No visit to Tenakee would be complete without a long soak in the hot springs, whose healing properties drew the Tlingit people to this area long ago, as well as miners during the days of the gold rush who would stay through the winter. The springs, which include a beautifully restored bathhouse and changing room, are right in the middle of town, across from Tenakee Springs Market.
A local volunteer Bathhouse Committee was formed in the 1930s to be responsible for running the bathhouse and raising funds for its maintenance. The bathhouse itself was built in 1900, with a changing room added in 1920 and the existing tub room constructed in 1939. The tub is about 6 feet x 9 feet x 5 feet deep. The mineral water bubbles up from the earth, coming in and running out the drains at a rate of seven gallons per minute, so the spring is constantly flushing itself.
The bathhouse is open all hours of the day and night, but has separate bathing times for men and women. Rules are strictly followed to keep the bathhouse and springs in good condition. They include washing with soap and water before you enter the hot springs. Additionally, no clothes are allowed in the tub (thus the separate hours for men and women).
The hot springs are both therapeutic and practical. A lot of residents don’t have showers in their cabins, so count on the communal facility. Even those that do have showers appreciate a good long soak in the 105 F degree waters.
As you leave those warm waters, you’ll appreciate the ingenuity of the designers who restored the changing room. In a clever set-up, the large room is heated by thermocycling water from the hot springs. This is an improvement from a few years ago, when an oil-burning forced-air contraption stood in the middle of the changing room.
Men – daily from 2-6 pm and 10 pm - 9 am
Women – daily from 9 am to 2 pm and 6-10 pm