Visiting in the Winter

Tors surrounded by snow in Serpentine valley
Tors at Serpentine Hot Springs

NPS photo

Getting to Serpentine in winter is done by aircraft with appropriate landing gear or by snowmobile.

Arctic winter conditions- snow, ice, wind, and below freezing temperatures exist in the preserve from October through April. Days are short and extremely cold. January has 4 hours of light each day. Winter temperatures on average are around 10 degrees Fahrenheit. At Serpentine Hot Springs cold temperature extremes go as low as -50 degrees Fahrenheit. The preserve is often windy with several to many inches of snow covering the ground.

Prepare for the weather with extra clothing, food, water, and fuel for extremely cold conditions with possible delays in transportation and travel. Also, prepare for camping outside the bunkhouse in case of an emergency.

In winter ice builds on the floors of the bathhouse and walkway making the footing treacherous.

Be prepared to dig out the outhouse. Honey buckets are not allowed for health and safety reasons.

Backcountry Safety

Medical Kit
You are more than 80 miles from the nearest hospital and 540 miles away from Anchorage, the nearest major medical facility. If you get injured in optimal conditions you are looking at a 3-4 hour wait. It is important to bring a well-stocked medical kit. If you require any daily medication, it is good practice to pack enough to last a week longer than your expected stay.

Due to its remote location, there is no cell phone service in the preserve. The only way to communicate with the outside world is by personal satellite phone. If you are looking for an alternative way to be covered in case of an emergency, we recommend a satellite tracking device or an emergency locator transmitter (ELT).

Let friends and family know when and where you are going, how long you’ll be gone, and some idea of what you are doing. Be sure to include the name of the pilot and tail number of the plane you are taking, and your satellite phone number. Call the people when you arrive back home so they know you are okay.

Use of helicopter, ATVs, and other off-road vehicles is prohibited.

The use of GPS may be helpful in your travel to Serpentine Hot Springs

Geographic Coordinates: 65.8569N, 164.7142W

Last updated: October 22, 2015

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

P.O. Box 220

Nome, AK 99762


(800) 471-2352

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