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ValerieJo

Arctic Circle Day Trip from Seward.

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We will be in Seward for a couple of days before we hook up with our pre-cruise tour with Royal Caribbean. We will have a rental car, but everything I've read is that you cannot take rental cars up to the Arctic Circle on the Dalton Highway.

 

There are several tour companies that offer this tour privately. I've been checking TripAdvisor and see many different options.

 

Has anyone here taken one of these tours? How long was the tour? Which company did you use?

 

Any info would be most helpful. Thank you.

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Seward? The only place I’ve heard of those tours from is Fairbanks. When I looked it was an 8 hour tour from Fairbanks, which is 9 hours from Seward.

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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Seward is around 500 miles from the Arctic Circle and almost 1000 miles from the Arctic Ocean.

 

The only practical way for you to do the Arctic Circle is to drive to Anchorage and fly Alaska Airlines to Barrow where you can get a 5 hour tour and then back to Anchorage that evening. Flight and tour runs around $500 per person or if you have airline miles with an Alaska Air partner, 15K miles and $150 for the tour.

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We will be in Seward for a couple of days before we hook up with our pre-cruise tour with Royal Caribbean. We will have a rental car, but everything I've read is that you cannot take rental cars up to the Arctic Circle on the Dalton Highway.

 

There are several tour companies that offer this tour privately. I've been checking TripAdvisor and see many different options.

 

Has anyone here taken one of these tours? How long was the tour? Which company did you use?

 

Any info would be most helpful. Thank you.

 

So sorry for the confusion. I meant to type Fairbanks, not Seward.

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Look at the options offered by Northern Alaska Tour Company. NATC is a Fairbanks based company and is highly reputable.

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Look at the options offered by Northern Alaska Tour Company. NATC is a Fairbanks based company and is highly reputable.

 

Thank you. I'll check them out. The problem I'm finding is doing this trip on a Sunday.

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If you're wanting to do the Arctic Circle on your own from Fairbanks look at ARCTIC OUTFITTERS to rent a car specifically equipped to drive on the Dalton Highway. Their vehicles have all-wheel-drive, a large tool box full of items you might need along the way [if you have a breakdown], a comprehensive first aid kit and a CB radio to talk to the truck drivers if you need their assistance.

 

Last year we drove from Fairbanks to Coldfoot (an extra 60 miles north of the Arctic Circle) and it was our favorite day of a two week road trip around Alaska. The Dalton wasn't as treacherous as we expected (from all the descriptions and warnings we'd received) - we live in rural Oklahoma and have some roads that are much worse here. I imagine there are people who attempt the Dalton who have never seen or driven on a gravel road so the warnings are legitimate.

 

The scenery can be stark and boring at times. But there are other areas that are beautiful. We were very surprised. We made countless stops for pictures and to simply enjoy the view at different locations.

 

We stopped for lunch a little past the Yukon River at the Hot Spot Cafe. Their burgers were pretty awesome and the ladies working there are a hoot. We enjoyed our lunch!

 

We filled our gas tank at the Yukon River Camp store and again at Coldfoot Camp just to be on the safe side. On the return trip we had a full tank of gas and no problems.

 

At Coldfoot is the Arctic Interagency Visitor Center that is very nice. It's sort of a combination museum and information center. It's on the west side of the highway and the Coldfoot Camp truckstop and restaurant are on the east side.

 

We left Fairbanks around 8:00 AM and arrived to Coldfoot around 5:00 PM. We did a *LOT* of stopping along the way plus lunch. On the way back to Fairbanks we didn't stop too much and made it back around midnight - we may have exceeded the 50 MPH speed limit some... Ha Ha Also, it never got dark and we were able to drive that late without headlights - that's interesting in itself.

 

There are sections of the Dalton that are paved with stripes like your average highway. There seemed to be no rhyme or reason for where those sections were located. We decided that gravel was actually better because it is kept well graded and smooth. The paved sections would have frost heaves here and there with little warning - we about hit our heads on the roof of our SUV several times.

