Kanuti Hot Springs – Kanuti National Wildlife Refuge, Alaska

The geothermal Kanuti Hot Springs are located only 24 kilometers (15 miles) north of the Arctic Circle, making them one of the most remote hot springs in the world. This hidden treasure in Alaska may be found tucked away in a grassy field and is bordered on all sides by dense forest. It is about as disconnected from civilization as it is possible to get.

The Pools at the Hot Springs

When the temperature outside can reach up to 300 degrees Fahrenheit, the best way to beat the heat at Kanuti Hot Springs is to take a dip in one of the two pools there. To avoid getting too hot, tourists can try to find a spot close to one of the hot springs’ entry points for cooler water. This will allow them to avoid the most intense temperatures.

Access to these pools is available throughout the year; however, it is important that you arrive prepared. If you want to get here during the winter, you might have to hike through some pretty serious snow. In the spring, the region is teeming with mother bears and their young in addition to having an abundance of blueberries, wild chives, and mint.

Note: It is important to remember to keep a safe distance away from bears, to bring bear spray with you, and to always be aware of your surroundings.

Camping in the backcountry is allowed in the Kanuti National Wildlife Refuge, although it is a fairly rustic experience. You won’t find any official campsites set up, so you’ll have to choose a spot for yourself to camp out in the wilderness. Be sure to investigate your surroundings before setting up a tent, and don’t forget to clean up the area before you pack up and leave.

How to get there

The springs may be found within of the Kanuti National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska; more specifically, they can be found between the refuge’s border and the Caribou Mountains. Because there are no established trails to follow, tourists should be informed that getting to the Kanuti Hot Springs is not the easiest of tasks, and a topographical map such as Bettles B-2 is strongly advised to help them find their way.

Floating Down the Kanuti River to the Kanuti River Hot Springs in the Kanuti National Wildlife Refuge, AK. Photo by: J C
Floating Down the Kanuti River to the Kanuti River Hot Springs in the Kanuti National Wildlife Refuge, AK. Photo by: J C

Therefore, if you want to get the most out of your trip, it is recommended that you take it during the warmer months and travel down the Kanuti River for 14 miles. For a more manageable journey back to the main road, bringing along a compact pack raft can be of great assistance.

Start your float at the Dalton Highway crossing, which is located at the Mile 103 marker.

Following the ridgeline tundra high above the tree line is what the map will instruct you to do as you hike out of the area.

You are going to have to travel deeper through the woods, and then you will have to descend the mountain before you can locate the road again.

Note that it is also feasible to reach the springs during the winter months via snow skiing, but the level of the snow can make the journey extremely difficult.

Kanuti Hot Springs weather forecast (next 5 days)

Weather in Kanuti Hot Springs is pretty unpredictable, especially during the winter. So you better check weather a few times a day before your departure, just to make sure you won’t be surprised at the hot springs.

Details

Location: Kanuti National Wildlife Refuge, Alaska | 12 miles west of MP103 on the Dalton Highway
Season: Year-round | Best experienced during warmer months
Camping: Permitted
GPS: 66º 20′ 30″ N 150º 50′ 44″ W

Kanuti Hot Springs map