Manley Hot Springs, Alaska, is located on Hot Springs Slough, 3 miles north of the Tanana River and 161 miles from Fairbanks via the Elliott Highway.
A pocket of “Pioneer Alaska.” J.F. Karshner homesteaded here in 1902, about the same time the U.S. Army Signal Corps established a telegraph station nearby. The location soon became known as Baker Hot Springs, after nearby Baker Creek, and later was known simply as Hot Springs.
Frank Manley built the 4-story Resort Hotel here in 1907. The population peaked at approximately 1,000 in 1910, as the village became a trading center for nearby Eureka and Tofty mining districts. In 1913, the hotel burned down. By 1950, the population was down to 29 as mining waned. The settlement’s name was changed to Manley Hot Springs in 1957.
Today, Manley Hot Springs is a quiet settlement with gardening, hunting and fishing helping to sustain many residents. There are now about 50 year-round homes in Manley.
Manley was also the home of Iditarod musher Joee Redington Jr. The son of the founder of the Iditarod, Joee Redington Jr. and his wife Pam ran the Iditarod Kennels just outside town. He raised sprint dogs for racing until his death in 2017.
Manley Roadhouse dates back to 1903. Its great room is a flashback in history with cozy furniture, original piano, local artifacts and pictures as well as a large mammoth bone hanging over the entrance to the dining room. The roadhouse offers meals, a bar and overnight accommodations; phone 907-672-3161; www.manleylodge.com. The abandoned Northern Commercial Co. is down the road from Manley Roadhouse.
The Manley Trading Post (grocery, post office) and a gas station with propane are located a short drive beyond Manley Roadhouse by the old airstrip (now a tie-down area for planes). Continue on for the airport.
There is a big annual 4th of July celebration here, featuring a community feed and boat races on the slough.
Hot Springs Slough flows into the Tanana River. Fishing for pike 18 to 36 inches, use spinning and trolling lures, May through September.
The Elliott Highway ends 3 miles past Manley Roadhouse at on the banks of the Tanana River. There is a large parking area, an outhouse, and benches to sit on and watch the river traffic. Chinook, coho and chum salmon from 7 to 40 lbs., June 15 to Sept. 30. Subsistence fish-wheels and nets are used. Fishing charter services are available locally. CAUTION: Areas of the bluff are sloughing off into the river.
Tent camping, picnic area and playground beside lodge. Tent/RV sites, picnic tables, firepits, outhouse and boat launch across street. Pay $5 camping fee at the roadhouse. Showers are available at the roadhouse for a fee. The washeteria has showers and a laundry.
Mean temperature in July is 59°F, in January -10.4°F. Record high 93°F in June 1969, record low -70°F in January 1934. Precipitation in summer averages 2.53 inches a month. Snow from October through April, with traces in September and May.