Steese Highway

Connects: Fairbanks to Circle, AK

Routes#: Alaska 2 & 6
Length: 161 miles
Road Surface: 50% paved, 50% gravel
Season: Open all year
Highest Pass: Eagle Summit, 3,685 feet
Map (1 detailed pdf file available): 
Fairbanks, AK to Circle, AK

The Steese Highway, a designated Scenic Byway, connects Fairbanks with Circle, a small settlement on the Yukon River, 50 miles south of the Arctic Circle. The Steese Highway was completed in 1927 and named for Gen. James G. Steese, U.S. Army, former president of the Alaska Road Commission.

The first 81-miles of the Steese Highway are improved pavement. From pavement end it is wide gravel road into Central, where there is a short stretch of paved road. From Central to Circle, the highway is a narrow, winding gravel road.

This drive is especially colorful in late August and early September when the leaves turn. Acres of fireweed offer bright splashes of color in the summer and fall. Attractions along the Steese Highway include gold mine camps and mining artifacts, and Chatanika River and Chena River state recreation areas.

The MILEPOST® Quick Reference Log 
Miles from Fairbanks (F) shown.

  • F 8.4 Trans–Alaska Pipeline Viewpoint to east, Gold Daughters to west.
  • F 9.5 Gold Dredge 8 National Historic Site.
  • F 11 Junction with Elliott Highway at FOX (pop. 435); groceries, 24-hour gas, diesel at Fox General Store. Access to the Turtle Club restaurant phone 907-457-3883 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., known for its prime rib.
  • F 28 Chatanika Gold Camp, on the National Register of Historic Places.
  • F 28.6 Chatanika Lodge 907-389-2164; restaurant, saloon and lodging.
  • F 39 Upper Chatanika River State Recreation Site; camping.
  • F 45.5 Long Creek Trading Post; current status unknown (open summer 2014).
  • F 57.4 Junction with U.S Creek Road to Nome Creek Valley; camping, gold panning.
  • F 60 Cripple Creek BLM Campground.
  • F 81.3 Gravel begins, pavement ends.
  • F 85.5 Twelvemile Summit, elev. 3,190 feet.
  • F 107.1 Eagle Summit Wayside.
  • F 107.3 Eagle Summit, elev. 3,685 feet.
  • F 127.7 Junction with Circle Hot Springs Road at CENTRAL (pop. 91). Circle District Historical Society Museum. Gold Country Services and Gold Country Energy 907-520-5681, at Mile 0.3 Circle Hot Springs Road has gas, diesel, tire and minor repairs, snacks and drinks. Circle Hot Springs Resort is closed.
  • F 140.4 C 20.9 Lower Birch Creek Wayside (BLM) camping and fishing.
  • F 161.2 H.C. Company Store, 907-773-1222; food, groceries, gas, diesel.
  • F 161.3 CIRCLE (pop. 113), located on the Yukon River; camping.


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