Horizons Unlimited - The HUBB

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-   -   Prudhoe Bay Oil Installation Tour (http://www.horizonsunlimited.com/hubb/north-america/prudhoe-bay-oil-installation-tour-34633)

Honesy 19 Apr 2008 12:49

Prudhoe Bay Oil Installation Tour
I am currently on a RTW trip (currently heading north in Panama) and really wanted to dip my toe in the Artic when I get to Alaska this summer. I was interested to read in this regional forum a comment about the Oil Installation tour at Prudhoe Bay, which apparently is the only way to be able to do this?

Any details would be gratefully received,



BackroadExplorer 19 Apr 2008 16:07

I took the tour last June. It is the only way to get right to the Arctic Ocean. It was quite interesting though.

You must call and book at least 24 hours in advance for security checks.

I took the tour through the Arctic Caribou Inn - www.artciccaribouinn.com their toll free number is 1-877-659-2368. I would suggest calling from Fairbanks before heading up the haul road.

Also, when I was in Deadhorse in June there there was a ban on camping due to bear activity. I don't know if this is permanent or just a temporary ban at the time.

I stayed at the Prudhoe Bay Hotel Prudhoe Bay Hotel It is a camp style building but comfortable. It was a litle pricey as I recall (perhaps $120.00 US/night ?) but this did include dinner, breakfast and a take-out lunch the next morning. Excellent food.

On the way up you can get a very good meal at Coldfoot but the camp/hotel there is very pricey. I stayed at the Boreal Lodge Boreal Lodging in Wiseman a few miles north of Coldfoot. Very reasonable. No food available in Wiseman so eat at Coldfoot first.

Hope this helps.

Honesy 23 Apr 2008 00:46

for the great info and detailed reply Bill.



Bill Ryder 23 Apr 2008 04:28

Arctic bathing
If you want to get wet in the arctic ocean you can also fly a little ways north from Inuvik at the end of the dempstser highway. Camping in Inuvik for a couple of days would be cheaper than an overnight in prudoe and you could use the money saved for the flight. Hey it's all good but there is just something about stumbling out of a bar at closing time in Inuvik and having it be broad daylight outside.

Honesy 10 May 2008 13:21

Swimming in Northern Alaska
Thanks for all the tips Bill. I will definitely look at the Inuvik option too. I have to get some maps for North America yet, but was holding out until I reached the AAA, as I heard you could get good maps for free from them - is this true, or would you recommend others for better detail?



nugentch 8 Jun 2008 21:10


Originally Posted by Honesy (Post 188814)
Thanks for all the tips Bill. I will definitely look at the Inuvik option too. I have to get some maps for North America yet, but was holding out until I reached the AAA, as I heard you could get good maps for free from them - is this true, or would you recommend others for better detail?



The maps are free if you are a member (or know one! :innocent:).

g&s2up 27 Jun 2008 21:12

There and Back or not?
Sue and I are flying in to Anchorage next July to do the AK to Tierra del fuego trip, we will be two up on a 1200gs so the question is: Is it worth the effort to ride to Deadhorse just to come back down again, or maybe see Denali and go as far as the arctic circle? before heading down?

Graham & Sue

jc 24 Aug 2008 22:06

My wife and I are on our way up to Deadhorse now. We didn't come all the way to Alaska to turn around before the road ends. . . . . .
Aparently there is nothing to see, but that is not why we go there is it?

We're in Dawson city now, will replace the cracked front wheel on the GS in Fairbanks before we will head north on the 'Haul road'

Thanks for the advise on camping and eating places

Johan and Charmaine

Ironheadziggy76 24 Aug 2008 22:44

I'm planning to go up in July of 2009 and was wondering if you could call in advance to get clearance or if you had to be there in person. Thanks for the info and links BackroadExplorer.:thumbup1:

Anyone care to share what tires they used on the Haul Road? Everything I have read says if it's dry just about anything will work, but if wet with all the Chloride you should probably have knobbies. I am considering taking a set along or maybe having some shipped somewhere. What do you all think?

IanJ 25 Aug 2008 10:29

We went up to Deadhorse in Aug 2007 two up on a R100GSPD I was running a set of Metzler Tourance that I had put on when we left Seattle so they had already done a few thousand km. It had been raining for some days before we left Fairbanks and continued all the way up to Deadhorse . And yes the mud is very slippery, before we left Fairbanks we met a guy who had just ridden back from Deadhorse and he described the mud as

"being like vaseline on glass". This did not inspire me.

It wasn't quite that bad but not far from it in some places.

I'm not a dirt rider and it was a bit of a struggle at times to keep it on track as even though the road was fairly flat it wanted to slide off to the side. We were able to keep up a reasonable pace and when it got deeper (4-6 inches) I dropped down the gears and took it slowly. I don't know if that was the correct technique but I didn't drop it so I was happy.

