A goal of mine is to visit as many of the US national parks as I can. This one, Gates Of The Arctic, ok so I cheated a little but RACK 'EM! I hiked from the western part of the Galbraith Lake parking area west and south to the park boundary, took a few pictures, then turned around as the weather was getting very hairy and it was about midnight and...more
I decided to turn around at mile 304 rather than press on to Deadhorse. My reasoning was I wanted a whole day to hike into Gates Of The Arctic National Park, and my schedule wouldn't be able to handle an extra 220 miles of travel (plus I had to stop at all the neat sights and take pictures!) and do the hike. I missed seeing the coastal plain...more
Galbraith Lake is a combined airstrip/gravel mining operation with an old workpad tucked away for campers. There are no designated spots - just pick a spot and camp! The only facility there is an outhouse - there is no running water (though there is plenty of creek and lake water nearby if you have a filtering system or can boil your water). There...more
Atigun Pass is the highest point on the Dalton Highway, and also the north-south Continental Divide. All water north of this point flows to the Arctic Ocean, water south of this point flows into the north Pacific Ocean. Atigun Pass is a breathtaking highlight of the Brooks Range, the northernmost mountain range in North America. Alaska Department...more
Tors are found in the arctic and sub-arctic landscape in soils that are not permafrost. Thus, tors are seen in the first 100 miles or so of the Dalton Highway but not much north of that. Tors are formed when large deposits of hard rock (basalt or granite) are jacked up year after year, millimeter by millimeter, by the frost-jacking soil process of...more
P.O. Box 81512, Coldfoot, Alaska, 99708, United States
Satisfaction: Very Good
Good for: Solo
Believe it or not, there was a rock-n-roll concert the summer of 2003 at the Coldfoot Truck Stop. Ohioan Tim Easton stopped by to serenade the Coldfoot locals and travelers with his beautiful brand of folk-rock. It was Coldfoot's first concert EVER.
If you are camping along the Dalton Highway, bring a book! As it stays lighter later during the main travel period (summer), you also might want to hike around and explore the Arctic!
Dress Code: Long sleeves and long pants serve the dual purpose of warding off the cold and keeping mosquitoes from turning you into one large bump. Bring and wear a mosquito headnet.
There are tour busses that do the driving for you. These leave out of Fairbanks - if bus touring is your cup of tea, by all means go for it! I'm sure you will learn a lot from the interpretive guide on the bus. You will also get to see Prudhoe Bay and the Arctic Ocean - something road travelers do not get to do!
But the REAL adventure is driving the 414-mile long Dalton Highway from Livengood to Deadhorse, 8 miles south of Prudhoe Bay and the terminus of the highway for tourists (The remaining 8 miles to Prudhoe Bay is restricted to pipeline workers. - you will NOT be able to see the Arctic Ocean unless you are on a tour or make prior arrangements with the Alyeska people.)
If you fly into Fairbanks and rent a car, be forewarned that most rental car companies forbid driving the rental on most gravel highways including the Dalton Highway. If you do damage to the vehicle while on the Dalton Highway, your rental insurance will be void. All the agencies at the airport do this, but you might be able to find a few rental companies in Fairbanks (not at the airport) that allow driving on the Dalton Highway. I think the Enterprise agency in Fairbanks allows it, along with a couple locally-owned companies.
Truth be told, I rented a car from the airport and just crossed my fingers! Luckily, and with a little help from above, nothing bad happened to the truck, though it was dusty as all hell when I turned it back in!!
Surprisingly, a little less than half of the highway is paved as of 2003. It's not bad driving - you can maintain speeds of 50+ MPH if you want to. Be sure to give the big rigs wide berth.
There are only three places to refuel on the Dalton Highway aka Haul Road. Some say four but the basic point is- they are few and far between. The Yukon River Crossing at mile 55. Coldfoot at mile175. And Deadhorse at mile 441. (according to Wiki travel there are 3 there). There is also a restaurant, a gift shop, and lodging at Coldfoot Camp.
For more detailed info you can use Wikitravel - http://wikitravel.org/en/Dalton_Highway
My friend and I drove her 'water truck'. If you are going to drive this road make sure you pack the suggested list of supplies for yourself AND your vehicle. Here is a sample list from Coldfoot Camps page
Recommendations for Your Car
Two full-size spare tires on rims
Jack and tools
Emergency flares or triangles
Extra gasoline, oil, and wiper fluid
CB radio (monitor channel 19)
Recommendations for You
Camping gear and sleeping bag
Headlights on at all times and obey posted speed limit. We actually managed to get a speeding ticket in the Tundra (water truck)!!
*where she lives they must haul in their own water
What to buy: Gasoline! I filled up the truck for just under $100 in July of 2008. Gas was high that summer. We forgot bug repellant. It was especially important around mile 115. There were some bare minimum toiletries, snacks, lighter fluid for grill, and batteries to be had here.
Looks like there are several tours and activities in the area. See their website for what's available. Also a small airstrip nearby.
What to pay: Prices are higher than Fairbanks but that is to be expected.
Be sure to have your food, supplies, camping gear, and everything you need for emergencies (including spare tires) before you leave Fairbanks. There is little opportunity to buy these things on the Dalton Highway, and there is NOTHING between Coldfoot at Mile 175 and Deadhorse at Mile 414 - that's 239 miles with no services!
I bought a cooler and filled it up with enough beer, drinks, breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks for my 4-day trip. Other things to be sure to bring:
- emergency first-aid kit
- tire patch kit
- 1 or 2 spare tires with rims
- bug dope
- mosquito net
- wood & kindling for campfires
- more than enough water
- camping gear
- extra boots for hiking
- plenty of CD's!
- camera and plenty of film (or memory cards!)
- don't expect cell phone service!