We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

“Best place to see the northern lights!”
Review of Chandalar Ranch

We can't find prices for this accommodation
Our online travel partners don't provide prices for this accommodation, but we can search other options in Fairbanks
Check In dd/mm/yyyy Check Out dd/mm/yyyy
Chandalar Ranch
Reviewed 1 December 2012

We just came back from Chandalar Ranch this Thanks Giving and saw the beautiful northern lights there!! It is inexpensive to stay here, Keith and Velama are very nice and friendly. They have good locations too!

Room Tip: Better to choose a private room
See more room tips
  • Stayed: November 2012, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
3  Thank Shushu_Mia
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Write a Review
Reviews (43)
Traveller rating
Traveller type
Time of year
Language
  • More languages

23 - 29 of 43 reviews

Reviewed 26 November 2012

Nested in the spuce trees the Chandalar Ranch is about 30 or so miles out of the town of Fairbanks in Alaska.

Make sure to book in advance as the owner tends to charge what ever he feels like at the time. The prices ranged from $70- $100 per night depending on his mood. We booked in advance and paid a deposit and then the owner tried to charge us extra until we showed him our receipts from Hostel World. So book and pay in advance is my advice. He charged an Italian group $100 per night, us $70 per night and some German girls $80 per night. It's over priced for what you are getting, and he relies on location and the Northern Lights to sell the rooms.

Be prepared that the bathrooms are a little horrible and there are no doors what so ever to protect your modesty. Shower curtains is about it for the toilet and shower and there is a strong sulfur smell.

The accommodation is separate in a downstairs part of the house and there is a large communal cooking area. So be sure to take your own food and drinks as there is nothing provided. Make sure to label every thing.

The rooms are very basic and consist of a few bunk beds and not much else, so during the day there is not much to do. Take movies to watch if you don't have a car. If you do have a car, nearby Chena Hot Springs is worth a look.

As for the Northern Lights, which is the main reason that we were there, make sure to research what time of year is best to see them. We happened to be there in a full moon and we didn't see much at all.

It was OK for a few days, but I think that I would not have chosen this place to view the lights, knowing now what I do about it.

Room Tip: Make sure to pay ahead as the owner changes the price depending on his mood.
See more room tips
  • Stayed: September 2012, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
6  Thank amanda0308
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Chandalar, Owner at Chandalar Ranch, responded to this reviewResponded 18 January 2013

Hello Amanda,I was sorry to see your comments about Chandalar Ranch! I will try to address your comments.
First of all the room rates were not based on my mood! We raised our room rates on August15, 2012. If a guest had booked by the old rates prior to this date we gave them that rate. Also the rate varies by where and how long the guests stay. The hostel bunk room is $40.00 per night if guests stay only one night, but goes to $35.00 per night if they stay 2 nights or more and one night is free if they stay 7 nights. The private rooms are $100.00 for 1 or 2 persons and $20.00 for each additional person per night. The cabins are $80.00 for 1 or 2 persons and $20.00 for each additional person.
I think that you must have booked with Hostel World prior to the August 15th date. Most of our bookings that are not booked direct come through Hostelbookers and they charge the guests 10% as the deposit. When our guests pay we subtract this deposit from their bill. Often guest will stay longer than they have originally booked and so it is neccessary to see their paper work when calculating the final bill.
As to activiteis, we are next to the Two Rivers cross country ski area where you can ski or snowshoe in winter and take hikes on the nice trails in summer. We furnish the skies and snowshoes free as well as bycycles in summer. We are in hiking distance from the Chena River for fishing and nature watching or you can join one of our tours..We also have wildlife on our little lake and often see fox, moose, sandhill cranes and a number of different kinds of ducks.
We have free wifi in the lodge, Netflick and satelite TV with two TVs.
As to the Northern lights , I saw one of the best displays ever a few years ago when the moon was full and at it nearest orbit to the Earth. I am not an expert, but have been viewing the aurora for over 50 years and I think you have an equal chance of seeing it from Mid-August to Mid-April.
Best Regards,
Keith

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 29 August 2012

I am a traveler who is willing to rough it out. In fact, I despise luxury when I am traveling/backpacking as it spoils the experience for me.

