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Northern Lights and Chena Hot Springs Tour from Fairbanks

star-4.5355 Reviews
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Fairbanks, United States
Northern Lights and Chena Hot Springs Tour from Fairbanks

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Free cancellation
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Safety measures
icon10 hours  (approx.)
Pickup from select hotels
Mobile ticket
iconOffered in: English

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Overview

Pair aurora borealis with spa treatments and you get a northern lights experience like no other. This night trip from Fairbanks takes you to Chena Hot Springs Resort for an exciting but relaxing array of activities. Discover eye-popping sculptures at the on-site Aurora Ice Museum, and then unwind in the resort’s legendary mineral water baths. When the conditions are right, a guide takes your small group to the best locations to watch for the ethereal northern lights, with warm beverages in hand.
  • Small-group tour of Chena Hot Springs Resort and the northern lights from Fairbanks and the North Pole
  • Explore the resort’s Aurora Ice Museum, home to intricately carved sculptures and an ice bar
  • Soak in the outdoor hot mineral springs, hot tubs, or indoor pool
  • Witness the aurora borealis at one of the best viewing locations in the area, known for its high concentration of lights and clear skies
  • Snacks, meals, and additional beverages are available for purchase at the resort’s Aurora Café
  • Round-trip transport from Fairbanks and North Pole hotels provided
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Local Guide
Hotel pickup and drop-off
Access to Chena Hot Springs Resort's hot springs, hot tubs and swimming area
Gratuities
Food & drinks
Towels (available for $5 from the hot springs or you can bring your own)

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5:00 PM

Hotel pickups commence approximately 30 - 60 minutes prior to this time, exact pickup time will be advised on reconfirmation.

We will contact you the day before your tour with your exact pickup time. Pickups will commence from 4pm (unless in North Pole where it may be earlier). We can only pick up from addresses within the Fairbanks or North Pole city limits. If you are staying outside the city limits, we can pick you up at Walmart or another hotel location. Please call our office to discuss what options are available.
After evening pickup from your Fairbanks or North Pole hotel, take a leisurely drive northeast of the city, perhaps spotting a fox, beaver, or moose along the way, before reaching Chena Hot Springs Resort.

Engage in a variety of activities while you wait for the sky to darken to view the northern lights. First, tour one of the most unique museums you’ll ever visit, the Aurora Ice Museum, constructed out of over 1,000 tons of ice and snow. Marvel at ice sculptures by world-renowned carvers Steve and Heather Brice, whose work includes life-size jousters on horses and a two-level tower with a circular staircase.

Fancy a drink? Head over to the museum’s bar, settle in on a caribou fur–covered stool and purchase a cocktail poured into a martini glass carved out of ice. For food, check out the offerings at the Aurora Café or the Chena Hot Springs Resort Restaurant (own expense).

Or, put on your bathing suit and work on loosening those knots in your back. Slip into the resort’s hot springs, which swirl with lake water averaging 106 degrees Fahrenheit (41 degrees Celsius) all year. Escape to an outdoor hot tub and unwind under the stars. A heated indoor pool is also available.

