Serpentine Hot Springs: The Perfect Oasis in Alaska

With its snow-capped peaks, clear blue lakes, and stunning waterfalls, the wilderness of Alaska is a sight to behold. And one of the most beautiful natural attractions in this northern state is Serpentine Hot Springs. The area is filled with lush forests and many different hot springs that make it feel like you’ve entered another world.

Reservations are not required to stay in the bunkhouse at Serpentine Hot Springs. Photo by: Bering Land Bridge NP
Reservations are not required to stay in the bunkhouse at Serpentine Hot Springs. Photo by: Bering Land Bridge NP

In its small valley, visitors will find multiple hot springs of varying temperature. Some have water so warm that you can swim in them without any special gear or clothing. Others are so cool that they are more like outdoor spas than geothermal springs. The variety means there is something for everyone at Serpentine Hot Springs—even if you don’t want to get wet!

A Brief History of Serpentine Hot Springs

The hot springs at Serpentine have been used by humans for thousands of years, dating back to the time when the native Athabaskan people inhabited this region. When the first European settlers arrived in the 19th century, they used the hot springs as a place to rest and recuperate from the stress of the gold rush. In the early 20th century, the hot springs were converted into a hydroelectric power plant. It generated electricity for the mining town of Kennecott, 12 miles away, until the 1970s.

Charter planes can drop you off a short walk away from the hot springs. Photo by: Bering Land Bridge NP
Charter planes can drop you off a short walk away from the hot springs. Photo by: Bering Land Bridge NP

However, these hydroelectric facilities were decommissioned in the 1980s because they were not cost-effective. Today, Serpentine Hot Springs is managed by the Forest Service as part of the Chitina-Serpentine Wildlife Refuge. As such, it is one of the few public hot springs in the state.

Timing and Tips

The Serpentine Hot Springs are also referred to as the “cooking pot” due to the water’s high temperature. Photo by: Bering Land Bridge NP
The Serpentine Hot Springs are also referred to as the “cooking pot” due to the water’s high temperature. Photo by: Bering Land Bridge NP

Since the hot springs is a popular tourist attraction, you will want to plan your visit to Serpentine Hot Springs when the weather is good. This will help you avoid crowds and provide you with the best experience possible. The best time to visit Serpentine Hot Springs is in the late spring and early summer. At this time, the weather is warm and dry. You’ll find fewer crowds and be able to enjoy the hot springs to their fullest extent.

However, if you visit in the late spring or early summer, you will also have to deal with some unseasonably warm temperatures. You might even have to bring a swimsuit to enjoy the cool pools! To make the most of your visit, consider hiking to the bottom of the hot springs trail. This will let you enjoy all the pools—and you might even get to swim in one of the warm pools!

Things to Know Before You Go

– Be prepared for anything. Although the weather is usually warm during the late spring and early summer, you should always come prepared for a change in the weather. Be sure to pack warm clothes, a rain jacket, and a first aid kit.

– Be aware of bears. While visiting Serpentine Hot Springs, be sure to follow bear safety practices. Make plenty of noise to avoid surprising bears, and store all food and scented items in a bear canister.

– Bring enough water. The hot springs are a great place to relax, but they also make you lose water. You will want to be sure to drink enough water to avoid dehydration.

– Stay on the trail. Each of the hot springs has a path leading towards it. Make sure to stay on the path to avoid damaging the fragile ecosystem.

– Leave no trace. To keep the hot springs friendly to everyone, make sure to leave the area as you found it. Bring a trash bag with you to collect any remnants of your visit.

The hike to the hot springs

If you are visiting the Serpentine Hot Springs in a group, consider hiking to the bottom of the trail to the hot springs together. This is the best way to enjoy the full experience of the outdoor hot springs, as well as the hiking trail leading up to them. The hike to the hot springs takes about 90 minutes. While it may seem challenging at first, the trail is relatively flat and easy to traverse. The trail is just over a mile long, with the first half being uphill. It is a well-maintained trail, making it accessible to all types of hikers.

Soak in the indoor bathhouse or outside when visiting Serpentine Hot Springs in <a class=Alaska. Photo by: Bering Land Bridge NP” class=”wp-image-251″/>
Soak in the indoor bathhouse or outside when visiting Serpentine Hot Springs in Alaska. Photo by: Bering Land Bridge NP

Important Safety Information

Before visiting Serpentine Hot Springs, you should always be aware of your surroundings. This will help you to avoid any potential hazards or dangerous situations. –

Stay on the trail. Each hot spring path leads to a different pool. Make sure to stay on the path and avoid getting too close to the edge. Stepping on the plants around the hot springs can damage them and make them weaker.

– Avoid contact with the water. The water of the hot springs is extremely hot. It is better to avoid it entirely than to burn yourself. If you do choose to get in the water, always be mindful of where you put your hands and feet.

– Stay away from the power lines. The Serpentine Power Plant is still operating in the area. The electric lines run along the trail to the hot springs, so make sure to stay clear of them.

The Hot Springs Pools

There are many different pools at Serpentine Hot Springs, each with a unique temperature and atmosphere. The pools are all fed by the same underground source of heated water, which is why they have the same basic characteristics. Those who want to experience one of the most unique parts of visiting Serpentine Hot Springs will want to head to the hot pools.

The water here is so hot that you cannot swim in it. However, you can relax and soak in it like a warm spa. The best pools for swimming are the lower pools and the lower warm pool. These pools have water that is warm but not scalding hot. They are the perfect place to relax with friends and family.

Bunkhouse and Amenities

If you want to experience Serpentine Hot Springs like a local, you can stay overnight in the bunkhouse. The bunkhouse is a renovated building with six beds and a bathroom. It is equipped with a kitchen and dining room, allowing you to cook meals or socialize with the other people staying there.

The bunkhouse is a great way to experience the hot springs at their fullest. You will be able to spend your day relaxing in the pools, then return to a comfortable bed to rest at night. You can also make friends with the other people staying at Serpentine Hot Springs with whom you can share your experiences.

Weather

Since Serpentine Hot Springs is located in Southeast Alaska, the weather is often unpredictable. The temperatures can be warm one day, and freezing cold the next. You will want to make sure you pack for all types of weather when visiting Serpentine Hot Springs. Bring rain gear, warm layers, and an extra jacket in case you need to bundle up.

In particular, you will want to make sure you are prepared for snow. While unlikely, it is possible to experience snow in Southeast Alaska in the spring and summer months.

Weather forecast (next 5 days)

Bottom line

Visiting Serpentine Hot Springs is an experience like no other. It is a chance to explore a remote and beautiful part of the world, while also enjoying the soothing and relaxing hot springs. This is a great destination for adventurous families or groups of friends. The hot springs are a great experience for all ages and can be enjoyed by anyone. Because the hot springs are located in a remote part of the world, you will want to make sure to plan your trip well in advance. You will also want to be prepared for any type of weather that might arise during your visit.

Local Info

Location: Bearing Land Bridge NP, Alaska 99772

Season: Year-round | Prepare for extreme weather conditions

GPS: 65.8569N, 164.7142W

Website: nps.gov…

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