Coldfoot Alaska, although a large dot on the roadmap along the Dalton Highway, is more a truck stop than a town. It’s about the halfway point between Fairbanks and the Arctic Ocean at mile 175 on the Dalton Highway, and it’s a welcome spot for many travelers needing to refuel their vehicle and enjoy a hot meal at the café. Be advised however, that fuel is much more expensive this far along the highway. The next place to get gas is 250 miles to the north, in Prudhoe Bay.
Iditarod dog musher Dick Mackey started the truck stop many years ago, but the actual historic town of Coldfoot was originally a mining camp with the name of Slate Creek (closer to the Koyukuk river). Supposedly, its current name was secured about 1900 when gold-seeking prospectors navigating the Koyukuk River got the proverbial “cold feet” and would turn around. Besides the restaurant and gas station, Coldfoot also has a few overnight accommodations made from leftover modular pipeline construction camps. They are not fancy, but serve the purpose of a shelter.
Across the highway to the west is the Coldfoot airport, where Coyote Air, owned by Dirk Nickisch and Danielle Tirrell (907.678.5995), offers many adventure seekers bush plane access to the remote regions of Alaska’s arctic. Flightseeing is also an option.
Arctic Interagency Visitor Center
The Arctic Interagency Visitor Center in Coldfoot is run cooperatively by the Bureau of Land Management, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the National Park Service. The visitor’s center has informative displays about the Arctic region and is a recommended visit if you have time. Check their website for hours of operation.