Chena River State Recreation Area

Quick Facts

Chena River State Recreation Area


(907) 451-2653

Map Directions

Things To Do


The variety of activities at Chena River State Recreation Area draws more than 150,000 people every year. Offering activities such as hiking, rock-climbing, dog team racing, off-roading, and 397 square miles of forests, rivers, and alpine tundra, the recreation area has something to offer for everyone.

Map of Chena River State Rec. Area (AK)

Latitude, Longitude: 64.907558, -146.338168



  • Boating

    The park follows the Chena River, a clear flowing, class I-II river ideal for kayaking, rafting, riverboating or canoeing. Chena Hot Springs Road parallels the river, providing boaters and anglers many entry and exit points from which to choose. Floating the clear-running Chena River is a popular activity in Chena River State Recreation Area. The river flows from the Yukon-Tanana Uplands to its confluence with the Tanana River in Fairbanks.

  • Camping

    Campgrounds in the area can accommodate all sorts of outdoor enthusiasts, from tent campers to those with deluxe recreational vehicles. Three developed campgrounds exist in the recreation area: Rosehip Campground at milepost 27 Chena Hot Springs Road, Tors Trail Campground at milepost 39, and Red Squirrel Campground and Picnic Area at milepost 43.

    Floaters may camp along the Chena River within the recreation area. Please respect private land. Gravel bars make excellent camp locations, with breezes to help ward off insects. Note that gravel bars may flood during high water, often after rains. Camp above high water marks, and watch water levels.

  • Climbing

    There are many places to climb along the trails in Chena River. Do not attempt rock climbs without proper training and equipment. Bouldering is popular on the Angel Rocks Trail.

  • Fishing

    Fishing for abundant arctic grayling is a popular sport here. Dipping the hook for grayling can be an invigorating experience in the summer. In addition to the river, three small ponds have been stocked at mileposts 30, 45.5 and 47.9. The river is catch and release only, but fish caught in the gravel ponds may be kept.

  • Hiking

    Well-marked and maintained trails lead into alpine country and offer strikingly different hiking experiences. Feeder trails that lead off the developed trails allow hikers to find the perfect place with unobstructed views and wilderness solitude. There are many short-term and long-term hikes available. Contact the park for more information.

  • Historic Sites

    In 1905, just four years after Fairbanks was founded, Thomas and Robert Swan paddled a canoe up the Chena River. On their journey they encountered miraculous hot springs that cured Robert Swan's rheumatism. The Swans also found the remnants of a campfire. They learned later that the campfire had been made by Felix Pedro, the prospector who discovered gold in the local hills. Visit the hot springs today, and experience some Alaskan history.

  • Horseback Riding

    Horseback riding is permitted on the Stiles Creek Trail.

  • Hunting

    Trappers and hunters find that small game animals are abundant in the park during the winter months. Sport hunting includes moose, bear, rabbit, grouse, ptarmigan and fur animals. Park officials advise that people bringing firearms into the recreation area familiarize themselves with appropriate regulations.

  • Off Highway Vehicles

    Note that most trails are very wet from May through September. You might sink your vehicle in a peat bog or need to cross a running creek. Be sure your clothing and machine are up to such adventures. Please note that mushers, skiers, and hikers share the trails with OHVs and snowmachines.

  • Picnicking

    All campsites have picnic tables and Red Squirrel has picnic shelters.

  • RVing

    RV's are allowed in the campsites.

  • Water Sports

    Visit the hot springs, go swimming, or kayak around the river.

  • Winter Sports

    In winter months, two major dog sled races use portions of the old Chena Hot Springs Winter Trail. Ski touring and snow machining are also popular. The recreation area contains numerous winter trails, providing opportunities for motorized and nonmotorized recreation.

    Mountain bikers are discovering that Chena River Recreation Area trails offer more than fair-weather riding. Increasing numbers of bicyclists are venturing onto area trails for winter riding. Snow-covered winter trails are often well-packed thanks to long periods between snowfalls in Alaska's Interior, and riders are discovering scenery and solitude go hand-in-hand on winter rides. Local mountain biking enthusiasts recommend several trails in the recreation area for winter biking.


Open year-round.



26 miles east of Fairbanks on Chena Hot Springs Road.

Phone Numbers


(907) 451-2653