Tenakee Hot Springs: A Guide to the Natural Beauty of Tenakee Springs, Alaska

If you’re a fan of nature and outdoor activities, then Tenakee Hot Springs is the place to be. Situated in Chichagof Island in southeast Alaska, it offers breathtaking landscapes that are perfect for exploring by leisurely walking or other exercising activities.

Pure bliss awaits anyone who visits Tenakee Hot Springs. Kayaking across oceanfront bays and biking through old-growth forests will help you re-connect with yourself and the natural world. Snorkeling and diving are further possibilities for those willing to embrace adventure.

In this article I’ll explore all the wonders of Tenakee Hot Springs, from its vibrant wildlife, culture and eco-friendly retreats, to its hot springs, nearby hiking trails and local cuisine.

Waterfall trail near Tenakee Hot Springs
Photo bygarrenwood on Pixabay

Cool Things about Tenakee Hot Springs

Tenakee Springs is known around the world for its hot springs. The naturally-occurring, mineral-rich waters of the Tenakee Hot Springs and other hot springs in town have a calming effect on mind and body that draws visitors from far and wide.

Rushing forth from the mountains at a rate of 105 gallons per minute, these hotsprings offer an abundance of healing benefits. Those who come to Tenakee Springs to experience these natural wonders can be sure to be surrounded by some of nature’s finest work.

The town also offers a host of other activities, from kayaking and hiking in nearby areas to excellent dining experiences and shopping. Whichever interests you, Tenakee Springs has something special for everyone looking for that perfect getaway or vacation destination.

Enjoy Alaska’s incredible scenic views from a kayak at Tenakee Springs. Photo by: Joseph
Enjoy Alaska’s incredible scenic views from a kayak at Tenakee Springs. Photo by: Joseph

Additionally, the water from these hot springs is also naturally alkaline, which makes it a great choice for those who are looking for ways to balance their pH levels. The water here is also very mineral rich, which makes it excellent for use in beauty treatments like mud baths or for soothing and healing the skin. The water at Tenakee Springs is heated by an underground volcanic source, so it maintains a steady temperature all year round. This means that you can use the water year round, and you don’t have to worry about the water ever freezing.

Even if you visit in the winter, you’ll be able to enjoy these wonderful hot springs just as much as you would in the summer.

Unwinding with a Hot Soak in Tenakee Hot Springs

Nestled in the scenic Tenakee inlet in Baranof Island, Tenakee Hot Springs is a popular destination for those seeking a relaxing hot soak in natural mineral water. The hot springs are renowned for their healing properties and are deep enough for visitors to soak their feet and unwind in calm waters.

Visitors can access Tenakee Hot Springs by boat or seaplane, and the town’s beautifully restored bathhouse provides a communal facility for visitors to enjoy the hot springs. The bathhouse is managed by the bathhouse committee, which oversees the maintenance of the facility and provides visitors with information about the hot springs’ history.

The town’s rich history can also be explored through the bathhouse committee, with information on the town’s logging industry, mining history, and natural wonders. The hot springs have a temperature of around 105°F, and the mineral-rich waters are said to have therapeutic effects, making them a popular destination for those seeking a healing experience.

Aside from the hot springs, Tenakee Springs offers visitors many outdoor activities to explore the island’s natural beauty. The town has miles of hiking trails, and visitors can explore the dense forests and algal plant life. Snyder Mercantile offers transportation to the nearby White Sulphur Springs, where visitors can enjoy a soak in the hot springs in a rustic log cabin.

Tenakee Hot Springs is a haven for those seeking a unique and relaxing experience in Baranof Island, Alaska. With its healing waters, calm waters, and stunning natural beauty, visitors can unwind with a hot soak in the town’s beautifully restored bathhouse, explore the island’s history and culture through the bathhouse committee, and enjoy the nearby hot springs at White Sulphur Springs, Tolovana Hot Springs, Pilgrim Hot Springs, Goddard Hot Springs, and Manley Hot Springs.

How to Get There?

Adventure awaits those that journey to Tenakee Springs, located on Chichagof Island. Travelling via seaplane with Alaska Seaplanes Service or Alaska Travels offers breathtaking views of marine life, whales, and brown bears. Alternatively, arrange a charter boat ride with a local boat harbor for an unforgettable experience.

The scenery along the way is plentiful – witness humpback whales frolicking in the waters and if you’re lucky spot the elusive brown bear! Be sure to bring your camera as well to capture these magnificent moments.

For ease of access to Tenakee Springs, book a seaplane ride or a local charter boat service. With only two methods of transportation available, it’s easy to ensure that your adventure begins and ends without any interruptions. Don’t forget – wherever you go in life, be an adventurer!

To get to Tenakee you will have to arrive by seaplane or boat. Photo by: Sanjoy Ghosh
To get to Tenakee you will have to arrive by seaplane or boat. Photo by: Sanjoy Ghosh

You’ll know you’ve arrived when you see the large blue sign indicating the trailhead. From the trailhead, it’s about 2 miles to the hot springs. The drive one way takes around 45 minutes. If you choose to park at the trailhead and hike in, you can expect the hike to take around 1.5 hours.

