We drove the Dalton Highway north of the Arctic Circle to the Brooks Range! We check-in from Coldfoot (midway point to Deadhorse/Prudoe Bay) to share with you our experience driving this infamous road along the Trans-Alaska Pipeline and share some tips for making your own trek.
- Drive SLOW – road has major frost heaves, pot holes, loose gravel, and can get muddy if its raining out.
- Have good tires – many people experience flat tires on this trip as it is rough on tires (especially if you hit too many of the crater pot holes). Having good newer tires will help you avoid this!
- HAVE A SPARE TIRE – this is absolutely essential. If you get a flat, it’s most likely a long way to the nearest tire shop.
- Be respectful of big trucks – they know the road better than you and are driving faster – slow down and pull over to give them room AND to decrease the speed at which a rock could be thrown into your windshield if they get kicked up. If a truck comes up behind you, let them pass. Slow down, pull over (when it is safe to do so) and put on your blinker to indicate that they can pass you.
- Be respectful of motorcycles – this is a very popular ride for bikers and one of the most dangerous roads for them because of the road conditions and loose gravel. Slow down when passing them going the other way so as to not throw rocks at them and to not cloud them in dust which could reduce visibility and cause them to hit loose gravel or a pothole.
- Don’t stop in the middle of the road or pull of on the other side of a hill – traffic can’t see you and if it’s a truck they can be moving pretty fast. There are lots of pull-offs for taking pictures or breaks, and if you do need to stop, pull over as far as you can and put your flashers on.
- Fuel up when you can – plan your fuel usage carefully, and err on the side of caution. We topped off in Coldfoot both times we passed through. It’s the last stop before Deadhorse (northern end of the road). Fuel is also available at Yukon River Camp.
We slowed down for every vehicle we passed on the road, drove an average speed of 30-40 mph, and drove with caution. We thankfully did not get any flat tires or have any other incidents on the road (beside having a couple of frost heaves and potholes sneak up on us). Recommendations:
- Stop and read all the info plaques – makes the drive fun knowing more about the history of the area
- Stop and hike the Finger Mountain interpretive trail
- Stop for a Salmon burger at Yukon River Camp – they are amazing!
- Free campground, dump station, and potable water fill at 5 Mile Camp north of Yukon River
- Visit the Arctic Circle sign post!
- Visit the Arctic Circle Interagency Visitor’s Center in Coldfoot – really nice center with info on all the designated areas in northern Alaska. They have Ranger Programs every night at 8PM.
- Enjoy the ride!