The Dalton Highway the mythical 414 mile road in Alaska that runs from Fairbanks to Prudhoe Bay, that has lived in legend as the extreme of desolate roads in North America. Originally, it was built in 1974 as the North Slope Haul Road to supply and support the construction of the Trans-Alaska Pipeline that runs from Prudhoe Bay to Valdez Alaska.
While not extreme in its terrain offerings to off-roaders, it is incredibly desolate and traverses untamed wilds that have only existed in story for many, and as such is considered one of the most dangerous roads in the world. With only three towns along the entire journey, Coldfoot (pop. 10) at Mile 175, Wiseman (pop. 22) at mile 188, and Deadhorse (pop. 25, with 3,500-5,000 seasonal residents), and fuel available at the E.L. Patton Yukon River Bridge at mile 56, and as well at Coldfoot and Deadhorse – it is easy to see why this is so daunting of a journey, especially in winter.
The road is mostly gravel, and extremely primitive with the nearest medical facilities existing only in Fairbanks and Deadhorse, a separation of over 400 miles. Steep grades of up to 12% are frequent, and the road reaches its highest elevation as it crosses Atigun Pass (4739 feet) of the Brooks Range. It is recommended that anyone that traverse the road carry survival gear with them and know how to use it. Despite its remoteness, there is a decent amount of traffic on the road with roughly 160 trucks daily in the summer, and 250 daily in the winter.
Traversing the road requires headlights to be on the entire time, and will undoubtably result in a cracked windshield and a taxing adventure on your suspension. While the road is open year round, Polar Bears are known to traverse the road in search of food, and the Alaska DOT will close the road in the presence of Polar Bears.