Cycling in Alaska Day 1 – Biking from Deadhorse to Happy Valley

The bicycle tour along the Pan-American Highway finally got underway when I left Deadhorse! Here's day one of cycling in Alaska.

The start of my bike tour from Alaska to Argentina saw me cycling out of Deadhorse and on to Happy Valley Alaska.

Cycling from Deadhorse to Happy Valley Alaska

(Blog post written: Wed 22 July 2009)

Again, I got up pretty early, as I knew that my first day of cycling in Alaska was going to be quite a big one.

After I packed my stuff up from where I had been stealth camping in Deadhorse, I went into the Carribou Inn for breakfast. It was a buffet, all you can eat affair, so I did…. YA!

Note – I'm not saying you should, but it's unlikely anyone is going to ask you to pay. Just saying!

I did consider taking some extra food with me, but I was already quite loaded down with food for this stage of the cycling trip, as I knew I had to be pretty self-sufficient for the first 4-5 days of cycling this stretch of the Dalton Highway.

So, I ate a few more pieces of bacon, and then got ready to leave!

Leaving Deadhorse

Then it was onto the cycling. For reasons of ‘security' it is not possible to cycle directly from the waters edge in Prudhoe Bay, so instead I started from the furthest northern point possible in Deadhorse, and then began my trip south.

Cycling the Dalton Highway in Alaska

The Dalton Highway is also known as the Haul Road, and runs from Deadhorse to just outside of Fairbanks. It acts as the main transport route for goods heading from Fairbanks to the oilfields, and parallels the pipeline which pumps the oil from north to south.

Cycling along the Dalton Highway presents many challenges – The huge trucks, barren northern tundra with no shelter from the wind, extremely rough roads and irregular supplies of water to name a few.

Happy Tailwinds and Happy Valley Camp Alaska!

Initially, there was a slight headwind coming out of Deadhorse, but after about 15 miles, that changed to a tailwind, and every cyclist loves those! The road was rough, unsealed gravel, but nothing I hadn't seen before.

It was a long day, as I expected it would be, but with over 80 miles in the bag, and 10 hours of cycling, I finally reached Happy Valley Alaska, which is basically a works depot.

Ed, the guy who owns a bit of land there, let me camp out for free, and there was good drinking water available. Even though at this time of year it is 24 hour sunlight, I didn't have too much difficulty in sleeping after an energetic day.

My tent at Happy Valley Alaska. A good place to stop after leaving Deadhorse

Deadhorse Camp Alaska Useful Information

Here's some contact details of businesses located in Deadhorse that you might find useful. In past years, some cyclists have sent on gear or food to the Post Office in Deadhorse for example.

Prudhoe Bay General Store: Telephone (907) 659-2412

Postal address: Pouch340007, 1 Spine Road Prudhoe Bay AK 99734

Prudhoe Bay U.S. Post Office: Telephone (907) 659-2669

Brooks Range Supply, Inc: Telephone – 907-659-2550

Pouch 340008 #1 Old Spine Road Prudhoe Bay, AK 99734

Website: Brooks General Supply

Frequently asked questions about Deadhorse Camp

When planning to cycle from the Deadhorse camp Alaska, other cyclists sometimes ask questions similar to:

Why is Deadhorse called Deadhorse?

Fact or Fiction? One story says that Deadhorse's name comes from a local company of the 1970s called the Dead Horse Haulers, which had a summer contract to remove dead horses from Fairbanks.

Can you visit Prudhoe Bay?

Oilfield personnel and tour groups with special permits have limited access to Prudhoe Bay and the Arctic Ocean. Unescorted visitors are not permitted on the docks or on area roads for security and safety reasons.

Who lives in Deadhorse Alaska?

People tend to work on rotations when employed by the oil companies in the area. It is though there are no actual permanent residents.

Can you get to the Arctic Ocean in the Prudhoe Bay Area on a bicycle?

In the past, it was relatively relaxed and you could dip your tires into the Arctic Ocean before setting off on you ride from the coast. Nowadays, you may need to ask for permission to get through the areas run by the oil industry in order to start your ride by the arctic ocean.

Read more about this bike touring adventure

Use the links below to navigate to the next day of this cycling tour:

You might also want to check out:

Adventure cyclist Dave Briggs bike touring the PanAmerican HighwayDave Briggs
Dave wrote this travel guide about cycling from Deadhorse to Happy Valley in Alaska when cycling from Alaska to Argentina.

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