Built in the 1970s to service the trans-Alaska pipeline, the mostly gravel Dalton Highway, or Haul Road, runs from Fairbanks five hundred miles to the oil facility of Prudhoe Bay on Alaska’s north coast, some three hundred miles beyond the Arctic Circle. It is a long, bumpy and demanding drive, so take spare tyres, petrol, provisions and, ideally, a sturdy 4WD: most regular rentals aren’t permitted up here. Not far from Fairbanks you start to parallel the pipeline, snaking up hills and in and out of the ground. At 188 miles, a sign announces that you’ve just crossed the Arctic Circle.

The highway plugs on north through increasingly barren territory, finally dispensing with trees as you climb through the wilderness of the Brooks Range, a 9000ft chain mostly held within the Gates of the Arctic National Park. From Atigun Pass you descend through two hundred miles of grand glaciated valleys and blasted Arctic plains to the end of the road at dead-boring Deadhorse. You can’t stroll by the ocean or camp here, so your choices are confined to staying in one of the $190-per-night hotels and taking a $39 tour past the adjacent – and off-limits – Prudhoe Bay oil facility to dip a toe (or your full body) into the Arctic Ocean.

Travel offers; book through Rough Guides

USA features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

10 places where you can see America's fall foliage at its finest

10 places where you can see America's fall foliage at its finest

As fall takes hold, a magnificent blanket of gold and amber leaves begins to descend across the USA. Misty morning walks and roaring fires start to bec…

21 Sep 2017 • Phoebe Tatham insert_drive_file Article
Beer and bison burgers: a foodie's guide to Denver

Beer and bison burgers: a foodie's guide to Denver

Countless cities are credited with a burgeoning food scene – but Denver, the Wild West capital of Colorado, stands out from the crowd. In 2016, a stagger…

19 Sep 2017 • Ros Walford insert_drive_file Article
19 places to get utterly lost

19 places to get utterly lost

One of the great joys of travelling is stumbling across unexpected places, wandering without a single destination in mind and embracing the journey. These place…

12 Sep 2017 • Keith Drew camera_alt Gallery
View more featureschevron_right

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month