Traveling to Alaska’s Arctic Circle

Published: March 3, 2016

Arctic Circle

Far beyond Alaska’s main highways and its largest communities, Alaska’s Arctic region is a vast, mostly undeveloped land. Herds of caribou numbering in the thousands migrate across the tundra and residents of Alaska Native villages live life much as they did hundreds of years ago. Arctic tours take visitors off the beaten path to experience this beautiful and rugged region and to learn more about Alaska’s traditional cultures.

Fish rack in Teller Nome

Most tours to Alaska’s Arctic region include a ceremonial crossing of the Arctic Circle, and several offer the chance to dip your toe in the Arctic Ocean. Driving tours up the 400-mile gravel road known as the Dalton Highway stop in Coldfoot and Deadhorse, two of the nation’s northernmost truck stops, en route to the oilfields at Prudhoe Bay. Along the way you’ll pass by millions of acres of federally protected wilderness including Gates of the Arctic National Park and the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Wildlife viewing is excellent and features species you’re unlikely to see in the wild anywhere else in Alaska, including caribou and musk oxen.

Tours to the Arctic are available for a day or multiple days, and as escorted or independent tours. Departures are available from Fairbanks or Anchorage. Several of the tours feature a drive up the famous “Haul Road,” or Dalton Highway, all the way to the Prudhoe Bay oil fields and the Arctic Ocean. Overnight tours feature the Dalton Highway drive experience or flying to Barrow for a stay in the largest Inupiaq Eskimo community in the United States. The Nome tour departs Anchorage via plane and includes tours featuring the gold-rush community’s scenery, history and wildlife viewing. You can even experience the Arctic as part of a comprehensive, 11-day statewide tour package with travel via the Alaska Railroad as well as a fly/drive segment to Barrow, Prudhoe Bay, Deadhorse and Coldfoot.

Chicken_AK 3