The Dalton Highway, also called the Haul Road, parallels the Alaska Pipeline from just north of Fairbanks to the oil fields at Prudhoe Bay. It is 415 miles (670 km) long, mostly unpaved, and 3/4 of it lies north of the Arctic Circle. Heavy truck traffic uses it all year, with a sprinkling of tourists in summer. Fuel and emergency assistance are available at only two places along the highway and the only "town" is Deadhorse at the north end.
This panorama was taken in the Atigun Valley on the north side of the Brooks Range, 160 miles (260 km) north of the Arctic Circle. The mountains to the southwest are in Gates of the Arctic National Park
, and the coastal plain to the northwest is in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge
The pipeline, elevated on posts to prevent melting the permafrost, can be seen in the bottom of the valley, and Pump Station Number Four is to the north. A heavy (26-wheel) truck roars by at 70 mph (110 kph) leaving a cloud of dust.
The vegetation here is arctic tundra—there are no trees north of the Brooks Range. On this drive I saw grizzly bears, musk oxen, and caribou as well as many types of birds. The tundra had turned from summer green to fall colors of orange, purple, and red. The temperature was a pleasant 60° F (16 C), but the next day it snowed on these peaks. Winter temperatures as low as -80°F (-62°C) have been recorded in this area.