 

If we get the chance to do this drive again we will definitely take about three days so we can go all the way to Deadhorse - one day for each direction plus a day there for an Arctic Ocean excursion. As I said, this was our favorite day - the remoteness is interesting - no cellphone, no radio. We were lucky and had spectacular weather as you will be able to see from some photos below.

 

Good luck!

 

About 100 miles north of Fairbanks:

35097779813_fa0e3bb4b9_b.jpg

 

Arctic Circle Sign - about 195 miles north of Fairbanks:

35875140086_91fbbc7353_b.jpg

 

Alaska Pipeline Pump Station 5 from Gobblers Knob - 216 miles north of Fairbanks:

35528274330_31d102330d_b.jpg

 

Somewhere along the way...

35067812764_f58a6e03b6_b.jpg

 

Grayling Lake - 25 miles south of Coldfoot Camp:

35764162971_0052c4f456_b.jpg

 

Twenty miles south of Coldfoot Camp:

35777553821_fb364ff6ce_b.jpg

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SupercrewBear - WOW! your pictures are spectacular. Your trip sounds amazing. Now, I want to do it for sure. Thanks for your detailed review.

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If you're wanting to do the Arctic Circle on your own from Fairbanks look at ARCTIC OUTFITTERS to rent a car specifically equipped to drive on the Dalton Highway. Their vehicles have all-wheel-drive, a large tool box full of items you might need along the way [if you have a breakdown], a comprehensive first aid kit and a CB radio to talk to the truck drivers if you need their assistance.

 

Last year we drove from Fairbanks to Coldfoot (an extra 60 miles north of the Arctic Circle) and it was our favorite day of a two week road trip around Alaska. The Dalton wasn't as treacherous as we expected (from all the descriptions and warnings we'd received) - we live in rural Oklahoma and have some roads that are much worse here. I imagine there are people who attempt the Dalton who have never seen or driven on a gravel road so the warnings are legitimate.

 

 

We did the same drive w the same car rental company. I agree w you regarding the condition of the road - it was an easy drive. We even saw a few people doing the road in RVs. In hindsight, we probably could have done it in our Honda Accord although I don't regret renting from Arctic Outfitters.

 

I assume that you have experienced driving rural Oklahoma roads with washboarding. Now that is a lot of fun and thank god there was minimal washboarding on the Dalton.

 

The difference between our trip and yours is that we turned around maybe 10 miles north of the Atigun Pass of Ice Road Truckers fame which was about 80 miles north of Coldfoot and we stayed over in Wiseman which is 16 miles north of Coldfoot.

 

DON

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Thank you SuperCrewBear and DonaldSC. Our original plan was to go with the tour company, however after reading both of your reports and watching a couple of YouTube videos, I think we are convinced to rent a vehicle from Arctic Outfitters and do a self guided tour. By some chance did Arctic Outfitters provide maps and tourist information? Thanks again for your great information.

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I'm sure they will provide info but once you get out of Fox (just north of Fairbanks) and take a right, there is only one road. It's a beautiful drive. I have done it a number of times in my Scion both to the Arctic Circle and all the way to Deadhorse! Make sure you have insurance to cover window dings.

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The best I can remember, Arctic Outfitters had a map - they can provide you any information you might need, I'm sure. I had my Garmin GPS. It was great to just be able to see how much further a point was going to be - I had preloaded the Arctic Circle sign and Coldfoot Camp as destinations.

 

Yes Don, here in Oklahoma we do get some washboarding! And that's on the highway! Ha Ha After we got back from the trip I told the Arctic Outfitter people that the Dalton was better than the roads in Oklahoma.The ladies at The Hot Spot Cafe told us we should go on past the Atigun Pass like you did because some of the best scenery was up there. We thought about it but decided that even though it was ONLY 80 more miles it would turn our 16 hour trip into about 24 hours. If we were going to stay the night up there we could have done it. That just leaves uswith another adventure for the future! :D

 

Here are a couple more pics:

 

My mushroom & Swiss burger at The Hot Spot Cafe - EXCELLENT - cooked on a charcoal grill.

