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Lodging for Nothern Light Viewing / near Chena Hot Springs

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Taipei, Taiwan
posts: 2
reviews: 12
Lodging for Nothern Light Viewing / near Chena Hot Springs

We're visiting Fairbanks in mid-March and really like to visit Chena Hot Springs for the northern lights, the hot springs and the ice museum. But the resort is fully-booked. Is it recommended to drive back to town after viewing the northern lights (past 2am)? Or is there other lodging available in the nearby area?

Also, for northern light viewing, is it recommended to stay in the city and drive out in the evening, or just stay in a B&B in the more rural area (chance seeing the aurora being top priority, and reasonable price/comfort being second)?

Thank you =)

Houston, Texas
posts: 357
reviews: 29
1. Re: Lodging for Nothern Light Viewing / near Chena Hot Springs

I hope you get to see the aurora - it it amazing. But after living there for 10 years, I can't say that I had that chance all that frequently. Hope your chances are better. The drive out of town isn't that far, so you'd be just fine to drive out to a viewing spot and then drive back to town.

Interior Alaska
posts: 35
reviews: 9
2. Re: Lodging for Nothern Light Viewing / near Chena Hot Springs

I think Taste of Alaska is a GREAT spot for seeing the Auroras and for visiting Chena Hot Springs. I actually saw a nice show of Lights from the outside pool at CHS.

They announced first that they were turning off the overhead lights around the pool area, so if anyone wanted to move inside with lights first, they could. Then with the large lights turned off and through the mist of the heated pool, we saw the show. It was mid-Oct. and CHS was filled with mostly a local crowd of Alaskans.

Taste of Alaska is six miles out of town, owned and managed by an Alaskan family, and is unique.

Edited: 4:38 pm, February 12, 2013
Wheatland, Wyoming
posts: 161
reviews: 26
3. Re: Lodging for Nothern Light Viewing / near Chena Hot Springs

I would not make the drive if it could be avoided late at night. It is 65 miles back to Fairbanks, curves, icy and moose to deal with. An hour and a half trip. I recommend trying Angel Creek Lodge, they are only 6 miles from the hot springs, very rustic cabins in a nice spot.

Angel Creek Lodge

50 Mile Chena Hot Springs RD, Two Rivers, AK 99716

(907) 369-4128


And TripAdvisor,


Many is the time I have not seen the lights at the springs until 2-4am, so if conditions are right the lodge keeps you in the area if they don't appear until very late.

"5 of 5 stars

Jan 4, 2013

by bagladysue

I stay here every time I go out to Chena Hot springs! THEE BEST people in Alaska, Steve is a real Alaska fella and his family rock! The cabins are rustic but cozy, the bar is fun and the northern lights are visible almost every night! They even have horses out there! Highly recommended unless you are a softie who needs all the amentieis. This is a REAL Alaskan experience! (Hide)"

Edited: 5:07 pm, February 12, 2013
New Zealand
posts: 35
reviews: 17
4. Re: Lodging for Nothern Light Viewing / near Chena Hot Springs

We were in Fairbanks a few weeks ago and went out to Chandalar lodge for the night about 40mins away until 2am, did see a slight aurora. Hard work staying a wake.

But the best place by far is Bettles lodge about 50min flight north. Great lodge and great viewing of the aurora.

We booked the lodges we stayed at over a year ago. Good luck worth effort.

Milwaukee, Wisconsin
posts: 7,967
reviews: 29
5. Re: Lodging for Nothern Light Viewing / near Chena Hot Springs

I have been 50/50 (1 of 2 nights on separate trips) with seeing the aurora while staying out at Chena Hot Springs.

My personal preference is to stay in town and drive (approx. 30 minutes) up to Cleary Summit to the overlook to view & photograph the lights. I've done that several times, without incident (roads, snow, animals, etc).

Taipei, Taiwan
posts: 2
reviews: 12
6. Re: Lodging for Nothern Light Viewing / near Chena Hot Springs

Thanks for all the advice. We decided to stay at Angel Creek Lodge (their burgers and pizzas look so yummy), then A Taste of Alaska the next night.

@TimeshareVon, we plan to go to Aurora Borealis Lodge for one night for the aurora tour. Do you think we should just go to Cleary Summit or the tour is worthwhile?

We also plan a two day trip to drive Coldfoot for aurora viewing. Is there an overnight tour (air + land would be best) to Coldfoot in the winter?

Helena, Montana
posts: 1
7. Re: Lodging for Nothern Light Viewing / near Chena Hot Springs

My wife and I are staying at Dale and Jo View Suites as I write this and the views we had last night of the Northern Lights from this location was just amazing. We did travel out to Chena Hot Springs yesterday. It was an easy round trip drive to make. But be aware that Chena Hot Springs is really more of a lodge than a resort. It is VERY rustic.

Fairbanks, Alaska
posts: 230
reviews: 28
8. Re: Lodging for Nothern Light Viewing / near Chena Hot Springs

I suggest you might reconsider driving to coldfoot. It's a 7 hour drive under the best conditions. March is still winter in central Alaska. The Haul Road is mostly an 18-wheeler road on the winter. It's gravel. Match snow storms happen and combined with the wind north of fai the road can be rather dicey to drive. You'd want 4WD, you'd need to carry survival gear--sleeping bags, parkas, snow pants and boots, food, water, etc. (With 35 years of living here i assure you that no one with more than a few grey cells will travel long distances in Alaska w/o survival gear in the winter.) another nice feature if the haul road is the 18-wheelers coming at you in front or behind with a giant cloud of snow following them.

There is NOTHING in coldfoot.

If you want to head north to get a better chance at the NL, I'd second the suggestion to fly to bettles. There is nothing there either, but if the weather is nice you'll have pretty flight and be able to enjoy the view. As opposed to the white knuckle view of the large truck barreling at you on a road that is at most 1.75 lanes wide.

9. Re: Lodging for Nothern Light Viewing / near Chena Hot Springs

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