Prudhoe Bay is an oil field on the Arctic Coast of Alaska. With the entire coast
leased to oil companies the only way for civilians to access the ocean is through
an organized tour. This marks the starting point of the TransAlaska Pipeline and
the Dalton Highway which parallels the pipeline. Deadhorse, an unincorporated town
south of the bay, primarily houses oil field service companies and field workers.
Ambitious tourists with the desire to reach the Arctic find themselves amidst a jumble
of industrial chaos.
People: With workers constantly cycling in and out of the town “regulars” get accustomed
to helping out the lost souls wandering around Deadhorse. From the time we deboarded
our plane to biking out of town everyone we came across was more than willing to
help us find our way. This included three unsolicited rides as we walked around town
preparing for the trip.
Accommodations: The Arctic Caribou Inn was probably the least hotel for the most
money possible in this hemisphere. The room measured a sparse 12 by 15 feet plus
small washroom. The highlight was either the view of the trailer next door or the
12” TV (which did have cable!). Their monopoly is tenuous however as there are now
two competing hotels in Deadhorse so expect prices to go down.
Attractions: Touching the Arctic Ocean is the highlight of a half day oilfield tour.
Aside from that the wildlife on the tundra to the south will probably be of more
interest to you than the assorted industrial complexes around town.