35067130974_941c8d1708_b.jpg

 

We saw these people from Alabama at the Arctic Circle sign driving their own Toyota - I estimate they had driven about 6,000 miles from home at this point... Car & Driver Magazine drove a Corvette to Deadhorse one time - that car is in the Corvette Museum at Bowling Green, Kentucky.

35725899462_d82d1d8a87_b.jpg

 

35725932402_f10235f398_b.jpg

 

The Corvette they drove to Deadhorse. If it can make it, anyone can!

 

5196725023_3f278d86a5_b.jpg

 

5197327356_137fcd3f19_b.jpg

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SuperCrewBear - I hope you can answer another question for me. I called Arctic Outfitters today and reserved a car (I'm super excited). I see by your post you arrived in Coldfoot about 5:00pm. My question is, what time did you leave Coldfoot to be back in Fairbanks by midnight? Thanks again for your very informative post.

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SuperCrewBear - I hope you can answer another question for me. I called Arctic Outfitters today and reserved a car (I'm super excited). I see by your post you arrived in Coldfoot about 5:00pm. My question is, what time did you leave Coldfoot to be back in Fairbanks by midnight? Thanks again for your very informative post.

 

We weren't there too long. I *think* we started back around 6:30. We bought a few things in the Coldfoot Camp store plus filled the gas tank. We drove around the area a little (there's only a couple or three "streets" in the area.) We might have spent 30-45 minutes at the Arctic Interagency center then started back. I probably went over the speed limit (50 mph) some - we were comfortable enough with the road by then. We only made a few short stops for some pictures, restroom break, etc. I'm pretty sure we were in our room at Fairbanks by midnight - after at stop at the Taco Bell drive-thru - there wasn't much else open at that time. It was odd because it was *nearly* full daylight in Fairbanks but there wasn't anyone anywhere. Strange!

 

We took a cooler with plenty of things to drink and some snacks. There are numerous pull-outs along the way with picnic tables and a few had outhouses.

 

I hope you have a great time! Report back afterwards!

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Supercrewbear - We are back from our Alaska cruise and can't thank you enough for your detailed review regarding the Arctic Circle. We also rented a car from Arctic Outfitters and drove the Dalton Highway up to the Arctic Circle. While we didn't make it as far as Coldfoot, we did make it to the Arctic Circle sign where we ate a picnic lunch we had packed.

 

It was an absolutely amazing experience that we will never forget. I'm so glad we did it.

 

Thanks again for the details you provided.

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Supercrewbear - We are back from our Alaska cruise and can't thank you enough for your detailed review regarding the Arctic Circle. We also rented a car from Arctic Outfitters and drove the Dalton Highway up to the Arctic Circle. While we didn't make it as far as Coldfoot, we did make it to the Arctic Circle sign where we ate a picnic lunch we had packed.

 

It was an absolutely amazing experience that we will never forget. I'm so glad we did it.

 

Thanks again for the details you provided.

 

FANTASTIC!!! :D I'm jealous! We just went to Alaska again last month. I'm ready to do another road trip though. Our current plan is to go back during the winter (I'm hoping this coming January) so we can experience the cold and hopefully see the Northern Lights. We want to ride the train from Anchorage to Fairbanks and possibly back again.

 

Thanks for reporting back! I'm glad you had a good time!

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FANTASTIC!!! :D I'm jealous! We just went to Alaska again last month. I'm ready to do another road trip though. Our current plan is to go back during the winter (I'm hoping this coming January) so we can experience the cold and hopefully see the Northern Lights. We want to ride the train from Anchorage to Fairbanks and possibly back again.

 

Thanks for reporting back! I'm glad you had a good time!

 

We rode the Wilderness Express (glass dome train) from Fairbanks to Denali. It was wonderful. If you have not done it, I highly recommend it. Also, they serve a delicious breakfast on the lower level. The bartender makes the best Bloody Mary we ever had.

 

I hope you get to go this winter. If you make it to Fairbanks, I suggest you make a trip to the Chena Hot Springs which is about an hour outside of Fairbanks. I'm pretty sure they have a Northern Lights viewing special. We enjoyed it in the summer, I imagine it would be pretty spectacular in the winter. https://chenahotsprings.com/

 

Thanks again for your information.

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