Top 8 Activities to do at Chena Hot Springs Resort

Heather Raulerson posing for Aurora Portrait

Chena Hot Springs Resort is my newest fave winter vacation spot! Here are the top eight activities to do there.

  1. Hot Spring (Of Course!) – I went and soaked in the Hot Spring Lake every morning. Dipping yourself in the water was an excellent way to start the day all relaxed. It averaged 102 degrees at the entrance but, as you walked around the lake, you could find hotter pockets of water if you wanted. My hair kept freezing with the steam which looked like a spider web, super cool!Hot Springs Lake
  2. Visit with the Animals on Property – Since I was on a photography expedition, I walked around the resort during the day taking pictures of all the animals on the property. There were caribou, reindeer, goats, and even chickens.Caribou up closewhite reindeer up closegoat sticking his head outGoats butting heads
  3. Renewable Energy Tour – I got to go on a tour to see how Chena Hot Springs is self-sustaining. The first stop was the generator that takes the hot water from the ground and turns it into geothermal energy. The water comes in at 165 degrees and they lower it down to just slightly over 100 for the Hot Spring Lake on the property. The lodge where we were staying was also heated this way. All the floors had radiant heating. When we checked in we asked how to lower down the heat; they told us open the window.Chena Power Renewable Energy GeneratorThe next stop was the Greenhouse. This is where they grow their lettuce that they use in their salads at the restaurant. My personal favorite was the apple and pear salad with a cider vinegar dressing with the lettuce grown from the greenhouse. I ordered this multiple times. Yummy!Lettuce growing in Chena Hot Springs Resort GreenhouseApple and Pear Salad with home grown lettuce from Chena Hot Springs Greenhouse
  4. Ice Museum – Have an Appletini in an Ice glass – You are only able to see inside the Aurora Ice Museum in a tour. You walk inside, and it is warmer sometimes in the museum than outside. It stays a constant 25 degrees cold for all the ice sculptures to be enjoyed. The ice art generated inside is from two World Championship Ice Carvers, Steve & Heather Brice. I even got to see them make the ice Appletini glass that I enjoyed later on the tour. The photography was a bit tougher to get good pictures inside with the low light. I ended up switching back and forth with my camera so, I wouldn’t miss anything. Watch out when you ask the bartender to take your photo. You might have a couple of him on your camera when you get home. Sneaky fellow.Aurora Ice Museuminside the Aurora Ice MuseumHeather Raulerson drinking an Appletini in the Aurora Ice Museum
  5. Dog Sledding/Kennel Tour – The sled dogs are amazing little animals and they have loud barks so, you can hear them all the way to the lodge. You can read more about this particular tour in a previous post.Dog SleddingHeather Raulerson playing with puppies at Chena Dog Kennel
  6. Flight-seeing Expedition to the Artic Circle – This tour is pricier but, definitely worth every penny. I went with a great group of fellow photographers and Seth, our pilot, was wonderful. You can read more about my flight to the Arctic Circle and Beaver Village in this post.Flightseeing group to Arctice Circle and Beaver VillageHeather Raulerson on planeAerial view of Alaskan mountains and rivers
  7. Aurora Snow Coach – The Aurora Snow Coach takes you up the mountain to be able to view the Northern Lights unfettered by the resort’s lights. The back cab is side seating so, you are smooshed up against your new friends and hope that you don’t fall into their laps as you go up and down the mountain. We were laughing so hard the entire time. Once up on top of the mountain, I was fortunate to get my Aurora Portrait done by esteemed photographer, Kristen Bentz. How awesome is this?!Snow coach for the Aurora Viewing TourHeather Raulerson posing for Aurora Portrait
  8. Chase the Northern Lights – I saved the best for last! The whole purpose of my trip was to catch these elusive northern lights and by golly I caught them! If you want to do the same you can read my how to postpurple and yellow northern lights behind planeGreen Northern Light pillars with tree silhouettesbright green and purple northern lights streaking up the skyStar Trails with purple and green northern lights behind evergreen treesPurple and yellow Northern Lights

I thoroughly enjoyed my first trip to Alaska. I want to thank Great Escape Publishing and Bonnie Caton for putting this all together. And Kristen Bentz who bestowed upon all of us her photography secrets and wisdom. Which I will continue to use in the future.

Have you been to Alaska and enjoyed all the activities that Chena Hot Springs Resort has to offer? I would love to hear about it.


  • Stacey 7May2017 at 11:09 AM Reply

    Stunning pictures of the northern lights! I’m subscribing!

    • Heather 7May2017 at 9:03 PM Reply

      Thank you Stacey! I’m so glad you liked my photos.

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