Are you ready to touch the Alaska’s Arctic ocean with us?
We saddled up and drove all the way from Ohio into Alaska’s wilderness to mark our touch down. Since, we wanted to make it only through road, the quest was even more exciting and adventurous. There is only one road in Alaska that takes you all the way up North through the “Dalton highway”. You will cross the Arctic circle, Continent’s third longest river – the Yukon River, the magnificent Brooks Mountain Range, the continental divide at Atigun Pass, down the North Slope, and across the Arctic Coastal Plain to Deadhorse.
Read about our Dalton Highway experience here.
Deadhorse is located at the outskirts of Prudhoe Bay. It is a small town built only for one purpose – the oil fields! The oil fields are the largest in North America. There are less than 100 permanent residents in Deadhorse and as many as 3000 temporary residents who work on the oil fields. The workers are usually flown into Prudhoe Bay from other major Alaskan cities for their 2 week shift. Their work hours are 12 hours a day on all 14 days. Deadhorse was also featured in ‘America’s toughest jobs’
How to get here?
You can get here through various modes of transportation. The most common way is to fly. Deadhorse has an airport which connects to major cities such as Fairbanks and Anchorage and also to towns which are not accessible through roads such as Barrow, Kaktovik and Nuiqsut. By road, Deadhorse is only accessible through Dalton Highway. There are also tour companies at Fairbanks which operate daily tour services to Deadhorse and Arctic Ocean. Car Rental companies generally prohibit driving on the rugged Dalton Highway. Arctic Outfitters is one of the few companies which allow doing so.
There are only 3 hotels in Deadhorse area where tourists can stay. There are others as well, but they are only available for the workers of the oil field. The Aurora Hotel is the newer one. Even though this was our first choice, we loved our stay at the Prudhoe Bay Hotel since the Aurora did not have availability. The other option is the Deadhorse Camp from where the tour buses to Arctic Ocean starts from. Expect to pay a premium rate at any of the hotels at Deadhorse. Our double room with private bath at the Prudhoe Bay Hotel was $260. This included access to the 24 hour cafeteria section which has several snacking options round the clock. Delicious meals is served 3 times a day. Even though it was expensive, we had a comfortable and wonderful stay.
Arctic Ocean Tour
Arctic Ocean is accessible only through paid tour companies from Deadhorse. The whole Prudhoe Bay area is controlled via secured access and tourists cannot drive themselves into Prudhoe Bay or Arctic Ocean. It requires sufficient planning as the bookings slot closes 24 hours prior to the tour schedule. Tourists need to provide the passport details for security screening. The cost per person is $69 and more details can be found on their website – Arctic Ocean Tours.
The tour starts for the Deadhorse Camp and takes us through the oil field. Our guide was very knowledgeable and friendly. It took atleast 30 mins to get to the ocean. The scenery is probably not the prettiest, but the feeling of getting our feet in the Arctic and knowing we are very close to the North Pole was fantastic. The water was at freezing temperature. Even though it was a cloudy day and drizzling a bit, we loved every moment of it!
There are a couple of gas stations at Deadhorse and a general store where you can purchase souvenirs. There is nothing much to do at Deadhorse and a 3 day trip from Fairbanks should be sufficient to cover everything there is to do here. But the memories of visiting such an unique place is so much worth it.