Cycling the Haul Road in Alaska – Essential Information

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cycling the Haul Road in Alaska

Crossing the Arctic Circle when cycling the Haul Road in Alaska

Cycling the Haul Road in Alaska is quite a challenge, even for an experienced around the world cyclist, and so I thought I would pull some of my old blog posts together in order to create something that other cyclists might find useful. Also included in this piece, is a new map which has been created in Fanmaps. Don’t be surprised if you haven’t heard of Fanmaps before, but also don’t be surprised if they start creating quite a buzz in the near future. Fanmaps are a relatively new start up company that I met when attending the TBEX travel bloggers conference in Dublin 2013, and I am fortunate enough to be one of the first travel bloggers they have worked with. I am really pleased with the results, and I hope you are too.

 

Cycling the Haul Road in Alaska – Basic Information
The Haul Road is also known as the Dalton Highway, and connects Deadhorse in Prudhoe Bay, Alaska with Fairbanks in Alaska. Renowned for its long stretches of steep inclines, unsealed surfaces that can turn to thick mud and strong winds, cycling the Haul Road in Alaska is challenging on a number of levels. For me, it was all the more challenging as it was at the beginning of my trip in July of 2009, and I was thrown right in at the deep end!

 

Here is the Fanmap of my journey. Below I have included some basic information which may be useful if you are thinking of cycling the Haul Road in Alaska.

Which way? – There are two directions of travel that you can choose from when cycling the Haul Road in Alaska, and these are to cycle from the North to South, or from the South to North. Each one has it’s pros and cons, and although I decided to cycle from North to South, if I were to do it again, I would probably choose the other direction. The reason for this, is that I caught a tourist bus up to the north which wasn’t exactly cheap and cycled down from there. Going the other way, on arrival in Deadhorse, it is common practise to hang around and see if it’s possible to get a free ride back on a truck. This normally takes a couple of days, and although I haven’t heard of anyone cycling in both directions, I suppose there must be at least one crazy cyclist that has done just that!

 

When to Go – Given that the Dalton Highway is in the extreme north of Alaska, there is only a relatively small window of time that cycling is possible that will avoid the snows. As already mentioned, I started in July and the most common months are July through to September. Even during this time, there might be snow given the weathers unpredictable nature. Outside of that time frame, the snow might hinder even the bravest adventure cyclist, and again, although I haven’t heard of any, I suppose at least one person has cycled in the winter! Interesting note – Cycling the Haul Road will mean that you will experience almost 24 hours of sunlight.

 

How Long – It took me 8 days to cycle, which is longer than I anticipated due to injuring me knee, but I would say that 6 days would be about average.

 

What to take – Plan what food to take very well!! This is a remote stretch of road, and its not like there are stores on every bend! Make sure you have enough fuel for your camp stove, and take some extra supplies just in case the route takes longer than you thought. There are bears up in Alaska, so taking some bear spray is recommended, although in my experience, i was in far more danger of the mosquitoes! Bug spray and plenty of it is the order of the day, and a head net is not a bad idea either.

Comments

  1. This is a great resource for anyone planning a similar trip! thanks for sharing the info on Fanmaps along with your own wisdom!

  2. Dave,

    Great write up on a what sounds like a great trip. I am looking forward to riding this route for myself and love to read through a journal to fuel the fire and prepare.

    I will certainly add a link to your site from mine.

    Thanks!

    BicycleHobo

  3. Fan maps looks quite interesting and like a great resource!

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