Explore the Haul Road
The Haul Road, technically Alaska Route 11 or the James W. Dalton Highway, was built in 1974 as a supply route for the trans-Alaska pipeline and the Prudhoe Bay oil fields. It starts in Livengood, about 80 miles north of Fairbanks, and runs 414 miles to Deadhorse near the Arctic Ocean. Only a quarter of the road has a hardtop. The other 75 percent is gravel.
From the Interior to the Arctic Ocean, the Dalton Highway crosses the Yukon River, the Arctic Circle, the Brooks Range, the Continental Divide, and the North Slope. It spans 414 miles (662 km) from Milepost 73.1 on the Elliott Highway (84 miles/134 km north of Fairbanks) to Deadhorse, the industrial camp at the oilfields of Prudhoe Bay.
Initially known as the North Slope Haul Road, construction was completed over the course of just five months in 1974. Tractor-trailer rigs used the road to haul supplies and equipment to Prudhoe Bay during the construction of the Trans-Alaska Oil Pipeline (1974-1977) and subsequent oil development.
It was restricted to commercial traffic until 1981, when the state opened public access to Disaster Creek (Milepost 211) and renamed the highway in honor of Alaskan engineer James Dalton, who aided early petroleum exploration on the North Slope.
In 1994, the state opened public access all the way to Deadhorse for the first time. Now visitors and locals alike can follow this Last Road North as it traverses boreal forest, faults, mountains, rivers, and tundra, opening a once remote area of the Arctic to development and tourism.
Footage of the early days of the Dalton Highway, or Haul Road, has been preserved as part of the UAF Rasmuson Library's Alaska Film Archives. The film below depicts trucking on the Dalton Highway during winter in the late 1970s or early 1980s. (Color / Silent/ Super 8mm film)