What to Prepare for Your Tenakee Hot Springs Trip

Tenakee Springs is home to only a little over 100 people, but they are all incredibly hospitable. Photo by: Unseen Alaska
Tenakee Springs is home to only a little over 100 people, but they are all incredibly hospitable. Photo by: Unseen Alaska

Before making a trip to Tenakee Hot Springs, certain considerations must be taken into account. All individuals are welcome, however the baths are limited on a first come, first served basis. Moreover, particular attention needs to be paid to gender specific bathing times and community guidelines. Furthermore, when visiting ‘the Last Frontier State’, it is important to prepare for extreme weather conditions that go hand-in-hand with Alaskan winters.

Visitors should plan their stay in advance as the hot springs provide separate bathing arrangements for men and women. It is expected that all participants follow their respective guidance for cleanliness and behavior protocol. Along with this, those coming from further south should ensure they are equipped for subarctic temperatures since the hot springs are open year-round.

The remote spot of Tenakee Hot Springs provides a healing and rejuvenating experience for both locals and far-distant travelers alike –– however much thought needs to be given before initiating such a journey. Understanding the regulations of admission in regards to gender and conduct as well being properly outfitted for cooler climates goes hand-in-hand with making the most of one’s visit here.

Find Your Best Hot Springs

When it comes to hot springs, the town has plenty to choose from. Two popular options include Chena Hot Springs Resort and Tenakee Hot Springs. Both offer an enjoyable experience for visitors looking for a bit of relaxation.

At Chena Hot Springs Resort, guests can take their pick from an indoor pool and bathhouse. With features like a sauna and massage therapy, it’s ideal for those seeking a luxurious spa-like atmosphere. Meanwhile, Tenakee Hot Springs boasts an outdoor pool hall with breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape.

Depending on what exactly you’re looking for in a hot spring experience, any one of these locations could be the perfect fit. Consider checking out all the different hot springs before making your decision — who knows, you might find just what you’re after!

Activities at Tenakee Hot Springs

Tenakee Springs, enveloped by Tongass National Forest, is an ideal backcountry destination for outdoor enthusiasts. Hiking and biking trails abound rendering splendid views of dense forest and algal plant life. A perfect spot to picnic and gaze upon the marvelous scenery is also a draw for visitors.

For those seeking a getaway with a bit of relaxation, soaking in the hot springs is a must-do activity! Mineral-rich water with temperatures reaching 43 degrees celsius makes it especially rejuvenating. Tenakee Splash Park is another sought after spot, great for keeping the little ones entertained on hot days spent at Tenakee Springs.

From secluded coves to picturesque beaches, kayaking in Tenakee offers something for everyone and allows exploration of stunning glacial fjords up close. Guests can fish year round in the nearby marine reserve or swim in pristine water alongside diverse marine creatures under warmer weather. With so many activities sparkling on offer, there’s no shortage of things to do at Tenakee Springs!

Go humpback whale and orca watching while visiting Tenakee Springs. Photo by: Christopher Michel
Go humpback whale and orca watching while visiting Tenakee Springs. Photo by: Christopher Michel

You can also visit nearby Lake Street and the Lake Street General Store, which is a very interesting place. It’s a store that has been open since the 1940s, and it’s filled with old-fashioned items and memorabilia. You can also visit the Blue Heron Fisheries and pick up some seafood for dinner. This is a great place to buy fresh seafood.

Important Safety Information

Tenakee Springs is an attractive destination for adventurers, but there are certain safety measures to be aware of when visiting.

It is important to take precautions in bear country, such as avoiding hiking alone, packing bear spray and having warm clothing. All these items should be taken when exploring or etrying town areas.

The weather conditions in this area vary greatly and it’s necessary to pay attention to the changing climate. It can drop below zero degrees quickly during the night and that may require extra warmth for protection. It’s important to keep an eye out for changes in the weather when exploring any area nearby.

Finally, it is a good idea to carefully plan activities before arriving and take other preventative steps while traveling to Tenakee Springs – having a knowledgeable guide can make all the difference in staying safe during your visit.

The Weather (and 5 day forecast)

Tenakee Springs features balmy 124°F year-round temperatures in its hot springs. However, colder temperatures in winter necessitate preparation for extreme weather conditions. One should not be deterred from taking in the panoramic sights due to such conditions, as this Alaskan town is brimming with natural beauty.

Dressing adequately is a must when visiting Tenakee Springs in winter. Packing an array of warm clothes will ensure that visitors do not succumb to temperatures far below freezing point. As such, they can enjoy the Alaskan views without compromising their comfort.

One should not let the weather hamper the experience of visiting Tenakee Springs and its breathtaking scenery; instead, come prepared and fully immerse oneself in this remarkable landscape. By doing so, tourists can bask in all the town has to offer – snow-capped mountains, glaciers and emerald waters – for a truly unparalleled experience.

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Plese refer to the weather forecast often to make sure it is in your favor

Bottom line

Tenakee Springs is a beautiful location that offers visitors an all-around great experience. The town’s colorful history, natural wonders, and beautiful location make it a popular destination for those seeking an escape from everyday life. Visitors can immerse themselves in nature’s beauty and enjoy an amazing whale action, a cozy location, and a comfortable soak in hot mineral springs.

Local info

Location: Tenakee Springs, Alaska 99841
Season: Year-round
GPS: 57°46’24.59 N, -135°13’6.60 W
Website: tenakeespringsak.com


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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.