Driving the infamous Atigun Pass in Alaska

Atigun Pass is a high mountain pass at an elevation of 1,470m (4,822ft) above sea level, located in Alaska, 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.

Atigun Pass

Where is Atigun Pass in Alaska?

Set high in the Brooks Range, at the head of the Dietrich River, the pass is located north of Coldfoot in Yukon-Koyukuk Census Area. It’s at mile marker 244 of the Dalton Highway (also known as North Slope Haul Road), where it crosses the Continental Divide. The 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 crossed by a road.

How steep is Atigun Pass?

Located above the Arctic Circle, the road to the summit is very steep, reaching a 12% maximum gradient through some of the ramps. The pass is the highest point on the Dalton Highway.

Is Atigun Pass dangerous?

The road to the summit is entirely unpaved and challenging. The pass has been responsible for taking many drivers off the road and is also home to avalanches during the winter. It’s a very remote location, and harsh weather conditions happen frequently.

Is Atigun Pass worth it?

This is a significant point on your journey. Anyone who loves road trips should have this on their list. Watch for Dall sheep on the mountainsides 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 expected 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 Atigun Pass, permafrost grows deeper and is present almost everywhere. The pass was featured on the third and fourth seasons of the History Channel reality series Ice Road Truckers.