Then, dress warmly and meet your guide for a small group outing to watch for the northern lights. You’ll be taken to prime viewing locations at Chena Hot Springs, a great spot to witness the green and purple ribbons of light dazzling the sky. If you prefer to be indoors, you can see the action from inside the Aurora Café. Either way, you’ll be holding a warm drink as you gaze at the celestial wonder.
 Afterward, enjoy transport back to your hotel, with a commemorative certificate of your viewing experience at Chena Hot Springs Resort.
Itinerary
Stop At:  
Aurora Ice Museum
Dress in warm winter layers before being picked up from your Fairbanks or North Pole hotel and transported to Chena Hot Springs Resort, located roughly 60 miles (97 kilometers) northeast of Fairbanks. On your 1.5-hour drive, keep your eyes peeled on the passing landscape for wildlife that might include a moose, beaver or fox. Once you arrive at Chena Hot Springs Resort, enjoy an array of activities as you wait for the prime time to view the northern lights. First, follow your guide to the Aurora Ice Museum, which is crafted from more than 1,000 tons of ice and snow. Kept at a cool 25 degrees F (-7 degrees C), the museum houses intricate ice sculptures created by world- champion ice carvers Steve and Heather Brice. Their two-story observation tower includes a circular staircase, life-size jousters on horseback, an ice outhouse and more. If you’d like, purchase a drink served in an ice-carved martini glass inside the museum’s bar, where you can relax on caribou fur–covered stools and warm your hands by the ice fireplace.
Duration: 1 hour 
Admission Ticket Included
Stop At:  
Chena Hot Springs Resort
After wandering through the cool museum, don your bathing suit and enjoy the resort’s legendary namesake. The revitalizing mineral water soothes muscles with its warm temperatures of 106 degrees F (41 degrees C) year-round. You can also soak under the stars in an outdoor hot tub, or indoors in the heated pool. In between, slip away to the Aurora Café or the historic Resort Restaurant, where you can purchase meals, snacks, or beverages. When ready, join your expert guide for a small-group outing to view the Aurora Borealis. Your guide will lead you through one of the best places on earth to witness the green and purple illuminations loop across the night sky. Wait and witness the celestial wonder with hot beverages in the late evening, when viewing opportunities are the highest. The lights are also visible inside the cafe's Aurora Room, which serves as a comfortable and warm location for viewings. Note: We can never guarantee the Northern lights sighting.
Duration: 9 hours 
Admission Ticket Included
  • Confirmation will be received at time of booking
  • Operates in cold weather conditions; please dress appropriately
  • Please don't forget to bring bathing suits, bath towels, at least 2 quarter for each locker and a photo id for the cocktail in the ice museum. (has to be purchased separately)
  • Not wheelchair accessible
  • The outside rock pool is only allowed for Adults 18 years and up. However, children are allowed in the inside pool.
  • Pregnant travelers are not allowed in the outside rock pool.
  • We have enough room for a foldable wheelchair. The hot springs are wheelchair accessible.
  • We can only pick up from inside the city limits of Fairbanks or North Pole. For other locations, you will need to go to an agreed location (eg Walmart), please contact our office to discuss if you are staying outside the city limits.
  • Most travelers can participate
  • This tour/activity will have a maximum of 14 travelers
  • OPERATED BY Alaska Wildlife Guide LLC
You can cancel up to 24 hours in advance of the experience for a full refund.
  • For a full refund, you must cancel at least 24 hours before the experience’s start time.
  • If you cancel less than 24 hours before the experience’s start time, the amount you paid will not be refunded.
  • Any changes made less than 24 hours before the experience’s start time will not be accepted.
  • Cut-off times are based on the experience’s local time.
  • This experience requires good weather. If it’s canceled due to poor weather, you’ll be offered a different date or a full refund.
  • This experience requires a minimum number of travelers. If it’s canceled because the minimum isn’t met, you’ll be offered a different date/experience or a full refund.

Learn more about cancellations.

The answers provided below are based on answers previously given by the tour provider to customers’ questions.
Q:
What is the policy on face masks and attendee health during Northern Lights and Chena Hot Springs Tour from Fairbanks?
A:The policy on face masks and attendee health is:

  • Face masks provided for travelers
See all safety measures taken by Northern Lights and Chena Hot Springs Tour from Fairbanks.
Q:
What is the policy on sanitization during Northern Lights and Chena Hot Springs Tour from Fairbanks?
A:The policies on sanitization are:

  • Hand sanitizer available to travelers and staff
  • Regularly sanitized high-traffic areas
  • Gear/equipment sanitized between use
  • Transportation vehicles regularly sanitized
See all safety measures taken by Northern Lights and Chena Hot Springs Tour from Fairbanks.

Traveler Photos

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Traveler Tips


  • "For the Ice Museum, don't forget to bring a picture ID if you’d like to purchase the cocktail inside." See review
  • "I would definitely recommend this tour Unless you rent a car, then you could do everything yourself and save a lot of money." See review

