Drive to Artic Circle


Jan 29th, 2010, 07:10 AM
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Drive to Artic Circle

In mid-June of this year, two couples will end our cruise tour in Fairbanks, AK. On my "bucket list" is to cross the Artic Circle on the ground.
Question: Is it feasible to rent a car & drive the 175 miles from Fairbanks to the Artic Circle & return to Fairbanks in one day?
Thanks in advance.
TheBear60 is offline  
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Jan 29th, 2010, 09:34 AM
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It's POSSIBLE -- I pretty much did exactly what you describe -- but be aware of what you're getting into.

The Dalton Highway was NEVER intended to be a road for passenger cars, and it isn't now. As such, very few car rental companies permit their cars to be driven on this highway. Can you violate your contract and drive on this road anyway? Of course.

But think about this: if you DO drive on this road in violation of your contract, and either your car breaks down or you have an accident, you're on your own for the recovery, the repair, AND the cost of the car. Because you've violated the contract, neither the car rental company (even if you pay for CDW), nor your credit card company, nor your own insurance will cover you. All costs -- including "loss of service" -- are completely out of YOUR pocket. Basically, you've bought a new car for the company.

There are companies that allow you to rent a vehicle to drive on the Dalton, but the expense will be high.
It would most likely be better to take a van tour to the Artic Circle, have your picture made at the sign (pretty much all I did there), and then return.

Although I know NOTHING about this company other than what's on their URL, they do provide such tours:

I took the risk I noted above without incident, but was fully aware what it might cost me. It's not a risk I'd recommend to everyone.
PaulRabe is offline  
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Jan 29th, 2010, 10:11 AM
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We wanted to go to the Artic Circle also so we took a day tour by air to Kotzebue, had a wonderful day and loved walking on the tundra.
cd is offline  
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Jan 29th, 2010, 11:16 AM
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Okay, I apologize for having to do this, but it is spelled Arctic. Once I could let go, but not three times.
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Jan 29th, 2010, 11:36 AM
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Thank you, Austin Traveler! I was sitting here wincing every time someone spelled it "Artic", but thinking that I must be getting old and cranky to have it bother me so much.

nukesafe is offline  
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Jan 29th, 2010, 12:51 PM
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Thanks all.
Now besides knowing how to spell "Arctic", I have two good trip idea's & two Spelling lessons.
Life is goode!!!!!!!!!
TheBear60 is offline  
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Jan 29th, 2010, 01:01 PM
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If you are considering a tour from Fairbanks, AK suggest you check Check out "Gates of the Arctic Nat Park & Nunamiut Eskimo Village at Anaktuvuk Pass Tour 68". We did this in 2007 and it is a memory of a lifetime. We drove up the Dalton to Coldfoot (50 mi north of the Arctic Circle) with several stops along the way. Then flew to a small eskimo village for a short tour and returned by flying over the Brooks Range to Fairbanks. It is truly worth the price.

If you take a tour you will understand why few people risk taking their own vehicle on that road.

A report of our trip is at and then click "letters" and then 2007 vol 17 no 3.
RVtraveler is offline  
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Jan 30th, 2010, 03:01 AM
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As noted, most people greatly underestimate driving the Dalton Highway. It also is a very boring trip, round trip in a single day, for a look at a sign. There are a few independent rentals available for the car rentals. NONE Of the majors are acceptable.

FAR FAR superior is one of the fly/road tours. They are extremely well run and are far better than round trip by road. (one way is enough).
BudgetQueen is offline  
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Jun 9th, 2011, 07:16 PM
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We just returned from driving 2,640 miles around Alaska. The Arctic Circle drive is well worth the time and effort. SUV leases are $200-$230 for a full day of driving the Elliot and Dalton roads. If you do make the trip be sure you meet Joe and Nancy Carlson at mile 50 from Fairbanks. They have built the Arctic Circle Trading post there, on their own, by hand. Their story is astounding in that they have five children of their own but decided to adopt 19 more. All are now happy and well established adults. Their story would make a first rate novel and both Nancy and Joe are gifts to the world. The town they live in is appropriately named Joy, Alaska
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Jun 9th, 2011, 07:27 PM
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Joe Carlson's Trading Post has a sign over the door which announces it as The Wildwood General Store, while all the guides call it the Arctic Circle Trading Company. This never bothers Joe or Nancy at all and they never changed the sign.
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