Where is Manley Hot Springs?
After the better part of a day on a dusty, unpaved, rough and bumpy road, what could be better than a soak in the local hot springs? That’s what most people embarking on the 5-hour, 156-mile journey to the small 89 person community of Manley Hot Springs have in mind. The road to Manley Hot Springs is one of the most scenic drives in Alaska. Travelers gaze in awe as they criss-cross through the Taiga overlooking the immense Minto Flats covered in endless small lakes and teaming with wild animals.
Exploring the Elliot Highway
Perspective visitors to Manley Hot Springs starting their expedition in Fairbanks will first need to take the Steese Highway (AK2) 10 miles north to the small community of Fox. The Elliot Highway (AK2) begins in Fox and leads terminates in Manley Hot Springs. The Steese and Elliot Highways have different names but share the AK2 highway designation. The Elliot Highway is completed paved up to the community of Livengood, 79 miles north of Fairbanks.
At Livengood, take a left turn and continue on the Elliot Highway. Do not turn right onto the Dalton Highway (AK11) which heads north toward Coldfoot and Prudhoe Bay. Many short sections of the Elliot Highway between Livengood and Manley Hot Springs are paved. The Elliot Highway rotates betweens smooth gravel sections, paved highway strips and rough as a cob washboard. The last 20-30 miles approaching Manley Hot Springs are particularly rough but don’t give up — you’re almost there!
Gold Rush History: The Manley Roadhouse
The Manley Roadhouse is the only accommodation available for visitors who would like to stay a while.The roadhouse was built in 1906. Manley was a crossroads for the Tofty and Eureka mining districts. The roadhouse was once owned by Daniel Green, the musher who ran the Tolovana to Manley Hot Springs leg of the 1925 serum run.
They offer modern rooms with baths, originals rooms with shared baths and cabin rentals. Shared rooms start at $110 per night with a shared bathroom down the hall. Luxury rooms start at $140 for one double bed or $150 for two double beds. The luxury rooms include a private bathroom, cable TV, a mini-fridge and coffee maker. The those who want ultimately quiet and privacy, check out the private cabins which start at $130. These cabins are located in the woods within walking distance of the roadhouse. All cabins have three beds, a shared bath and a coffee maker.
[table id=1 /]
There is a full-service restaurant and bar. Be aware that fruits and vegetables are hard to come by in remote Alaskan communities. Menu items with these ingredients may not be as fresh or cheap as in Fairbanks or Anchorage. Be sure to call ahead from Fairbanks for reservations as the rates above are base rates and actual prices vary according to demand. The owner proudly boast that the bar is one of the best stocked bars in the state of Alaska. The roadhouse serves as an unofficial community center for Manley so the private cabins might be a good choice for families. On the other hand, guests looking to cut loose will enjoy country hospitality in this quaint Alaskan community.
Manley Hot Springs Resort
The actual Manley Hot Springs are now located inside of the greenhouses of Chuck and Gladys Dart. The Dart family carries on one of Manley’s oldest traditions: vegetable farming and growing flowers in the last frontier. It may sound strange but farming has occurred in Manley for over 100 years. The amount of men in the nearby gold districts necessitated this agricultural expansion. The long summer days, lack of certain invasive species allows crops with short growing seasons to flourish throughout Alaska.
The Dart greenhouse is fed by the same spring water that the now defunct resort used. Visitors can soak in concrete bath tubs filled with water for just $5. Guests can relax and admire the Asian pears and assortment of flowers growing around them in the greenhouse. Be sure to contact the Darts to schedule an appointment as the greenhouse in only open to the public during certain hours. Interested in an expedition to Manley Hot Springs? Contact Airlink Shuttle and Tour to inquire about our bus and van charters.