Best known for its privately owned and managed hot springs pools, Manley Hot Springs is an unexpected oasis at the end of the Elliott Highway in Interior Alaska.
About Manley Hot Springs (Koyukon Athabascan: Too Naaleł Denh)
Manley Hot Springs dates back to 1902 when miner John Karshner claimed several of the hot springs as part of a 278-acre homestead and set up a vegetable farm. The U.S. Army arrived at the same time to set up a telegraph station and soon a trading post was established for miners in the nearby Eureka and Tofty mining districts. In 1907, a resort hotel was built to take advantage of the hot springs, but it burned to the ground just six years later.
Today, Manley Hot Springs is a quiet settlement where residents subsidize their livelihoods by hunting, fishing and maintaining gardens. The Manley Roadhouse, built in 1906, is one of Alaska's oldest original roadhouses and offers rooms for rent and displays of mining equipment from Manley Hot Springs heyday.
Things to do
Although the resort hotel burned down a century ago, the hot springs themselves still bubble up through the ground into a spring-fed greenhouse where the soaking is done in one of three concrete baths. Inside the greenhouse, heated by geothermal energy, an eye-popping assortment of fruits and vegetables grow, including grapes, Asian pears and hibiscus flowers. The springs are open to the public for soaking, just what’s needed after the long drive along the Elliott Highway.
Three miles beyond the village is the broad Tanana River, just upstream from its confluence with the Yukon River. Boat charters can be arranged to take visitors upriver to fish for salmon, char and grayling.
Manley Hot Springs is the center of much sled dog activity with such famous mushers as Charlie Boulding, Joe Redington, Jr. and the late four-time Iditarod champ Susan Butcher either current or past residents.
Boat tours can be arranged for visitors to take a trip up the Tanana and Yukon Rivers to view the scenery and wildlife.
Three miles beyond Manley Hot Springs is the broad Tanana River, just upstream from its confluence with the Yukon. Boat charters can be arranged to take visitors upriver to fish for salmon, char and grayling.
Manley Hot Springs
The famed Manley Hot Springs Resort is long gone but the hot springs themselves still bubble up through the ground warm and soothing into a spring-fed greenhouse where the soaking is done in one of three concrete baths. Surrounding the springs in the greenhouse is a garden of grapes and flowers and often the springs are open to the public for soaking.
Built in 1906, the Manley Roadhouse is one of Alaska's oldest original roadhouses still offering rooms for rent while onsite is mining equipment from the town's heyday.