Dalton Highway

Connects: Elliott Hwy to Deadhorse, AK
Route#: Alaska Route 11
Length: 415 miles
Road Surface: 25% Paved, 75% Gravel
Season: Open all year
Highest Pass: Atigun Pass, elev. 4,800 feet
Map (1 detailed pdf file available):
Milepost F 73.1 Elliott Highway to Deadhorse, AK

The 415-mile Dalton Highway (often still referred to as the “Haul Road”) begins at Milepost F 73.1 on the Elliott Highway, 84 miles from Fairbanks, and ends—for the general public—at Deadhorse/Prudhoe Bay, a few miles short of the Arctic Ocean.

The road is narrow and filled with truck traffic. Road conditions vary depending on weather, maintenance and time of year. Most of the road is gravel and subject to potholes and washboard. There are several steep (10 to 12 percent) grades. Flat tires are a common occurrence. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) recommends 2 full-sized spare tires mounted on rims.

The highway is named for James William Dalton, an arctic engineer involved in early oil exploration efforts on the North Slope. It was built as a haul road between the Yukon River and Prudhoe Bay during construction of the trans-Alaska pipeline, and was originally called the North Slope Haul Road. Construction of the road began April 29, 1974, and was completed 5 months later. The road is 28 feet wide with 3 to 6 feet of gravel roadbed.

The Trans-Alaska Pipeline. (Sharon Nault)

For those who don’t want to drive themselves, commercial tours are available from Dalton Highway Express and Northern Alaska Tour Company. For those who don’t want to drive their own vehicles, rental car agencies, such as Arctic Outfitters, and Alaska Auto Rental in Fairbanks, offer vehicles that are permitted on the Dalton Highway.

The MILEPOST® Quick Reference Log
Miles from junction with Elliott Highway (J) shown.

J 0 Junction with Elliott Highway.
J 1.1 Turnout at Dalton Highway sign.
J 56 Yukon River Camp; food, gas, lodging. BLM Visitor Contact Station and Yukon River viewpoint.
J 60.3 Hot Spot Café and Arctic Circle Gifts 907-378-9161 or (email); food, lodging, gift shop. Mile 60 BLM campground and dump station.
J 98.1 Finger Mountain BLM Wayside; day-use only rest area with walking path to tors.
J 115.5 Arctic Circle BLM Wayside; picnicking, Arctic Circle monument
(fun photo op), and free camping.
J 132.1 Gobblers Knob Wayside; large turnout with interpretive signs and observation deck.
J 150.2 Grayling Lake Wayside; day-use only rest area.
J 156.1 South Fork Koyukuk River bridge.
J 174.8 COLDFOOT (pop. 12); 24-hour gas/diesel, Trucker’s Cafe, Frozen Foot Saloon, and lodging at Coldfoot Camp. Arctic Interagency Visitor Center (pictured at left); natural history, visitor information.
J 175 Coldfoot Airport; air service and flightseeing from Coldfoot Air Service. Alaska State Troopers and Dept. of Transportation to the west.
J 179.7 Marion Creek BLM Campground.
J 188.5 Middle Fork Koyukuk River bridge, No. 1 crossing (narrow).
J 188.6 Turnoff for WISEMAN (pop. 16), 2.3 miles south highway; Wiseman Historical Museum. Lodging at Arctic Getaway Cabin & BreakfastBoreal Lodging, Boreal Coffee & Gifts phone 907-678-4566 and Wiseman Gold Rush Camp B&B phone 907-678-3213.
J 207 Dietrich River bridge. Halfway mark on the Dalton Highway (Deadhorse is 208 miles from here).
J 244.7 Atigun Pass, elev. 4,800 feet, in the Brooks Range. This is the highest highway pass in Alaska.
J 274.7 Galbraith Camp (no services), 4.3 miles west of highway; primitive public campground with outhouse.
J 354.6 Last Chance Wayside; day-use only rest area.
J 412.8 Deadhorse Camp; lodging, restaurant, gas, tire repair. Arctic Ocean tours (24-hour advance reservation and ID required).
J 415 End of Dalton Highway at DEADHORSE/PRUDHOE BAY; food, gas, lodging. Deadhorse Camp offers lodging, restaurant and Arctic Ocean tours.

Gas stations look a little different at Deadhorse/Prudhoe Bay. (Dave Ranta)