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Located at the northernmost reaches of the U.S. road system, Deadhorse and Prudhoe Bay sit on the coast of the Arctic Ocean at the heart of Alaska’s oil patch.
Deadhorse is more of a work camp than a town in the traditional sense. It was established to support oil development in the surrounding area. Most buildings are modular, pre-fabricated types, situated on gravel pads on tundra bog. Virtually all the businesses are engaged in oil field or pipeline support such as drilling, construction and maintenance.
For the truly adventurous, the 414-mile Dalton Highway, or “Haul Road,” as it’s known to Alaskans, is unique in its scenic beauty, wildlife and recreational opportunities. The highway begins just north of Fairbanks in Interior Alaska and ends at Deadhorse. It is Alaska’s most remote and challenging road, with little in the way of highway services. The road is mostly gravel, and motorists need to watch for ruts, rocks, dust in dry weather, potholes in wet weather and trucks and road maintenance equipment at all times. If you choose to drive it, however, you will be rewarded for your troubles by several exciting sites along the way, including crossing the Yukon River, the Arctic Circle (one of the best photo opportunities in the state is standing next to the sign that marks the Arctic Circle along the Dalton Highway), the ruggedly beautiful Atigun Pass in the Brooks Range, Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve and the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.