Pilgrim Hot Springs – Nome, Alaska (Map and Guide)

In order to truly appreciate the beauty and majesty of the world around us, we need to take time out of our busy schedules and explore this wonderful world. One destination that is sure to quench your thirst for adventure and relaxation at the same time is Pilgrim Hot Springs in Nome, Alaska.

When visiting Pilgrim Hot Springs, walk around the property to see the old buildings. Photo by: Geo Rising
When visiting Pilgrim Hot Springs, walk around the property to see the old buildings. Photo by: Geo Rising

A natural wonder situated just over 40 miles from downtown Nome, Pilgrim Hot Springs is a popular getaway spot for locals and tourists alike. And with good reason too; this amazing outdoor hot springs has so much more to offer than what you’ll find in any spa or hotel. With its pristine nature, fresh air, cool waters, and invigorating activities; there’s no better place for a weekend getaway in Nome than Pilgrim Hot Springs!

What to Expect?

When visiting Pilgrim Hot Springs, walk around the property to see the old buildings.

Pilgrim Hot Springs is a popular outdoor hot springs in Nome, Alaska. The springs are located just 40 miles from downtown Nome, and are easily accessible by road. Made up of three pools; the Lower Pool, the Middle Pool, and the Upper Pool; the hot springs can accommodate up to 15 people at a time.

The Lower Pool is the easiest of the three to access and is also the most popular among hikers. Situated in close proximity to the Pilgrim River, the Lower Pool features warm water that originates from the river. The Middle Pool sits in a more secluded area and features naturally hot water that is channeled from a nearby stream. The Upper Pool sits atop a rocky cliff, and features water that has been heated by the sun.

History

The Pilgrim Hot Springs were discovered by an expedition led by Captain Robert Bartlett in 1906. The Captain and his team realized the potential of the hot springs as a tourist attraction. The original bathhouse was built in 1906 and was designed to accommodate up to 20 people. The original bathhouse was made from spruce saplings and slabs of spruce lumber.

The hot springs were named after the nearby Pilgrim River, which got its name from Captain Bartlett’s ship the “Pilgrim” which was wrecked nearby in 1902. The site was operated by the Northern Commercial Company from 1907 to 1956, when it was purchased by the State of Alaska. The state was looking to transform the hot springs into a state park. However, the site was badly damaged during the 1964 Alaska Earthquake, and it was closed in 1966.

The site was purchased by the North Pacific Mining Company in 1964, and the bathhouse was demolished in 1967. The mining company wanted to use the hot springs to heat water for the adjacent seawater desalination plant. The hot springs were also used as a source of water for local residents.

Hot Springs Pools

The Pilgrim Hot Springs are a series of three natural hot springs located just 40 miles from downtown Nome, Alaska. The springs are made up of the Lower Pool, Middle Pool, and Upper Pool. The Lower Pool is the easiest of the three to access and is also the most popular among hikers.

Soak in the warm waters or simply walk around and step back in time. Photo by: Geo Rising
Soak in the warm waters or simply walk around and step back in time. Photo by: Geo Rising

Situated in close proximity to the Pilgrim River, the Lower Pool features warm water that originates from the river. The Middle Pool sits in a more secluded area and features naturally hot water that is channeled from a nearby stream. The Upper Pool sits atop a rocky cliff, and features water that has been heated by the sun.

Activities

Aside from soaking in the glorious waters of Pilgrim Hot Springs, visitors can also explore the area surrounding the springs. Visitors can hike along the Pilgrim River Trail, a 1.5-mile trail that leads to the Middle Pool.

The trail is easy and is suitable for all levels of hikers. The trail follows the Pilgrim River, a tributary of the Teller River, which is known for its salmon runs. The trail is also a popular spot for bird watching, so you might just get lucky and spot some species of birds not commonly found in other parts of Alaska. Do note that footwear suitable for hiking is required as the trail is littered with rocks, roots, and mud.

Visitors can also explore the nearby desalination plant, which is a few minutes away from the hot springs. The desalination plant was built in the 1960s to provide fresh water to the town of Nome. Visitors can also visit the nearby Teller Wildlife Refuge, which is home to marine mammals and migratory birds. You can also go fishing or crabbing in the Pilgrim River or the Teller River.

Facilities

At the hot springs, you can find wooden changing cabins, a parking area, restrooms, and a gift shop. There are also trash cans and recycling bins scattered throughout the area. Since the area is in a remote location, do expect to find a shortage of cell phone signal. There is also a gift shop where you can purchase souvenirs and Pilgrim Hot Springs branded merchandise. The shop also offers snacks and drinks for sale.

Tips for Visiting Pilgrim Hot Springs

– Dress appropriately – The weather in Nome can change in an instant, so it’s a good idea to wear layers. Even in the summer months, temperatures can drop as low as the mid-40s, so dressing in warm clothing is a must.

– Bring a towel – You’ll need a towel to dry yourself and for your belongings.

– Bring a first-aid kit – The grounds are rocky and muddy, so you might get injured.

– Bring cash – The gift shop and the desalination plant do not accept credit or debit cards.

– Bring insect repellent – The area is home to black flies, mosquitoes, and no-see-ums, so you’ll need to protect yourself.

– Bring water – You’ll need water not only for drinking but also for washing your hands and cleaning your utensils.

– Pack light – The hot springs are a day-use only facility, so you can only spend a few hours there.

– Stay hydrated – The hot springs are warm, so make sure to drink plenty of water to stay hydrated.

– Wear boots – The grounds are rocky, so it’s best to wear boots instead of sandals.

When is the Best Time to Visit?

Pilgrim Hot Springs is open for day-use from May through September. The best time to visit is during the month of June, when the salmon are spawning in the Pilgrim River. If you plan to visit during the winter months, make sure to pack warm clothing, as the temperature can drop as low as the mid-40s.

Weather in next 5 days

Where to stay?

If you are planning a weekend getaway to the Pilgrim Hot Springs, you can stay in Nome. There are a few hotels to choose from, and you can plan your trip based on the hotel you are staying in. For instance, if you want to visit the hot springs during the salmon run, you’ll have to stay in Nome at least a week before. You can also plan your trip based on the weather.

Bottom line

Pilgrim Hot Springs is a must-visit destination if you’re looking for a relaxing weekend getaway in Nome, Alaska. The springs feature three pools, each with warm water that originates from the nearby river. There are also trails near the springs, where you can hike along the Pilgrim River. The best time to visit the springs is during the salmon run in June.

Local Info

Address: Kougarok Rd, Nome, Alaska 99762
Season: Year-round
GPS: 65°05′34″N 164°55′23″W
Website: dfg.alaska.gov…

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