competed in Iditarod -- one of the most famous annual long-distance sled dog race run in Alaska. Another fun fact they mentioned (because I'm nosey and asked lol) is that these dogs actually are at their happiest when it is negative 20 degrees outside.... I was so shocked because I was shivering at 30 degrees haha! If they weren't running or playing, they were chilling out in the snow without a worry in the world. They took us all around their scenic trail on a locally hand built freight sled. It was about a mile and a half long through a pure winter wonderland. We of course stayed around and took pictures with the cute fur babies. Did I almost take one home? Yes.. yes I did. To see these sweet pups in action, watch my instagram reel HERE.


Snow Machine Tour

Second time Sledding through Alaska, we are basically pros now. We rode through Monument Creek Trail at Chena with the coolest guide who knew all the best spots for photos! This experience truly made me fall more in love with Alaska and all of its scenic beauty. PRO TIP: Turn on the handlebar heaters, you'll thank me later!



Aurora Ice Museum Tour


tap an item to shop


We were simply AMAZED by this Ice Museum Tour. Abbi and I are not huge museum people, but we were pleasantly surprised with the world's largest year round ice environment. It was created from over 1,000 tons of ice and snow, all harvested at the resort. It's open 365 days a year and is kept at about 25 degrees at all times! The best part about this tour was the Appletini's! They are poured into a hand carved martini ice glass that we actually were able to see the process of how he makes them. It was SO cool. After you finish your drink, it's a tradition to go out in from to the museum, make a wish, and throw your glass on the ground to shatter. Since it's tradition, of course we had to do it! The Ice museum also has an "Ice chapel" where you can renew your vows or plan your wedding, four hotel rooms inside that you can actually stay in, and a full bar to enjoy your Appletini! To see a full view, head to my Instagram reel of the Aurora Ice Museum HERE!


tap an item to shop


The Chena Hot Springs Resort has so many more additional activities that I highly recommend you checking out! We picked our top four based on recommendations from the staff and they did not disappoint. Speaking of the staff, they were the most generous group of people EVER. SO happy, helpful, and you can just feel the passion they have for their job. If you are planning a trip to the Last Frontier, take a few extra days and head to the Chena Hot Springs Resort in Fairbanks!


In case you missed my round up of Anchorage, Girdwood, and Seward.. check it out here! I hope you all have the BEST week!


XOXO

- Amber