Dalton Highway

This section was added after receiving numerous emails asking about driving the Dalton Highway. If anyone would like to share their experience or photos in this section please contact me.

I STRONGLY SUGGEST THAT YOU OBTAIN A DALTON HIGHWAY GUIDE BEFORE YOU BEGIN PLANNING YOUR TRIP. It has invaluable safety and traveling information. If you would like to request a Dalton Highway booklet from the Fairbanks Convention & Visitors Bureau,  www.explorefairbanks.com. Their number is: 1-800-327-5774. The booklet is a separate publication from their Visitor's Guide which also contains valuable information on Interior Alaska.

Cycling from Deadhorse on the Dalton Highway until mile zero. Five cyclists started out together from the shore of Prudhoe Bay in direction south but after two days David and I had to go ahead because our food was planned only for eight days, the others unfortunately were a little more slow. Website of this trip: http://globomio.crazyguyonabike.com

Know Before You Go!

Traveling this farthest-north road involves real risks and challenges.

PHONE SERVICE: Cellular phone coverage ends approximately 35 miles north of Fairbanks, although you may be able to get a signal on hilltops further north. Coverage resumes near Deadhorse. Public phones are available at Yukon Crossing, Coldfoot and Deadhorse.

Services are available at only a few places along the Dalton Highway, so proper planning is essential. There are no public services at Department of Transportation maintenance stations or Alyeska Pipeline Service pump stations.

Medical Facilities.
There are no public emergency medical facilities along the Elliott or Dalton Highways. In a critical emergency, contact the state troopers by calling 911 or use a CB radio (channel 19).

There are no banks along the highway. The only ATM machine is located in Deadhorse. Most services accept major credit cards.

Tire and repair services are available only at Yukon Crossing, Coldfoot and Deadhorse. Gas and vehicle repair services are extremely limited.

There are no full-service grocery stores along the highway. Snack food and cafes are available at Yukon Crossing, Five Mile, Coldfoot and Deadhorse.


Always drive with your headlights on

Slow down and move to the right as other vehicles approach

Watch the road ahead and behind you for plumes of dust signaling the approach of another vehicle.

Before passing, make sure the operator of the other vehicles knows you are there.

Do not stop on the road. If you can't get off the road, pull far to the right and turn on your hazard lights.

Photos by Bob Zemanak
Photos by Dave Wagenheim
Photos by Ryan LeBlanc

For Your Information

As you travel the Dalton Highway you will cross four major natural zones. Each is influenced by different geologic  and weather patterns and is home to it's own family of plants and animals.

THE BOREAL FOREST (Fairbanks to Coldfoot)
A cold dry climate and permanently frozen soils dictate what can grow here. Those tiny, ragged spruce trees may be more than 100 years old. Lightening caused wildfires benefit wildlife by recycling nutrients into the soil and creating new sources of food and shelter within the old forest. Scan the edge of the forest for moose, fox, wolves and bears.

The foothills of the Brooks Range begin at Coldfoot and ascend to the crest of the Continental Divide at Atigun Pass. Golden eagles soar above this mountainous expanse in search of arctic hare, lemmings or ground squirrels. Examine specks of white on mountainsides - they may be Dall Sheep basking in the sun on the rocky slopes.

THE NORTH SLOPE  (Transition to the Plains)
 As you descend from Atigun Pass, the Arctic opens before you and stretches to an indefinable horizon. You are beyond the tree line, where plants grow close to the ground to survive the brutal arctic winds. Here the caribou, muskoxen and wolverine wander, and it is possible to see a snowy owl or gyrfalcon streak across the tundra in search of prey.

THE ARCTIC COASTAL PLAIN  (North to the Ocean)
Ice shapes the subtle features of this extreme northern landscape, pushing up pingos and frost boils that become perches for snowy owls seeking prey. Intense cold cracks the surface, creating polygon-shaped ponds where waterfowl and shorebirds feast on a banquet of bugs (mostly mosquitoes!) each summer.