Atigun Pass

Driving Alaska's Atigun Pass

Atigun Pass is a high mountain pass at an elevation of 1.470m (4,822ft) above the sea level, located in Alaska, in USA. It's known as the highest year-round pass in the state and its 11 to 12 percent grades are sure to challenge even the most experienced drivers. The pass is traversed by the infamous Dalton Highway.

Where is Atigun Pass Alaska?

Set high in the Brooks Range, at the head of the Dietrich River, north from the last settlement of Coldfoot, the road to the summit is unpaved. It’s called Dalton Highway (also known as North Slope Haul Road). It’s located at mile marker 244 of the highway, where it crosses the Continental Divide. It’s a very remote location. Atigun Pass connects the oil-producing areas of the North Slope with interior Alaska and the south. Atigun is the only pass in the Brooks Range that is crossed by a road.

How steep is Atigun Pass?

The road to the summit is very steep, hitting a 12% of maximum gradient through some of the ramps. The pass has been responsible for taking many drivers off the road and is also home to avalanches during the winter.

Is Atigun Pass worth it?

This is a very significant point of your journey. Anyone who loves road trips should have this on their list. Watch for Dall sheep on the mountain sides around the pass. As you travel over the pass, you are going over the Continental Divide. The natural beauty along the way is positively undeniable. Rivers to the north empty into the Arctic Ocean, while rivers to the south empty into the Bering Sea.

Is Atigun Pass in Alaska open?

This is the highest pass in Alaska that is maintained throughout the year. As you'd expect from an area in the Arctic Circle, weather has a huge impact on this pass. With winter temperatures ranging from 0 to -40, regular storms, and the occasional avalanche, the harsh elements of the region make it challenging and extremely dangerous. Before you take on this daring drive, understand that harsh weather conditions happen frequently. South of the pass, permafrost areas become thinner and less prevalent. North of the Atigun Pass, permafrost grows deeper and is present almost everywhere. The pass was shown on the third and fourth seasons of the History Channel reality series Ice Road Truckers.

 

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