We met up with a couple of guys at Coldfoot one had a KLR650 with knobbies the other had an R1100R with road tyres and he made it up to Deadhorse ok, again he took it slower when it got difficult.

The big surprise was when we came back three days later. The sun had been out for a day and a bit and the road was hard as a rock. The sections I crawled through on the way up we flew past. I couldn't believe the change in such a short time.

It would have been easier if I did have more aggressive tread but it can be done. What sort of bike are you riding?

I do have a few suggestions for you.

- If you have the option stay at the Prudoe Bay hotel, the food was better and you can get a much better selection of food to take away the day you leave.

- If you do the refinery tour and have lost your sanity (as I had) you can go swimming (briefly) in artic. They have towels in the bus.

- If you stay at Coldfoot camp enjoy the beer there. You won't get one at Deadhorse the whole town/area is dry. Apparently alcohol and oil mining don't mix.

- If it is muddy when you go you will discover that it is incredibly sticky to remove and quite corrosive as well. I spent a long time (and quite a few dollars) at a pressure wash back in Fairbanks getting rid of it.

It was not an easy trip on the way up but well worth the effort. You'll have a great time.


Ian J

Ironheadziggy76 25 Aug 2008 16:01

IanJ, I will be riding a Suzuki 2005 DL650 V-Strom. I had considered buying a set of Tourances to take along with me and then mount them before I hit the Haul Road. I just bought this bike a few months ago and the previous owner had just put new tires on. I don't understand the combination he chose, (Dunlop 607 on the front, and a Bridgestone Battle Wing on the rear), must have been something he read on a forum somewhere, but it handles fine. I wanted to put on the Tourances before I started and take something like a set of TKC-80s or Karoos to mount when I got to Fairbanks but I am trying to stay on a budget if possible. I'm hoping that if I take the Tourances along and mount them up in Alaska I should have no problem getting home on the one set, as it's only going to be about 7,000 miles one way the route we are coming back.

I plan on taking the refinery tour, but I can't swim. I'll probably just wade in a little. I will be sure to grab that last beer at Coldfoot on the way up.:thumbup1:

Thanks for the advise, I need all the help I can get!

MountainMan 25 Aug 2008 16:44

Hey Iron Head,

Couple of quick comments, you will hear many wide ranging opinions about the haul road as it probably sees many riders, most experienced but a lot of people who have never seen dirt before.

Keep in mind the road is the only land link for a multi billion dollar oil industry. I'm pretty sure they have the resources to keep the road in good all weather shape. To do so, they grade and water shorter sections constantly, these sections can have soft gravel and be a bit of a handful. The vast majority of the other sections are actually very good. When dry, it will look very solid, when wet, it will look slippery but if you stop walk the road, kick the dirt, slide your rear tire you'll see that there is a lot more traction than you think. They can't be having their big trucks slide into the ditch so they make sure there is enough gravel for traction.

In regards to your setup, you already have an awesome set up. Many people that ride on and off road run a standard rear tire with a knobbie front tire, it's an amazing combination as the knobbie runs well on the highway but really assists in riding in gravel. You get a lot of handling from your front tire.

BTW, buy your Tourances online in the US, way cheaper than Canada. If your knobbie can make it to Prudoe and and back, then that is all you need. If not, if you come through Vancouver, you can borrow a old Tourance EXP off me if you want to save your knobbie for the last part. You'd be absolutely fine without it for that last section, but you've been bumping along the highway with it so you might as well get to use it when it really will help:)

Ironheadziggy76 25 Aug 2008 20:47

MountainMan, Thanks so much for the offer. I have subscribed to this thread so I can remember everything for the trip. I will be getting in touch with you as the time gets closer. Thanks again!

I just called the Inn and they have a new phone number. 1-866-659-2368 I think they just changed some of the toll free prefixes.

jc 5 Sep 2008 23:22

We just came back from Deadhorse, and enjoyed the ride up there.
The road conditions was good, nothing to worry about. We were two up on a 1150GS Adventure, heavy loaded with lots of gear. Front tire is a Conti TKC (I always use that) and a Metzeler Tourance on the back. We only encountered about 20 miles of bad road, where they wet they wet the road for maintanance, the rest I was able to cruise at 100km/h comfortably. On our way south, about 200km from Deadhorse we saw a guy on a BMW R80 road bike heading north to Deadhorse, so it is not that bad.

Hotel in Prudoe Bay ias great with great food, you need to book a room in advance.

We are on our way south to Argentina. . . . .

Ironheadziggy76 6 Sep 2008 18:44

Thanks for the information on the Haul Road up to Deadhorse. Sounds like everything will be fine. I'll be sure to book my room in advance if possible. I will probably try to go up when the weather is the best if I can.

You all be safe on your way south, and let us know how the trip is going when you get the chance.

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