Dalton Highway Camping Guide
Check out this detailed Dalton Highway camping guide if you plan to drive Alaska’s most remote route, which winds along the Trans-Alaska Pipeline. We’ll show you where to stay on the drive from Fairbanks to Prudhoe Bay. We’ll give you all the tips for camping along the Dalton Highway: campgrounds, BLM areas, and accommodations in hotels and cabins along the way. We share our experiences camping along Dalton Highway as we spent ten days in this remote Alaskan scenery!This article may contain affiliate / compensated links. For full information, please see our disclaimer here.
Dalton Highway Camping Guide – Introduction
This is our third article in the series about one of the most exciting but also the most dangerous and thrilling roads in Alaska – Dalton Highway.
This post focuses on lodging options on the 414-mile route. Where to stop on the way from Fairbanks to Deadhorse? We advise you on where to stay for the night while traveling on the Dalton Highway, we indicate specific hotels along the way, and we present all the campgrounds on this route because we have visited every one. Moreover, we will also tell you details about BLM areas. We share essential tips about camping along the Dalton Highway.
But if you’re starting your Dalton Highway adventure, check out our detailed guides:
Night in Fairbanks Before you Hit the Haul Road
The 414 miles long Dalton Highway starts 84 miles (134 km) north of Fairbanks, so we highly recommend staying in this city the night before you start your adventures. Why? Fairbanks is the last city where you can supply food, camping equipment supplies, and water. This is also the last place to check if your car can drive this problematic route. We presented details on car equipment for this route in driving the Dalton Highway safety tips. If you are renting a car – several rental companies in Fairbanks allow you to travel this route. We used the local company Alaska Auto Rental. You can read our reviews about their vehicles and services, analyze prices, and book a car on their website.
You will find a wide selection of hotels in Fairbanks on any budget. If you’re planning a night at a campground, it’s worth booking well in advance if possible. Campgrounds fill up very quickly in summer. Check out the top 10 campgrounds and RV Parks near Fairbanks.
Camping on BLM Areas Along the Dalton Highway
The BLM manages a strip of public land along the highway from the Yukon River to the north side of the Brooks Range. Within the Dalton Corridor, the BLM maintains campgrounds, rest areas, information tables, and Arctic Interagency Visitor Center in Coldfoot.
Recreational camping is limited to 14 days in one location. According to the official BLM rules, you can park well off the road. Passing vehicles can throw rocks more than 30 feet (9 m) off the highway – and don’t block pipeline access roads.
So theoretically, you can camp outside the designed campgrounds on Dalton Highway. But it’s only theory. How does it look in practice? In our opinion (and we spent ten days on this route), there aren’t many places to stop along the road in a way that ensures safety.
The risks of camping in BLM lands along the Dalton Highway
- The road is narrow, and the shoulders are narrow. Often steep.
- The descents are boggy, and the ground is very soft. It’s not easy to pitch a tent or park a car.
- Along the way are water bodies, a river, and streams, from which considerable coolness exists.
- The road is quite noisy because of the passing of trucks.
- The pipeline has many access roads, so you can’t block it.
- Also, the area is teeming with wild animals – grizzly bears and wolves, so your camp can easily attract them at night.
Our Camping Tip: You can use the popular iOverlander app to search for camp spots. If you decide to camp on the BLM lands along the Dalton Highway, prepare for the above risks to minimize them and enjoy the night in the wilderness. Check out our Alaska Packing List to bring all your camping essentials on the Dalton Highway. Whether you plan to sleep in BLM lands, on designated campgrounds, or even in hotels along the way, remember to follow the seven principles of Leave No Trace when traveling through the extraordinary land of Dalton Highway.
Dalton Highway Camping – BLM Campgrounds
In our opinion, it’s best to stay at designated campsites along the Dalton Highway, which charge token fees, are safer, more comfortable, and offer fantastic views. You do not destroy delicate nature by camping in designated places. Keeping camp tidy is also easier because bins are secured against wild animals. So you can throw away the garbage. There are also pit toilets. Below we share details.
The BLM manages four designated campgrounds on the Dalton Highway. They’re pretty makeshift but provide pleasant shelter. None of them have electric hookups. We have stayed at each of them and described them to you below.
Five Mile Campground
Milepost (MP) 60 of Dalton Highway. 4 miles (6.4 km) north of the Yukon River crossing. Access to the campground is via the second gravel road on the left (west) side of the Dalton Highway.
