Encompassing 254,080 acres (102,823 hectares), the Chena River Recreation Area is located about 30 minutes east of Fairbanks, with the Chena River being the central focus of the park. As the name implies, the park is full of opportunities for outdoor recreation and is popular with hikers, backpackers, climbers, anglers, kayakers, skiers, snowmobilers, canoers, wildlife photographers and adventure enthusiasts.
The area is abundant with wildlife, home to black bears, brown bears, beavers, red fox, caribou, wolves, hoary marmots, pika, rock ptarmigan and, most predominantly, moose, which you’ll see many of around the lakes. In the Chena River, catch-and-release fishing for Arctic grayling is possible, but grayling and rainbow trout caught in the park’s stocked ponds -- located at mileposts 30, 42.8, 45.5 and 47.9 on the Chena Hot Springs Road -- may be kept.
While during warmer months visitors enjoy activities like hiking, climbing, ATVing, picnicking, canoeing and kayaking, winter activities may include dog sledding, skiing and snowmobiling. And no trip to the Chena River Recreation Area would be complete without a soak in the Chena Hot Springs, which is especially relaxing in the cold winter months. Nearby you can tour the Aurora Ice Museum, filled with ice sculptures, an ice bar and ornate chandeliers made of ice that change colors every six seconds to resemble the Northern Lights.
The Chena River Recreation Area is different than the Chena River State Recreation Site.