Reviews

4.5
star-4.5
355 Reviews

Reviews by Viator travelers

We perform checks on reviews

Showing 1-10 of 355 reviews
star-5
Great Experience!
Marquita_J
, May 2022
This tour was exactly what I wanted! For my annual birthday trip, I thought about only visiting Seattle. But when I decided to include an Alaskan adventure, I found this tour! The driver and your was prompt, nice and very knowledgeable. The drive to Chema was very cool and we were able to see moose along the way. The Ice museum and martinis was a treat. The hot springs was an experience lol. And we were able to find the northern lights! Great experience!
star-4
Cool experience!
Angela_G
, Apr 2022
Loved the Hot Springs! Although they need ro clean their buildings at the resort much better! And do some updating! Otherwise, we loved it. We also loved stopping for several minutes to photograph the aurora, instead of a jump in and out and go thing!
star-2
Not recommended
Anita_J
, Apr 2022
The hot springs were very nice. Facilities old and not clean. Food was cold and not tasty at all, and very expensive. Tour driver was nice. Ice museum and bar were okay but nothing exceptional. Expensive tourist trap. If not for nice driver and hot springs this place would get a 1/2! Could have spent our money on a lot more interesting Alaskan adventures.
icon Response from Host , Apr 2022
We are sorry to hear that you did not have a 5 star reviewable experience on your Chena Hot Springs tour. While we do utilize Chena Hot Springs Resort grounds for our tours, we are not responsible for the upkeep of them. We have forwarded your concerns to our contacts at the resort in hopes that they can fix these issues as soon as possible. We are glad to hear that your tour guide provided you with a great experience barring the status of the grounds themselves. Please feel free to reach out to us during normal business hours if you would like to speak further in regards to your experiences on your tour.
star-5
The whole experience was...
elma_m
, Mar 2022
The whole experience was excellent - I would definitely do it again and highly recommend. I finally got to see my Northern Lights
1 traveler found this review helpful
star-5
Thank you very much Ranier, I am very happy for this photo, if you could send me the other one and some other beautiful
Abner_P
, Mar 2022
Thank you very much for allowing me to enjoy such a nice experience, I will pass this on to my children and grandchildren and I will recommend your agency.
star-5
Waiting for the northern...
Martin_P
, Mar 2022
Waiting for the northern lights to show up and then suddenly they explode in to view best part was that
star-5
Absolutely loved this...
Isabel_H
, Mar 2022
Absolutely loved this experience and would recommend this to anyone! Our tour guide Jake was brilliant and hunted down the Aurora even when it didn’t look like it was going to happen. 10/10 experience!
star-5
Totally worth it!
Shaina_G
, Mar 2022
Definitely worth it staying up all night! The Chena resort was a great experience. But the best part of course we’re the Northern Lights!! Our guide Jake was very knowledgeable, helped us adjust our cameras so we could capture the beauty and really seemed just as excited to see the Aurora as all of his guests were.
star-5
Chena Hot springs and the Lady Aurora
Leslie_L
, Mar 2022
Wonderful group of people to share the dining, ice museum, hot springs and viewing the lady Aurora .., with an excellent tour guide and driver ( Jake) on the ice roads💞🙏
star-5
Enjoyable tour
ChorFanJulia_T
, Mar 2022
Very strong and extensive northern light. The guide’s very kind in driving backward to enable us to take photos of the moose he has spotted.
star-4
Northern lights tour
Cmark_A
, Mar 2022
Our family enjoyed this fun tour. We enjoyed seeing the ice museum, hot springs and the northern lights!
star-5
A memorable experience
Robert_G
, Mar 2022
It was a memorable experience. The hot springs were amazing. The food was just ehhh ok, and the place itself could use a makeover - but all in all it was a great experience filled with amazing times with my family. Our tour guide (Jake) was a great guy. Very informative and knowledgeable. Took the time to stop at multiple locations and we even got lucky enough to see the Aurora Borealis. I definitely recommend this trip with Alaskan Wildlife Guide.
star-4
A unique experience
Kaitlin_G
, Mar 2022
We didn't see the lights but had a fabulous time in the hot spring! Nothing like having your hair freeze in -15 weather while the rest of your body is toasty warm! Such a cool experience. Also loved the ice museum.
star-5
Great tour for Aurora viewing!
Shirley_R
, Mar 2022
The tour included Chena Hot Springs which was very relaxing. The Aurora was light but we captured great views with Jake at Chena Hot Springs. Jake was a great tour guide. He had lots of local information and helped show everyome how to take great photos.
star-3
Disappointed with Chena
Linda_W
, Mar 2022
Chena Hot Springs is the reason that this is getting less than a 5 star rating. I would give Chena Hot Springs a 1 star rating. This place was very disappointing. My brother was so excited to go there after seeing pictures of the place, but all of us were very disappointed in the end. The meeting/holding room was not clean, and the bathrooms were disgusting. There was food remnant’s left on the tables, and trash on chairs and couches. We had to do our own cleaning just to sit down. The Ice Museum & Ice Bar were fun, and the Appletini’s were good. Dinner was just okay. Getting to know the other tour guests was the best part of the dinner. Our tour guide, Radine, was great. She gave us great commentary on the ride out to the hot springs, but the microphone was very distorted and difficult to understand her. Need to make an investment in a new and better quality microphone. She stopped on the side of the road for us to see a Moose in the distance, and take pictures. We also stopped to take pics of the sunset. However, there was too much time just sitting in the dirty waiting room, waiting to leave to go out to see the lights. The view of the lights from the Hot Springs is just okay, as there are too many lights on, and cars driving by. When we finally left, and drove about 5-8 miles from the Hot Springs and pulled off the road, we got some incredible viewing. I cannot with good conscious recommend this tour until Chena cleans up their property.