- portable water
- vault toilet
- nearby dump station
- trash can
Number of Sites
Undeveloped, the campground has 30 campsites
Free of charge
The Five Mile Campground has the only dump station along the Dalton Highway. It’s important if you travel by RV. Moreover, this campground is free to the public. It also features pump water and pit toilets. 7 gravel campsites have a picnic table and fire ring. It’s on the milepost 60. According to the official website, the campground host may be present from late May to early September. The campsite is situated on a slight plateau, overlooking forests and mountains. But the campground itself is treeless, poorly sheltered from the wind. After all, the view is fabulous. It is a beautiful and quiet place. We really enjoyed this Dalton Highway camping spot.
Our Camping Tip: Due to the proximity of the huge Yukon River, mosquitoes in this area wanted to eat us alive. Be sure to pack and wear a mosquito head net, wear a mosquito-repellent shirt, or use insect-killing repellent for your clothing and tent. We also had and use DEET40% repellent. Nothing else works. Also, there are grizzly bears in this area. Carry bear spray and be careful that the smells from the camping dinner do not attract wild animals. Use Bear Resistant Food Canister. Or pack freeze-dried products that are easy to prepare and do not smell too intense.
Arctic Circle Campground
Milepost 115, about 1/2 mile uphill from the Arctic Circle sign
- no water
- trash can
- fire rings
- vault toilets
- picnic tables
Number of Sites
$10 per night
The Arctic Circle Campground is beautifully nestled among the trees, where you can enjoy the natural surroundings beyond the Arctic Circle—an exciting idea for camping. Next to the Arctic Circle sign, a viewing deck with interpretive displays is located, also some spots for a picnic. But it’s only a day-use area to enjoy your lunch after crossing Arctic Circle. To reach the sites for a night, drive up the hill to camp at the Arctic Circle Campground. The campground offers 19 areas with leveled sites, fire pits, and picnic tables. It features bear-proof trash cans and two vault toilets. The campground is open from approximately May through September. However, the picnic area, Arctic Circle sign, and restrooms are accessible year-round.
Our Camping Tip: This campground is popular and can fill quickly in high season. So be there as early as possible to find a spot for yourself. This is because some people, especially families traveling with kids or organized trips to the Arctic Circle from Fairbanks, aim to cross the Arctic Circle border. Then they return to Fairbanks because the rest of the journey over the Dalton Highway is much more challenging. If you camp here with kids, check out these 50 ways how forest and outdoor learning experiences benefit child development.
Marion Creek Campground
Milepost 180 of Dalton Highway, 5 miles (8 km) north of Coldfoot.
- potable water
- vault toilet
- trash can
- host on site
Number of Sites
27 sites, some for RVs
$10 per night
Marion Creek Campground is the best Dalton Highway Camping spot. It’s located just five miles north of Coldfoot. It has a hand pump with potable water, picnic tables, and fire rings. Moreover are both pull-through and tent-only sites. A helpful camp host is available from late May to early September. You can walk along the river and even try to reach hidden waterfalls. There is a beautiful panorama of the mountains all around. We camped there a few times, and there was always firewood available.
Our Camping Tip: Marion Creek Campground is our favorite camping spot along the Dalton Highway. The scenery is beautiful. It’s a quiet and comfy place. Many attractions are nearby, which we present in detail in a related article about points of interest along Dalton Highway. In short, we will list a few examples to keep you in the area. You can easily reach the historic village of Wiesman from this point, visit the award-winning Arctic Integracy Visitor Center in Coldfoot, start your adventure in the Gates of Arctic National Park, or take a scenic flight over the Brooks Range. Finally, you can eat warm at the famous Truckers Cafe in Coldfoot.
Galbraith Lake Campground
Milepost 275. You must turn left (if you are driving from south to north) onto Galbraith Airport Road. Follow signs to the airstrip, then continue past buildings 2.5 miles (4km) on a poor-quality road.
- trash can
- vault toilet
- Creek nearby (but treating water is necessary, so remember to pack water purification tablets or a water filtration system)
Number of Sites
Free of charge
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Galbraith Lake Campground is one of the most picturesque Dalton Highway Camping. It is a bit away from the highway, and you must drive via a terrible quality road with numerous potholes. But we assume that you have read the first part of our Dalton Highway guide and safety tips for driving the most challenging road in Alaska, and you know that you must have a 4WD car for this route. It is a rustic and undeveloped campground with about 12 sites, bear-proof trash cans, and a pit toilet. The campground is open from about May through September. You’ll have spectacular views of the lake and the Brooks Range, Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve to the west, and the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to the east.
Our Camping Tip: This is one of the most beautifully located makeshift campsites we have visited. The view of the lake and the Brooks Range is breathtaking. But there are also a lot of mosquitoes here, so use the tips above to protect yourself from them. There are also no trees here, and it is pretty windy. You must have your campfire wood and quick light fire starters to start a fire. But remember to check for possible wildfires beforehand. For information about Alaska wildfires, visit Alaska Wildland Fire Information Map.
