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

Nestled in the heart of Northwestern Alaska lies a hidden gem waiting to be discovered. A place where adventure and relaxation seamlessly blend together to create an unforgettable experience. We’re talking about the majestic Pilgrim Hot Springs in Nome, Alaska – a 320-acre property that was once home to a Catholic orphanage and now serves as a destination for travelers and adventurers alike.

Surrounded by towering pine trees, the grounds offer a breathtaking backdrop for exploration. But it’s the warm waters at Kruszgamepa Hot Springs and other springs dotted throughout the property that truly make this destination a must-visit. Imagine soaking in the natural goodness of hot springs while taking in the stunning beauty of Alaska’s wilderness. It’s an experience that will leave you feeling rejuvenated and refreshed.

But that’s not all. The Pilgrim Hot Springs is also home to several restoration projects including Bellarmine Lafortune’s chickens hill and Unaatuq LLC’s balsam poplar grove. These additions only add to the charm and allure of this already enchanting destination.


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!

Located in Western Alaska, in the Bering Straits region of Northwestern Alaska, Pilgrim Hot Springs is a 320-acre property owned by Mary’s Igloo Native Corporation, a part of the Bering Straits Native Corporation (a party of Unaatuq LLC). This picturesque location is nestled among pine trees and has been a sacred site for local native tribes for centuries, with many members of their communities still visiting the area today.

In 1904, the Bellarmine Lafortune Orphanage was established here, but despite its closure, the popularity of Pilgrim Hot Springs has never dwindled. Visitors from around the world come to the area to enjoy the many outdoor activities available, such as hiking, skiing, and snowmobiling. The hot springs themselves are made up of two main sites: Chicken Hill and Unaatuq.

At Chicken Hill, visitors can take a soak in the warm waters of Kruszgamepa Hot Springs, while Unaatuq offers a more relaxed experience with its cooler temperatures. Pilgrim Hot Springs is accessible via the Nome-Kougarok Road, a gravel road that leads to the springs. The area is home to a variety of wildlife and plants, such as Balsam Poplar, Arctic Alaska, and Northern Alaska.

Preserving the natural beauty and history of Pilgrim Hot Springs is of utmost importance to the Pilgrim Hot Springs LLC. This team is made up of members from each of the area’s local native corporations, including the Nome Eskimo Community, Council Native Corporation, Norton Sound Economic Development Corporation, Sitnasuak Native Corporation, Teller Native Corporation, and White Mountain Native Corporation. They work together to ensure that future generations can continue to enjoy this beautiful and sacred site for years to come.

The Healing Powers of Natural Hot Springs Pools

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

Nestled amidst a lush forest of balsam poplar, cottonwood, and pine trees, visitors can indulge in the ultimate relaxation with a dip in the natural hot springs pools. Surrounded by over a dozen historical buildings, this serene retreat is the perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of daily life.

Pilgrim Hot Springs is a true gem that has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Located at the end of a breathtaking 68-mile drive along some of Nome, Alaska’s most scenic highway, the journey is as enchanting as the destination. The reward is worth the effort as you get to soak in the steaming hot outdoor springs that offer healing benefits for both the mind and body.

Despite the almost unbearably cold Nome temperatures, the warm waters of Pilgrim Hot Springs offer a sanctuary to unwind and rejuvenate. With a temperature of 178°F, the natural hot springs pools are the perfect antidote to the harsh Alaskan winters. The healing properties of the mineral-rich waters have been known to alleviate stress and promote relaxation.

Indulging in a soak at the natural hot springs pools is a unique experience that you don’t want to miss. The tranquil surroundings and the warm embrace of the water create a sense of calm that is hard to find elsewhere.

Know Before You Go

Before you consider exploring Pilgrim Hot Springs, ensure that you have attained a no-fee recreational use permit. This can be done straight away upon arrival to Nome either at the Nome Visitors Center, Bering Straits Native Corporation offices or Aurora Inn. Have some supplies packed as well such as food, water, and mosquito repellent for a guaranteed pleasurable day spent learning about history and bathing in the hot springs.

