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James Dalton Highway
Driving the gravel James Dalton highway through the center of the Alaskan wilderness is one of America’s great motoring adventures. The scenery is magnificent, from the spectacular peaks of the Brooks Range to the board sweep of tundra blanketing the coastal plain. The 30-mile stretch between Atigun Pass and Galbraith Lake is one of the finest viewing areas in Alaska for Dall sheep. Galbraith is a lambing area and Atigun is a rearing area for lambs. Motorists may see muskoxen, arctic foxes, and caribou throughout most of the year. In June, when grasses and lichen poke through roadside rinds of half-melted snow, concentrations of geese and other birds such as tundra swans, red-throated loons, and oldsquaws cluster beside the highway. Also, north of the Brooks Range, watch for peregrine falcons, gyrfalcons, rough-legged hawks, Smith’s longspurs, bluethroats, and golden eagles.
The Bureau of Land Management has developed a bird checklist for the road.
The best time to drive the Dalton highway is between late May and mid-September. Coldfoot, Deadhorse, and the Yukon River bridge are the only places with gas stations, restaurants, and hotels. DRIVERS BEWARE: More than 100 miles separate services, and emergency road assistance can be very expensive. The oil companies than manage Prudhoe Bay must approve access to the area. Guided tours are available.
Drive north out of Fairbanks on the Steese Highway; at Fox, take the Elliott Highway 74 miles to Livengood. The Dalton highway begins a few miles north of Livengood.
Bureau of Land Management (907) 474-2320 or (800) 437-7021