Dalton Highway Lodging – Hotels and Cabins Along the Way
Our friend asked: Are there any hotels or cabins on Dalton Highway so I don’t have to sleep in a tent? Your choice of accommodation on Dalton Highway is minimal. There are only four tiny places along the route where you can stay in a hotel (but it’s not the hotel you usually stay in). You can sleep in a bed at Yukon River Camp, Coldfoot Camp, Wieseman, and at the end of the route in Deadhorse at Prudhoe Bay.
But don’t expect comfort. These are workers’ hotels for truck drivers who do tough work driving giant oversize trucks. The hotels are basic, modest, and rustic, with no amenities. But clean. Boreal Lodge in Wiesman is the prettiest and most pleasant place on the entire route. But we will introduce you to the options one by one. Each of the places described below is worth booking well in advance because, in the summer, getting accommodation in the Dalton Highway area can be a problem.
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Yukon River Camp
Location: Milepost 56, Yukon River Crossing
Yukon River Camp is a must-stop on Dalton Highway, even if you don’t plan to stay for a night here. You can fuel your tank here, buy gifts, and try their Noodle House menu or delicious burgers. It’s a rustic place but clean and cozy. Rooms have two twin beds. Restroom and shower facilities are shared. Check prices and book your room on the official website. When you stop here, it is also worth walking along the Yukon River, which winds nearly 2000 miles (3200km) from Canada to the Bering Sea. There are also information boards about the river and Alaska pipeline.
Location: Milepost 175
We like this place very much because the area has plenty of attractions, including the opportunity to take a scenic flight over the Brooks Range or a trip to the most remote US national park – the Gates of the Arctic National Park. It’s also a must-stop along the Dalton Highway, as you can tank there. Next gas is available at Prudhoe Bay.
The rooms are simple and rustic. But they are clean. Because we camped in a tent, we bought access to the room for an hour for a hot shower (yes, they offer such a service, which is great). Both the room, bathroom, and towels were spotless. The water was hot, which is important because the weather was nasty and we were freezing. Rooms have two twin beds and a private bath (shower), a luxury in this remote Arctic region. We also ate breakfast and lunch at their Truckers Cafe a few times. Everything was fresh and delicious. We liked the place and service very much, so we present the details in a separate article. It is also the last place on the route where you can drink beer or wine because of prohibition above mile 175. Book a room on their website.
Boreal Lodge and Arctic Getaway in Wiesman
Location: Milepost 189.
This Arctic village of Wiseman is a bit off the highway. But Wiesman has a unique gold mining history, a highly picturesque settlement hidden in the wilderness. It’s approximately 50 miles south of the Continental Divide – “halfway to Prudhoe Bay” and the Arctic Ocean. Boreal Lodge offers rooms and cabins in the scenery of Wiseman Creek with beautiful Brooks Mountain Range views. The rooms have two single beds, all linens and towels, and two shared restrooms and shower facilities. They also have a fully functional kitchen and day room. It’s a perfect place to chill. Check rates and book your stay.
Also, Arctic Getaway Bed and Breakfast is a great place to stay in Wiseman. They have charming and cozy cabins: Koyukuk Cabin, Aurora Cabin, and Wolverine Cabin.
There are great things to do in Wiseman, so the place is worth your visit, even if you don’t plan to stay for a night there.
Accommodations in Prudhoe Bay
Location: Milepost 414. Yes, this is the end of Dalton Highway. Check where you can stay for a night.
We must disappoint you if you want to pitch a tent on Prudhoe Bay or the Arctic Ocean. Camping on Dalton Highway on the last stretch of the route is impossible. First, access to the Arctic Ocean is only possible with an authorized tour because it is a private pipeline area, which we write about in a separate article. Secondly, the place is hazardous. We saw a dozen colossal grizzly bears in the Deadhorse, running between the containers or jumping from the containers. Most men carry guns in case of a bear attack. So choose one of the workers’ hotels to rest in before your return journey. And if you’re traveling on a budget – spend the night in the car on the city’s outskirts. There are several safe places to stop next to the river. But because of the grizzly bears, don’t pitch your tent there. Moreover, the area is very wet.
We can highly recommend this hotel. It’s a place where you can book your Arctic Ocean Shuttle and stay for a night. Accommodations at Deadhorse Camp are industrial and rustic, but the rooms are clean. The rooms have 2 single beds and shared bathrooms and offer simple, clean accommodations for leisure and business travelers alike. Book your stay.
Brooks Camp Hotel
At Brooks Camp Hotel, each room has a private bathroom, apartment-screen TV, and high-speed Internet. Brooks Camp is environmentally friendly and ecologically designed, with single and double rooms to meet various needs. Make reservations on their official website.
