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Chena Hot Springs: Best place to visit in 2020

Alaskan vacations resemble images of huge salmon, slowly moving glaciers, never-ending in mountain ranges, and – for those who have visited before – mosquitoes the size of eagles. But 60 miles from Fairbanks, at the end of a winding road through the desert, is an oasis in the forest. If you want to swim in the healing waters, ride a dog sled, go on a tour or visit the world’s largest ice environment in the world, Chena Hot Springs has it all.

A snow-covered hut and trees surround a watering hole at night at Chen’s Hot Springs near Fairbanks Alaska.

Cold at Aurora Ice Museum

Chen’s Hot Springs is not just a desert hot spring, although it alone is worth it. It also houses the world’s largest ice environment all year round – the Aurora Ice Museum. Placed in a giant copy of an igloo with an internal temperature of 24 degrees Fahrenheit, a park is required to enter inside (borrowers are available).

Purple and blue lights illuminate a large ice sculpture of a warrior on a horse at Chen’s indoor hot spring ice museum

Once inside, the lights remain dim, while multi-colored light bulbs illuminate award-winning ice sculptures carved by a local couple. For a fee, the tour includes an appletini mixed in a glass carved entirely out of ice, in a bar carved out of ice sitting on a chair that, you guessed it, carved out of ice. The tradition says that being empty, ice glasses break on the sidewalk in front, making a wish (in any case, they will not move well in your luggage).

The truly brave can book an overnight stay at the ice hotel and sleep on the ice plate. However, guides claim that few remain all night.

Holidays in the Chena hot springs

With the mouth-watering appletini in your system, the soothing waters of the hot spring lake feel even more amazing. Sources discovered by gold miners over a century ago have a mineral content that not only treats sore muscles. The outdoor pool averages 106 degrees, and the indoor pool is a comfortable 90, and people from all over the world come to immerse themselves in the atmosphere and the steam bath.

Two fountains pour water at the end of Chen’s hot springs, with boulders and a small building around the perimeter.

Surrounded by boulders and flowering plants, you will feel as if you have stumbled upon an exotic natural pool, except for a closed building and a fence along one side. It can be crowded in the pool, but the experience is still worth it – sit back, close your eyes, and immerse yourself in much-needed relaxation. The open lake is only accessible to guests over 18 years old, but the indoor pool is a pleasure for everyone.

Winter nights under the northern lights

To bask under the summer midnight sun in the calming mineral waters is fantastic, but a winter visit also has its advantages when the northern lights appear. The dancing lights of Aurora in various shades of green, red and purple are stunning, both for the first time and in the fifties. Winter packages at Chena Hot Springs Resort range from day trips to weekly photo excursions during periods when the northern lights are most likely to occur.

In the night sky, huge strips of purple and green light swirl, and below – the dark outlines of trees, near Chena hot springs in Alaska.

The area around Chena Hot Springs is one of the best places to see the Northern Lights or the Northern Lights. 

Chena Resort operates entirely in its geothermal plant, which uses the Earth’s energy to generate enough electricity to power the entire resort and even to sell part of the public company. The resort offers a guided tour of the facility, where an informed guide explains the whole process. There are also several greenhouses where staff grow their vegetables, which served in the on-site restaurant.

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