The Chena River originates at Chena Hot Springs in the Tanana Hills and flows its four forks into the main stream that Fairbanks is built next to. The Chena River Recreation Area is 254,000 acres of alpine hills, meadows, and river bottom land.
It is a year round recreation area with picnic areas, campgrounds, hiking trails and access to the Chena River, which is an important grayling fishery area. The Chena runs into the Tanana River and also joins with Cripple Creek, famous for its gold.
Water from the Chena River was used to dredge Cripple Creek. There are placid sections and also rapids. It is popular with canoeists and kayakers. In addition to grayling, sheefish, whitefish, northern pike and burbot are also caught.