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.

Your USA itinerary: 6 ideas for an American adventure

Your USA itinerary: 6 ideas for an American adventure

The USA’s sheer scale and scope means it’s impossible to see everything the country has to offer in one go ­– and you shouldn’t try. From sprawling na…

15 Mar 2017 • Nick Edwards insert_drive_file Article
7 reasons why you should visit Key West, Florida

7 reasons why you should visit Key West, Florida

Once a rip-roaring buccaneers’ town, the preserve of pirates and wreckers, Key West is now the quirky, tropical heart of the Florida Keys. The island’s bois…

14 Mar 2017 • Georgia Stephens insert_drive_file Article
24 breaks for bookworms

24 breaks for bookworms

1. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas In 1971, fuelled by a cornucopia of drugs, Hunter S. Thompson set off for Las Vegas on his “savage journey to the heart of …

02 Mar 2017 • Eleanor Aldridge 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