Jan 26, 2024
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Atigun Pass Road, the Highest Road in Alaska

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Atigun Pass, at an elevation of 4,739 feet (1,444 meters), is a high mountain pass that crosses the Brooks Range in Alaska, at the headwaters of the Dietrich River. The pass is located where the Dalton Highway crosses the Continental Divide (mile marker 244), and is the highest mountain pass in Alaska that is maintained year-round.  Atigun is well known among bush pilots for the difficulty of flying over it, and several accidents have occurred in the past. The pass connects the oil-producing region of the North Slope of Alaska with the interior of the state. The pass was named after the Atigun River, which flows through the area. The river’s name is derived from the Athabaskan word “atigun,” which means “mountain pass”. The pass is a popular tourist destination, and offers stunning views of the surrounding mountains and valleys.

Driving Atigun Pass

The Atigun Pass Road is renowned for its demanding driving conditions, particularly during winter, marked by heavy snowfall, ice, and strong winds. The pass presents challenging terrain and unpredictable weather, often leading to closures due to avalanche threats or storms. Nevertheless, it attracts tourists and adventure enthusiasts seeking a remote and challenging driving experience. Infamous for claiming the lives of numerous drivers and prone to winter avalanches, the road to the summit maintains a maximum grade of 12%.

Certain sections of the road are unpaved, posing navigation challenges, necessitating travelers to be thoroughly prepared and informed before embarking on the journey. The area around Atigun Pass is known for its wildlife, including caribou and Dall sheep. Travelers may encounter these animals along the road, especially during certain times of the year. The Dalton Highway is one of the most isolated and northernmost roads in the United States. Services and amenities along the route are limited, and travelers are advised to be well-prepared with sufficient fuel, supplies, and emergency equipment.


The Atigun Pass Road, serves as a vital transportation route for the oil industry. It provides access to the Prudhoe Bay oil fields, which are among the largest oil fields in North America. The road is also used by truckers, adventurers, and those interested in exploring the remote wilderness of Alaska. Atigun Pass is a truly unique and memorable place to visit. It is a challenging destination, but the rewards are well worth the effort. If you are looking for a remote and adventurous road trip, I highly recommend adding Atigun Pass to your itinerary.

Atigun Pass in Google Maps

Versión en Español: Atigun Pass, el paso de montaña más alto de Alaska

Alaska · North America · USA

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