Connects: Elliott Hwy to Deadhorse/Prudhoe Bay, 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 used by trucks hauling supplies to Deadhorse/Prudhoe Bay. 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.

Dalton Highway near Galbraith Lake. (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.

Communities

   

The MILEPOST® Quick Reference Log
Miles from junction with Elliott Highway (J) and miles from Deadhorse/Prudhoe Bay (D) are shown.

A visitor poses in front of the “Welcome to the James Dalton Highway,” sign at Milepost J 1.1. Photo courtesy Sherman Hogue/Explore Fairbanks

J 0 D 415 Junction with Elliott Highway.
J 1.1 D 413.9 Turnout at Dalton Highway sign.
J 56 D 359 Yukon River Camp; food, gas, lodging. BLM Visitor Contact Station and Yukon River viewpoint.
J 98.1 D 316.9 Finger Mountain BLM Wayside; day-use only rest area with walking path to tors.
J 115.5 D 299.5 Arctic Circle BLM Wayside; picnicking, Arctic Circle monument (pictured below) makes a fun photo op. Free camping area uphill from wayside.
J 132.1 D 282.9 Gobblers Knob Wayside; large turnout with interpretive signs and observation deck.
J 150.2 D 264.8 Grayling Lake Wayside; day-use only rest area.

The Arctic Interagency Visitor Center in Wiseman offers natural history displays and visitor information.

J 174.8 D 240.2 COLDFOOT (pop. 8); 24-hour gas/diesel, food, post office and lodging at Coldfoot Camp. Arctic Interagency Visitor Center (pictured above) offers natural history displays and visitor information.
J 175 D 240 Coldfoot Airport; air service and flightseeing from Coldfoot Air Service. Alaska State Troopers and Dept. of Transportation to the west.
J 179.7 D 235.3 Marion Creek BLM Campground.
J 188.5 D 226.5 Middle Fork Koyukuk River bridge, No. 1 crossing (narrow).
J 188.6 D 226.4 Turnoff for WISEMAN (pop. 18), a historic mining community located 2.3 miles south of the highway. Wiseman Historical Museum is open only for guided tours; contact Northern Alaska Tour Company. Lodging at Arctic Getaway Cabin & BreakfastBoreal Lodging, and Wiseman Gold Rush Camp B&B phone 907-678-3213.
J 207 D 208 Dietrich River bridge. Halfway mark on the Dalton Highway (Deadhorse is 208 miles from here).
J 244.7 D 170.3 Atigun Pass, elev. 4,800 feet, in the Brooks Range. This is the highest highway pass in Alaska.
J 274.7 D 140.3 Galbraith Camp (no services), 4.3 miles west of highway; primitive public campground with outhouse.
J 354.6 D 60.4 Last Chance Wayside; day-use only rest area.
J 412.8 D 2.2 Deadhorse Camp; lodging, restaurant, gift shop. Arctic Ocean tours (24-hour advance reservation and ID required). Phone 907-474-3565.

Prudhoe Bay oil drilling rigs at the end of the Dalton Highway. (Sharon Nault)

J 415 D 0 End of Dalton Highway at DEADHORSE/PRUDHOE BAY; hotels with cafeterias cater mainly to oil field workers, although rooms for visitors may be available. Deadhorse Camp at Milepost 412.8 caters to tourists and offers lodging, a restaurant and Arctic Ocean tours. Brooks Range Supply houses the the Napa Store, Prudhoe Bay General Store and the post office. Regular, unleaded and No. 1 diesel are available at Northern Oilfield Services Inc. (NOSI) or the Colville Retail Fuel Station.

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