star-5
Fairbanks tour, chena hot springs and ice castle
Laura_Z
, Mar 2022
Great tour. Second time doing it. Would recommend. Unable to see the aurora, but everything went smoothly. We had a great guide.
star-3
Good results, not so good execution
Darrell_M
, Mar 2022
The driver, Jacob, was absolutely great. He was very attentive when driving, and also extremely helpful finding the Aurora along the way. The resort itself was disappointing. The ice museum was a very poor cousin to the sculptures from the World Ice Sculpture competition we had seen in Fairbanks a couple days earlier. The main meeting room where we first arrived was in a building that badly, I mean badly needs a major rehab investment and better on-going cleaning and maintenance. One toilet wouldn't flush, and the aurora viewing room was worthless. It had a door into the central meeting room and one on the opposite side that led outdoors so rather than a quiet constantly dark viewing room we had doors opening and slamming shut about every 5 seconds - no exaggeration. And the viewing area outside would be great except for the dozens of people all with their lights making photography and viewing difficult - and then there were the cars and snow cats driving in front of you every couple minutes. And until about 11 p.m. building lights were also intrusive. It really diminished the experience. Organization was not good either. When we arrived we were taken to the central meeting room where we and a crowd of others waited for about 40 minutes before we were finally taken to the ice museum. As noted, the ice museum is not great and worth about 10 minutes. But we all spent 20 to 30 minutes there. Then we were sent "to the building with the green light" (not guided there), which was where we had a group 8 p.m. reservation. Except that when we were finally called there weren't enough seats and my wife and I were placed in the Bar while the others ate in the dining areas. And the prices were fairly stiff. Fortunately, we had bought sandwiches in anticipation of high prices and so we excused ourselves to go to the main meeting room where we ate our sandwiches. Then we went to the adjacent viewing room. I've indicated what that was like. The good news is that we were able to go outside, come inside and rewarm, and then go back out. In spite of the crowd, and excessive ambient light the sky was largely clear and we were able to see the Aurora slowly form on the hilltop and gradually grow. At about 1 a.m. we though we had seen about all we were going to see, which was a very modest appearance of the Aurora. Literally as I went to get into the truck I looked skyward one last time and all of a sudden the show was on. Highways of light into the sky, changing formations by disappearing in one place and appearing in another a few seconds later. We watched for a while and then headed back to Fairbanks. On the way, however, our driver took us to a pullout about 5 miles west of the Chena Hot Springs resort. It was totally dark, only one other car there. And the Northern Lights were spectacular. Even with just my I-phone and a shaky hand I was able to capture multi-color shots of the Aurora. At only one time did I see it actually undulate like you see in films or on TV, but I was able to capture it on my I-phone. And the totality of the Aurora was so awe inspiring that even without the rapid undulation, the pace at which it appeared, disappeared, and then reformed in different locations all over the sky was breathtaking. So Jacob, our driver, is a 5 star plus. He saved the day for this tour and for us. In fairness, we did not go to or into the hotsprings itself to take a dip as many did. And several in our van said it was fantastic. So the natural setting and features of the Hot Springs are good, and one visitor told us their room accommodation they had stayed in was old but clean and in decent repair. But for us, organization and setting management were big downsides. I would recommend the tour if you have Jacob or another really good driver who is into making sure you get what you came for - the Aurora. But if the weather is good, as it was for us, and if you are comfortable driving on bumpy but manageable roads, I would offer driving yourself and finding a pullout near the hot springs so you can avoid the madding crowds and watch the Aurora on your own - if it shows - which only nature determines.
icon Response from Host , Mar 2022
We are sorry to hear that you did not have a 5 star experience on your tour with us. While we do take our tours to the Chena Hot Springs Resort, we are not in charge of the care of the grounds there. We have passed along your review to the resort in hopes that they can rectify these issues as soon as possible. Our tour guides all try to make each tour an excellent one and we are glad to hear that Jacob shined on this tour. Please contact our office during normal business hours if you would like to speak more about your experience on this tour. We again apologize that you had a bad experience but we are happy that the lights did come out and put on a show for you.
1 traveler found this review helpful
star-5
Chasing the Aurora
Cynthia_P
, Mar 2022
We got to experience God’s spectacular handiwork of the Aurora Borealis dancing and changing colors like a symphony in motion. An experience of a lifetime!! Kudos to our vigilant and knowledgeable guide Radine😊
star-5
Great!!!
Rebecca_F
, Mar 2022
The guide was wonderful. The group was also great. Together that made a great trip. The northern lights could not have been better.
star-5
Spectacular show and relaxing hot spring
PoonamChaudhari
, Mar 2022
We had a wonderful experience with the Alaska wild guide !! Our tour guide Lexie was amazing.It was a entertaining ride to the hot springs, she made sure everyone was comfortable and enjoyed the tour. Weather also supported and we saw a amazing aurora light show.Hot spring was very relaxing.

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