Andrew and I were given a gift certificate for a cabin rental at Tolovana Hot Springs this winter and we just cashed in on it! Perfect timing too, because both of our birthdays are in March and March is the best winter month (warmer temps consolidate snow making perfect trail conditions and 12+ hrs of daylight). Tolovana HS is a remote, natural hot spring about 100 miles north of Fairbanks. There are a few different ways you can get there, but for this time we chose the shortest route :) From the trailhead it is a ten mile hike up and over a pretty respectable dome. There are three tubs to soak in and three cabins available to rent. The cabins are all equipped with a wood stove and plenty of firewood, a table, bunkbeds and pads, propane lights, propane cooking range and an outhouse. So all you have to bring is food and your sleeping bag!
This the 10x12 frame cabin we stayed in.
There are also a couple of cold water springs nearby. This is the one used for drinking water. It has an insulated box placed around it so it can be used year round.
These are the hot springs seeping out of the hillside. There are about a dozen spread throughout this small area. The hot springs range in temperature from 125-145 degrees. In order to fill the tubs, pipes have been placed at the mouth of a couple of springs and they flow continuously into the tubs.
These tubs are actually large water holding tanks with the tops cut off. What a great idea because they have a spout at the bottom so you can drain all the water periodically for cleaning. In addition to the hot water pipe coming into the tub, there was a pipe letting cold water flow in too. This made it very easy to regulate the water temperature. If it was too hot, take out the hot water pipe and keep the cold water one in. If you wanted it hotter take out the cold water pipe.
A lot of the surrounding area was burned back in 2002.
Set the timer for this one!
This one was an accident, but a cute one! We didn't realize we had it set for several timed photos. We had such a great time and can't wait to go back! Although it was too long of a trip for just one night. Next time we'll have to stay at least two nights :) If not more! Thanks so much Gabe and Stef for sending us this wonderful gift! It would have only been better if you all could have joined us.