This post will focus on the part of the Dalton Highway north of Coldfoot, pass the Atigun Pass and onto the North Slope.
Coldfoot to Atigun Pass
Leaving Coldfoot after a breakfast buffet, I headed north, with no final destination in mind, other than the lodge at Wiseman, where I will be spending the next 2 nights / 3 days.
Driving through the heart of the Brooks Range there are incredible vistas of mountains and arctic plains as well as the ever present pipeline. The eastern vistas are of the Gates of the Arctic National Park, the most remote national park, only accessible by air or boat.
Climbing higher through the mountains I approach the most famous and northern most mountain pass in the US, Atigun Pass.
Atigun Pass (68° 7′ N, 149° 28′ W), is a high mountain pass across the Brooks Range and It’s where the Dalton Highway crosses the Continental Divide. On the north side of the pass begins the North Slope and tundra plains all the way to the Arctic Ocean.
(see separate post on and video Atigun Pass )
Toolik Lake & Research Center
The University of Alaska runs their arctic and tundra research center at Toolik (68.62 N, 149.58 W). While it’s closed to the public the lake is open and offers great fishing for arctic grayling. The lake was half covered with ice in mid-June, the water was real cold and the views breathtaking.
(see separate post and video on Toolik)
North and Turnaround to Wiseman
After fishing and having a picnic lunch at Toolik lake, I decided to head further north. My goal was never to make it to Deadhorse (another 3 hours north) as I still had to head back to Wiseman where I was staying. Also I had to watch my fuel, because if I went too far I would be committed to going to Prudhoe in order to get gas for the trip back south to Wiseman!
Eventually I ran into a major construction zone a few miles north of the lake which was the universe telling me to turnaround and head south to Wiseman.