2015 - Alaska

Introduction

Cycling route map

The last time we visited the Dalton Highway was in 2005. We made the plan to revisit the Dalton during our big cycling trip in 2013, but because of time constraints we were not able to. We still wanted to cycle the Dalton again, so we decided to do this, this year. Here you'll find the story and pictures of that trip.
2015 cycling trip logo

MONDAY, JULY 08, 2015

From Anchorage to Deadhorse

After a long flight (with a short stop in Iceland) we arrived in Anchorage. Here we do our shopping for food and a trailer at Wallmart. We find a child bicycle trainer and modify this trailer, so we only have the bottom frame left. We then transport our own big bag with food on this trailer frame. This works surprisingly well.
After a night at the Ship Creek RV Park, we take the Alaska Railroad to Fairbanks the next "early" morning. After a realy beautiful and long train ride we arive at Fairbanks. Here we relax one day and then take the transport with Dalton Express to Deadhorse, Prudhoe Bay. It takes one whole day (800 km) to get to Deadhorse. There we ofcourse take a picture of the Deadhorse sign at the general store. It's pretty cold at Deadhorse, so we immediately start cycling south back to Fairbanks.

Welcome to Anchorage

Fairbanks camping

On the Alaska Railroad

Deadhorse sign

SUNDAY, JULY 12, 2015

From Deadhorse, Prudhoe Bay to Fairbanks

After the first cold day when we arrived in Deadhorse, the following days the weather is much warmer and we're are able to cycle comfortably in our t-shirts. The gravel road is pretty good and cycling goes well. Also because we mostly have the wind at our backs. Of course during our stops we get visited by the national animal of Alaska; the mosquito. They always have their whole family with them. We also see other animals like the ground squirrel, muskox and caribou.
The third day of cycling we reach the Atigun Pass (4,739 feet / 1,444 m). This is a not too long (but very steep) climb and we're able to pretty quickly cycle all the way to the top of the pass. After this pass we see the trees returning and we find a beautiful camping spot along the Dietrich River.
We visit the visitor center at Coldfoot (MP 175) and eat lunch at the Colfoot Camp restaurant. After Coldfoot we encounter a lot more hills. There is a steep climb at Gobblers Knob (1500 feet). Also famous from the tv (Ice Road Truckers) we cycle accross Beaver Slide, the "Roller coaster", Finger mountain en "Ice cut".
Near the Yukon bridge we stop at the Hot Spot Cafe. Near the bridge we visit the visitor center. At the bridge a long climb starts and is even followed by more climbs of 7% and 8%. The last day on the Dalton we need to cycle only 20 km to get to the end of the Dalton Highway. But this day it also started raining and the bike are quickly covered in mud. On the Elliot Highway we have paved roads again, so cycling goes much easier then. Near the Arctic Circle Trading Post we see a big moose. The next day we follow the Old Steese Highway to Fairbanks, were we stay at a motel to get dry and take our first shower after 800 km cycling.

On the Dalton Highway

Beautiful views

Starting our climb at the Atigun Pass

Nice downhill from the Atigun Pass

Climbing many hills
Some beautiful views along the Alaska Pipeline

Very friendly truckers

Arctic Circle

Alaska Pipeline near the Yukon River

End of the Dalton Highway

TUESDAY, JULY 21, 2015

From Fairbanks to Willow

With a lot of sun we cycle towards Nenana. From Fairbanks we start with a long climb to a kind of "ridge road". It's such a beautiful day that we can see Mt McKinley (Denali) in the distance. The next day we visit Denali National Park. This time we do not ride all the way through the park, though we continue south on the Parks Highway. We cross the "Broad Pass" (700 m). Also on route we have the only time we are not allowed to cycle; we have to go in the back of a pilot car to cross 2 miles of work on the road. After the pass we follow the Chulitna River, and ride past Huricane Gulch to the Denali State Park. Here we camp at the Denali Viewpoint North, with great a great view of Denali.
The next day we visit the impressive Alaska Veterans Memorial and the nearby visitor center. Via Trapper Creek and the crossroads with the road to Talkeetna, we cycle towards Willow. At Willow there has been a very big forrest fire this year. When we're there the fire is completely under control. But we see some burned down houses and most of the forrest is burned black. Luckily the camping "Willow Creek Resort" has not been touched by the fire and we find a nice place for our tent between the trees.

Cycling on the Parks Highway

Nenana tripod

Entering Denali National Park...

...Leaving Denali National Park

At Broad Pass (Parks Highway)

View of Denali mountain

SUNDAY, JULY 26, 2015

From Willow to Anchorage

From Willow we follow the Willow-Fishhook Road up to the Hatcher Pass. It 's 50 km cycling to the top of the pass and the pass 1100 meter higher than the elevation at Willow. We need a little more than half a day to reach the top of the pass. Especially the last few km it's a hard, steep climb to the top. After the pass there's a steep descent into Palmer. From Palmer we follow the Old Glenn Highway to the Glenn Highway. On the Glenn Highway we find a cycle path along the highway which we follow into Fairbanks. We would have liked to cycle also towards (or from) Seward, but because of bad weather in the south we decide to explore the surroundings of Fairbanks. for example we cycle the tony knowles coastal trail.

On top of the Hatcher Pass

SUNDAY, AUGUST 2, 2015

Epilogue

Finally we have to return home. We take a flight from Anchorage to Seattle, from Seattle to Keflavik, Iceland and lastly from Keflavik to Amsterdam, Netherlands. Because we only have a very short time between flight in Iceland, our bikes are not transported with us from Iceland and are missing in Amsterdam. Though our bikes are nicely delivered at our homes within a week later.
It again has been a super cycling trip! We cannot wait to start cycling a big trip again.

Current weather

Current Anchorage weather
Current Deadhorse, Alaska weather