Travelrific® Travel Journal

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Crossing the Arctic Circle

By Linda Tancs

One of the northernmost roads in Alaska is the Dalton Highway, the only road in the United States to cross the Yukon River, the Arctic Circle and Brooks Range. Named for James William Dalton, a North Slope engineer, it was closed to public traffic for years, having been developed as a haul road connecting the Yukon River and Prudhoe Bay during construction of the Trans-Alaska Pipeline. Today it’s one of Alaska’s scenic byways and one of the remotest drives on earth. Some of the highlights along the way are signs of active gold mining in Livengood, mile marker 115 (where a sign indicates that you’ve crossed the Arctic Circle) and Atigun Pass, the highest in Alaska at 4,800 feet. The route begins in Livengood although the only place to rent a vehicle suitable for road conditions is Fairbanks. Over 400 miles long, the journey will take you to Prudhoe Bay, where you can overnight and rest before beginning the long trek back to Fairbanks. The highway is mostly a gravel road with several steep grades and no cell phone coverage. Extra supplies and spare tires are recommended. Due to weather and varying road conditions, the best time to travel is between June and August.

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