Three days of travel on the Dalton Highway in Alaska
Our Alaska travel continues as we leave the city of Fairbanks
and head north. We will reach Highway
11, the Dalton Highway, 135 km (84 mi) north of the city and follow that road
for 666 km. (414 miles) more to reach Deadhorse, AK at the Prudhoe Bay oil
fields on the Arctic Ocean.
|The Dalton Highway in Alaska|
The Dalton, built as a supply road for the Pipeline, was
named after James Dalton who was an expert engineer from Alaska who also was
involved in early construction and a consultant for oil exploration is these
far north places.
|Dirt roads of Highway 11|
The Dalton is one of the most isolated roads in the United States.
It is very primitive with some stretches of road paved but the majority is a
dirt road. Travellers need to be
prepared to take care of most problems on their own. The only medical help is available at
Fairbanks and Deadhorse so survival gear is recommended.
There are a few pump stations along the route to enable the
oil to travel all the miles it must go to Valdez. This one is Chandalar Station, known as Pump
Station 5, one of only four pump stations now being used. This one is a ‘relief station’ which means it
will relieve the pressure that builds up in the pipeline as it comes down
through the Atigun Pass.
|Climbing the Atigun Pass, Alaska|
We travelled through the Brooks Range and Atigun Pass, which
is the highest point on the highway at 1,444 m (4739 ft). We crossed the Continental Divide; all rivers
south of this point flow to the Pacific Ocean and the Bering Sea and all rivers
north of the Atigun Pass flow into the Arctic Ocean.
The pipeline basically follows the highway most of the time. There are times it is out of sight, and times it is buried but most of it is above ground and nearby. One cannot help but marvel at the thought of this project being done, the sight and size of it is very impressive. We were able to view photos and videos of the project as it was being built, on different stops at interpretive centers in the state of Alaska.
|Dalton Highway 11|
We did not see any RV’s our size while on these roads. Most vehicles seen were large trucks hauling
supplies for the three towns, Coldfoot, Wiseman and Deadhorse, which have a
total permanent population of 57 people (2013 census).
There are 3500 to 5000 seasonal workers at Deadhorse, as well, depending
on the oil production.
This road we travelled was one that few tourists take because
of the challenge it could be but should you do it, it is one that must not be
rushed. We travelled with others, which
is suggested should you have any problems.
We took three days on the Dalton each way and saw incredible scenery
with some sunshine and some rain but well worth the drive and very little
|Galbraith Lake park view|
We planned our overnight stops with the available state
parks and our fuel stops so we were not running out of fuel. We carried extra fuel, spare tires and other
parts that might have to be replaced so luckily we were usually prepared. This was our view from an overnight stop at
Stay with us, click here
to see more to come on the Dalton Highway in
Post a Comment