Alaska Trip Planning: Alaska is our favorite state; we love it and have had some exciting trips already. So if you’re planning your trip, check out our detailed Alaska Packing List (with printable PDF) to prepare for your Alaskan adventures. You can also look at our Alaska 10 Days Itinerary to find ready to go plan. And all of our articles are available here and in the Alaska Travel Planner and Photography Guide.
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The thought of bears and wolves near my tent would definitely put me off camping outside one of the campgrounds, where it seems a lot safer. I love nature but that may be too close!
$10 as an average camp fee for two persons is incredibly good value, especially if you are on a budget.
Nice that here are also basic lodging places along the rout too, as I’m not a keen camper – especially in cold weather.
The info here is very detailed and excellent for those attempting this route.
Wonderful post. I love the way you included amenities and accommodations as this is key info. I went though a phase of camping a couple of years ago and now I want to start again in Alaska 😀
I love Alaska as well. The Dalton highway sounds like quite the adventure (not one I’d do solo lol) I can’t believe camping was only $10 a night but I suppose that’s because it’s such a remote area. The bears would be cool to see but I wouldn’t be sleeping outside. I’m loving all your Alaska posts!
What an incredible experience! You usually only hear people doing cruises or staying in the cities in Alaska. This is definitely a unique way to see the nature. This is such an informative post on camping that I’m definitely saving for when I go. Do you happen to know if they allow van camping? That might be a way to make it easier since you don’t have to set up tents on the soggy road.
Your posts on Alaska are making sure that a visit to this wonderful area moves higher and higher up our list. The Dalton highway looks as though you have a great opportunity to get off the beaten track and enjoy the wilderness. We would really enjoy seeing the local wildlife, including bears, but it sounds as though you have to be extremely cautious. What is bear spray? Great practical info about the campsites and facilities and also the lodgings which offer alternative accommodation options.
You make camping really sound fun – and your pictures look so alluring with the rustic campfire and the toast with the mountains in the backdrop. But to me, this is one of these projects that sound like a good idea and then I wonder, what the hell was I thinking?! Anyway, this post is certainly very helpful to those who like to camp and that’s the most important fact. I rather identify with the yellow bear on the sign who for some reason is wearing a bow tie; seriously: Why do they put a bow tie on him? Obviously, no one will take a bear with a bow tie seriously – even in the wilderness.
I miss camping in the middle of nature, something that is increasingly rare in Portugal.
I confess that it would scare me a lot to stay in a place with bears and wolves, but probably with the necessary care there isn’t much to fear.
No doubt that Alaska provides fabulous places to be in communion with nature and your posts reflect that in an amazing way.
Dalton Highway sounds like heaven for an outdoorsy person like me. I haven’t camped since I was child and I didn’t like it back then because camps were so basic but I’d be tempted to try again and see if I like it more as an adult. I love that you can take a scenic flight from some of these locations to see the mountains, I would definitely do that. You have included some great tips and some of the risks to watch out for so all in all this would be a very useful guide to anyone planning a camping adventure in Dalton Highway.
I’ve not heard of the Dalton Highway so you definitely got my attention and I will make sure to check out your first post. I do have a few question on the logistics of the drive and also how much time you have a day for hiking/exploring vs driving to your next checkpoint. Camping is cool, the only thing that would keep me suspicious are the wild bears and partially also other people. I travel solo so I was glad to read that there are also limited hotel/accommodation choices available.
Carolin | Solo Travel Story
I would love to camp in this area and really appreciate knowing that you can pay to use shower facilities along the way! What does BLM stand for? (Something Land Management?) Your car certainly looks like it had an adventure! Thanks for including *so many* helpful tips 🙂
As a Brit, I love reading these posts. Alaska is like another world; I don’t think we’ll ever comprehend the driving distances. 414 miles of highway!
Excellent tips and information and love the freeze-dried food you used.
I can’t believe it’s only $10 to camp in such a beautiful area, that’s fantastic value. However, I can’t help but think about the grizzlies. Do they generally stay away? Anxiety x1000
Great post and adventure, guys!
While a place called Deadhorse doesn’t sound too inviting, some of these camps looked so nice. And good that many are free or at least relatively cheap. Bears concern me mostly while camping – partly because I suck at hanging a bear bag. I think the canisters are way easier now. Great guide to an area I’d love to explore
I am loving following your adventures in Alaska. But I am still not convinced that I would want to camp – even with some great sights at the camp grounds. So it was good to know that there are some hotel options along the Dalton Highway route. And we could certainly rough it for a night or two. Good tip about booking in advance.