Unfortunately, Pilgrim Hot Springs cannot offer any overnight options due to its status on the National Register of Historic Places. Nevertheless, there are many camping spots available nearby and accommodations like Airbnb throughout Nome should you wish to extend your 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.

Visitors who wish to stay in the area can find lodging through various hotels located nearby as well as a variety of camping spots. The hot springs also offer an on-site cafe that serves breakfast and lunch daily from 8 am – 5 pm. All proceeds from the cafe go towards supporting local native communities and the preservation of Pilgrim Hot Springs.

Natural Beauty and Nearby Attractions

Take a moment to bask in the natural beauty of the Seward Peninsula. Immerse yourself in the rich history of the abandoned orphanage, and indulge in the therapeutic hot springs pool. Witness a magnificent display of migratory birds that make their way through this region, and appreciate the diverse flora and fauna that the Bering Strait region has to offer.

For those seeking a more adventurous experience, venture beyond our borders and hike towards Pilgrim Hot Springs. However, before doing so, please obtain a permit from Mary’s Igloo Native Corporation to access their land. This will ensure that your journey is not only safe but also respectful of the local culture and traditions.

As you explore the area, be mindful of the importance of preserving the natural habitat. Take only memories and leave only footprints behind. Remember that the beauty of this region is a gift that we must cherish and protect for future generations.

Getting There: A Guide to Pilgrim Hot Springs

If you’re looking to explore the natural beauty of Pilgrim Hot Springs, the best way to get there is by car from the city of Nome. The journey begins by traveling down the Nome-Kougarok Road, heading towards mile 53.

Once you arrive at the designated sign, make a left turn and embark on a seven-mile gravel road. As you travel along this road, you’ll be treated to breathtaking views of the Kigualik mountain range and Imuruk Basin.

It’s worth noting that a four-wheel-drive vehicle is necessary for safe travel over the rough and rocky terrain. Alternatively, visitors can also opt to charter air service to a small airfield located at the site of the springs. This is an excellent option for those who want to arrive quickly and comfortably.

When it comes to reaching Pilgrim Hot Springs, there are a few key things to keep in mind. First and foremost, make sure you have a reliable vehicle that can handle the rugged terrain. Additionally, it’s always a good idea to check the weather forecast before embarking on your journey.

Once you arrive at the springs, you’ll be greeted by a natural wonderland of hot springs, geysers, and other unique geological formations. Take your time to explore the area and soak in the beauty of this natural wonder.

Weather in next 5 days

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Pilgrim Hot Springs in Alaska is a must-visit destination for those seeking a unique and culturally significant experience. The land is owned by Unaatuq, LLC, an Indigenous-owned company that manages the site and offers guided tours. The lush tree oasis is home to towering balsam poplar trees and geothermal waters that flow from deep beneath the land surface.

The site has a rich history, having been used as an agricultural homesteading area and later as a Catholic mission and Lourdes Orphanage for Native children. Today, it serves as a recreation center where visitors can enjoy soaking in the hot water and hiking through the stunning landscape. Access to Pilgrim Hot Springs is via Beam Road and a bump road, which may require a 4-wheel drive.

Visitors to Pilgrim Hot Springs will not only have the opportunity to relax in the geothermal waters but also to learn about the cultural significance of the area from the Alaska Natives who manage the site. This makes for a truly unique and educational experience that can’t be found anywhere else. The site is a testament to the resilience and rich history of the Indigenous people of Alaska and is a must-visit destination for anyone interested in learning more about their culture.

Local Info

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




Anne loves to explore the world and share her experiences through her blog. She loves to travel to places that are off the beaten path and find unique experiences to share with her readers. She also loves to share tips on how to make the most of a trip, from budgeting to activities. She hopes that her blog will inspire others to explore the world and enjoy the beauty of nature.