Quick Facts

Dalton Highway

Alaska

(800) 437-7021

Map Directions

Things To Do

Overview

The Dalton Highway extends 414 miles across northern Alaska from Livengood to Deadhorse and the oilfields of Prudhoe Bay. Built during construction of the trans-Alaska oil pipeline in the 1970s, this mostly gravel highway travels through rolling, forested hills, across the Yukon River and Arctic Circle, through the rugged Brooks Range, and over the North Slope to the Arctic Ocean. Along most of its length, you'll see no restaurants, no gift shops, no service stations--just forest, tundra, and mountains. A trip along the Dalton Highway is an adventure that will take you on the only road in the United States to cross the Yukon River, Arctic Circle, and Brooks Range. Named for James William Dalton, a North Slope engineer, the Dalton was originally developed as a haul road connecting the Yukon River and Prudhoe Bay during construction of the Trans-Alaska Pipeline. A great adventure for any road-traveler, the Dalton Highway offers spectacular views and exciting opportunities.

Map of Dalton Highway Rec. Management Area

Latitude, Longitude: 65.499510, -148.772360

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Activities

  • Boating

    There are many beautiful river trips along the Dalton Highway, including the Jim River, the Middle Fork of the Koyukuk River, Ivishak River, and the challenging Atigun and Sagavanirktok Rivers (for experienced whitewater boaters). For more detailed descriptions of these rivers, contact the Fairbanks Alaska Public Lands Information Center by phone at (907) 459-3730 or the Arctic Interagency Visitor Center in summer at (907) 678-5209.

  • Bird Watching

    The Dalton Highway provides birders with a unique opportunity to drive through the northern boreal forest, the Brooks Range, and the tundra of the North Slope and Arctic Coastal Plain. Many of the 158 species recorded in these habitats are easily seen along the highway in their bright summer plumage. A checklist, Birds Along the Dalton Highway, is available at the Alaska Public Lands Information Center in Fairbanks, the Yukon Crossing Visitor Contact Station, and the Arctic Interagency Visitor Center in Coldfoot.

    For the avid birder, the Dalton area offers 24 hours of daylight from mid-May through mid-July. This is the time when the birds are most active. They court, breed, raise their young and prepare to fly south during the short summer.

  • Bicycling

    The Dalton Highway provides unique challenges and opportunities for bicyclists: the road surface is rough gravel for long distances, services are few and far between, and the road crosses true wilderness. Bicyclists must be in top physical condition, prepare thoroughly, have realistic expectations, and be flexible enough to deal with changing conditions.

  • Auto/Motorcycle

    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. 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. There are no full-service grocery stores along the highway. Snack food and cafes are available at Yukon Crossing, Five Mile, Coldfoot and Deadhorse. Pay phones are available at Yukon Crossing, Coldfoot, and Deadhorse. Cell phone coverage ends about 35 miles (56 km) north of Fairbanks, although you may get a signal from hilltops farther north. Coverage is available in Deadhorse. Some companies in Fairbanks rent satellite phones; check the phone directory under the listing for "radio."

  • Camping

    Recreational camping is limited to 14 days at any one spot. Park well off the road -- passing vehicles can fling rocks more than 30 feet (9 m) off the highway -- and do not block access roads to the pipeline. There is a fee for BLM's Marion Creek Campground, located just north of Coldfoot. A host is on-site from Memorial Day to Labor Day. All other camping areas are free and undeveloped. Please note that the only dump station is located at 60 Mile Campground, 4 miles north of the Yukon River.

  • Fishing

    Arctic grayling, whitefish, Dolly Varden, Arctic char, lake trout, burbot (lingcod) and northern pike can all be found in the far north. Fish in the Arctic grow and reproduce slowly and are susceptible to overharvest. Anglers are encouraged to practice catch-and-release fishing techniques and to use barbless hooks to minimize injury.

    The following regulations are in effect 5 miles (8 km) on either side of the highway. Fishing for salmon is prohibited; lake trout are catch-and-release only; daily bag and possession limit for Arctic grayling is five fish. You need an Alaska sport fishing license and a regulations booklet for the Arctic-Yukon- Kuskokwim region. For complete regulations, please visit the Alaska Department of Fish and Game web site or contact them by phone at 907-459-7026. The brochure Sport Fishing Along the Dalton Highway is also helpful -- look for it at BLM visitor centers.

  • Hiking

    The best hiking is in the Brooks Range, where ridges and stream drainages provide firm footing and the forest thins to low-growing tundra. Throughout the Arctic, wetlands and bogs hinder walking. Areas of tussocks -- sedges that grow in basketball-sized clumps -- are particularly aggravating. Tussock fields occur in mountain valleys and dominate the landscape of the North Slope. Waterproof boots with good ankle support are essential.

    Hiking east from the highway will lead you to the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, while hiking west leads to Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve. Choose your route with care and bring topographic maps and a compass with you. A GPS can also be useful, especially when visibility is poor. At the visitor center in Coldfoot, backcountry visitors can obtain orientation, register, and borrow bear barrels for food storage. In this part of the world, magnetic declination varies from 27 to 30 degrees east of true north; be sure to adjust your compass.

  • Historic Sites

    Recreational gold panning is open along the route in selective locations south of Atigun Pass. Motorized equipment is not allowed. Closed areas include the pipeline right-of-way (27 feet on either side of the pipeline) and land legally claimed for mining or other purposes. For recommendations on places to try your luck, pick up a copy of the brochure Dalton Highway Recreational Mineral Collection at the BLM office or Alaska Public Lands Information Office (Fairbanks), the Yukon Crossing Visitor Contact Station, or the Arctic Interagency Visitor Center (Coldfoot).

  • Horseback Riding

    There are several sites off the Dalton Highway where horseback riding is available.

  • Hunting

    Sport hunting is permitted in most areas, but there are special regulations.

  • Picnicking

    Please feel free to stop at one of the many views along the Highway to enjoy your lunch!

  • RVing

    Please note that the only dump station is located at 60 Mile Campground, 4 miles north of the Yukon River.

  • Wildlife Watching

    Muskox, caribou, snowy owl -- will you see these and other wild creatures along the Dalton Highway? Your chances improve if you know where, when, what and how to look for wildlife. If you're lucky, hundreds, or even thousands, of caribou may cross the road right in front of your eyes.

  • Winter Sports

    Although the highway is maintained year-round, visitor services are reduced between September and May. Prepare for extreme weather and check commercial businesses at Yukon River, Coldfoot and Wiseman before leaving Fairbanks to make sure they're open. Travel between late October and late April is not advised.

Park Partners

Alaska Geographic

Alaska Geographic's mission is to foster the public's understanding, appreciation and enjoyment of all national parks in Alaska, including Denali. Alaska Geographic provides funding and educational products and services. Several free guides to public lands are available for download on their website.

(907) 274-8440

Directions

Driving

Known to some as the "ultimate roadtrip", traveling this farthest-north road involves real risks and challenges. Beginning in Livengood, the road stretches all the way to Deadhorse, and one can start driving it at any point along the route.

Phone Numbers

Primary

(800) 437-7021

Road conditions

(907) 456-7623

Links