Poach Your Popsicle Toes Under the Aurora Borealis
About an hour and a half outside Fairbanks, Alaska, at the literal end of Chena Hot Springs Road, lies a geothermic hot springs, where you can thaw out your tootsies under the dazzling show of the Aurora Borealis. Chena Hot Springs is open all year, and is ideally located for all manner of outdoor activities no matter what the season. During winter, Chena Hot Springs is also one of the better places to view the Northern Lights, being so far away from any competing city lights. You can watch them while soaking in the hot springs lake, surrounded by snow, or from the resort’s heated glass-walled “aurorium” lodge, just a short hike up the mountain, or you can join a group on a snow cat tractor that will take you far into the wilderness to see them. Chena Hot Springs also has an ice hotel for anyone who wants to spend the night (and $600) at 30 below, wrapped in caribou hides, inside one of four chic igloos created by World Champion ice sculptors, Steve and Heather Brice, who have their workshop and display their work in the ice museum at Chena. For those who like their accommodations a little more toasty, Chena Hot Springs also offers a variety of cabins to lodge rooms, including pet friendly options.
View the Aurora Borealis
Catching a glimpse of these beautiful dancing lights requires a whole lot of luck! The two weeks prior to our arrival in Fairbanks were overcast and viewing the Aurora was not possible. Three nights into our stay we were beginning to think it wasn't going to happen. On the fourth day, the skies cleared and by 8:30pm the resort gave us a call to let us know the lights were out! We fortunately opted for the viewing tour later that evening and were thrilled beyond belief that we were able to see the lights without obstruction at the top of the hill.
By Breanna Rhoades, AFAR Staff
56.5 Chena Hot Springs Rd, Fairbanks, AK 99712, USA