I say this because if you expect 5 star accommodation, Chandalar Ranch is NOt for you. It provides basic accommodation. Rooms are on a share basis and the bathroom is very basic. But I was perfectly ok with all that since the whole point of staying here is to see the lights, for which you will be up and awake anyway! The bathroom curtains are actually very funny since they only cover one half and unfortunately its the wrong half that is hidden from view!!

The folks who own this place are very warm. The old lady there pretty much runs the place and she is very nice. Her son, George is very interesting company (if he is around) and is a very knowledgeable guy. I had some nice conversations with him.

Over to the most important aspect of the place: it is a great place to view the lights but study your vantage point carefully. You will not see this during the day, but one side of lodge faces an area where a set of street lights (or something) are on all night and will completely destroy your picture (it does not light up the night scene, but it is very irritating to see the northern lights with another set of artificial lights in the corner of the picture).

But if you choose your spot carefully, these street lights will remain hidden from view. If George is around, ask him since he has got some great shots and he obviously knows the place very well.

The family also offer other activities like dog-sledding etc.......I believe they also arrange airport pickups.

All in all, for the price, it just cannot be beaten. An added benefit is that Chena Hot Springs (which I feel is over the top expensive) is only an hour away. So you can enjoy the springs during the day and see the lights as well, without parting with a fortune.

  • Stayed: March 2012, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
7  Thank Psychoanalyst
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 9 September 2011

We spent 3 nights at the Chandalar Ranch, I chosed the place because I'm passionated about the northern lights and it seemed perfect for observation...and it is!!
We saw 2 northern lights and the second night was unbelievable (different shapes and two colors). The guest rooms are downstairs, separated from the family house, so you have some independance. The installations are simple but there is a large lounge with big tables and kitchen, and it's perfect for groups! You can watch the lights from inside if it's too cold, but we were there in August so stayed outside the whole time in front of the house, perfect viewpoint! The hosts are very friendly as well. It's a bit of an unusual accomodation but if you're looking for a different experience, go for it!

  • Stayed: August 2011, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
5  Thank Screamette83
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 6 September 2011

OK, we were looking for a place with a good location for the Aurora Borealis but that wasn't hundreds of dollars. This was it but that was all. It was as advertised on their website. Don't plan on taking a shower while there unless you are uninhibited (2 shower faucets with a sheet draped in front).
It was well worth the inconvenience to see the Northern Lights. Knowing you don't have a 100% chance of seeing the lights any given night we didn't want to spend much on a place but we did want it outside of town. For about $100/nt, we got what we paid for. The Lights were incredible, incredible, incredible the first night we were there, just a little bit the second night. Moving on the next day, glad to be able to take showers.

  • Stayed: August 2011, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
4  Thank BigMamaFish
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 21 October 2016
Google Translation

Room Tip: 実際に宿泊する人は多くはないと思われます。
See more room tips
  • Stayed: September 2016, travelled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Service
1  Thank 嘉数 隆敬
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 27 July 2016
Google Translation

Room Tip: ロッジでオーロラ鑑賞
See more room tips
  • Stayed: September 2015, travelled as a couple
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Service
Thank 鎌猫
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Hotels you might also like...
Travellers also viewed these Fairbanks hotels
19.5 mi away
Hampton Inn & Suites Fairbanks
22.9 mi away
Sophie Station Suites
Sophie Station Suites
#3 of 23 in Fairbanks
399 reviews
20.0 mi away
Westmark Fairbanks Hotel and Conference Center
Show Prices
Show Prices
Show Prices
21.6 mi away
Best Western Plus Pioneer Park Inn
24.0 mi away
Pike's Waterfront Lodge
Pike's Waterfront Lodge
#2 of 23 in Fairbanks
1,225 reviews
16.2 mi away
Mount Aurora Lodge
Mount Aurora Lodge
#3 of 24 in Fairbanks
105 reviews
Show Prices
Show Prices
Show Prices

Been to Chandalar Ranch? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Additional Information about Chandalar Ranch

Address: 5804 Chena Hot Springs Rd, Fairbanks, AK 99712-3511
Region: United States > Alaska > Fairbanks
Hotel Style:
Ranked #15 of 24 Speciality Lodging in Fairbanks
Number of rooms: 5
Also Known As:
Chandalar Ranch Fairbanks, Alaska

Is This Your TripAdvisor Listing?

Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.

Claim Your Listing