Horizons Unlimited - The HUBB

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-   -   Prudhoe Bay vs. Inuvik (http://www.horizonsunlimited.com/hubb/north-america/prudhoe-bay-vs-inuvik-65062)

brianrossy 2 Jul 2012 19:04

Prudhoe Bay vs. Inuvik
Gday all.

In planning my trip to Alaska in August (leaving from Grande Prairie, AB), I come across many people that say Prudhoe Bay is just a bunch of pipes at the end of the road and is more of a "I got there" kind of thing. A lot of others go to Inuvik.

I would love to hear opinions on what trip is more pleasing and worth it, from both kinds who have been to Inuvik or Prudhoe, or both! And why so? I hear the Dempster Highway is a blast...but would love some HUBBin feedback!


MountainMan 3 Jul 2012 17:07

Hi Brian,

It's a bit of personal preference but I would probably head back first to Inuvik over Prudoe.

As a destination, Inuvik is a living town with history and you can spend a bit of time wandering around the area and also chatting with some of the locals and even the odd tourist to get a flavour of the place. (They will be putting in a road even further north to Tuktoyuktuk but for now you can only get up to Tuk by plane, by boat, or wait for winter to take the ice road.)

Prudoe, in comparison, is a large resource extraction camp so while some people spend a night at the camp, others prefer to blast in, touch the ocean, and blast out.

Having said that, the high arctic geography around Prudoe is a pretty special place. If you do go, you can camp about 10 km before town right beside the river (you'll see some hunters usually parked up there). To me, that is the allure of the high arctic, rugged, desolate. Sitting in your tent looking out over the tundra you can imagine the strength of the flora and the fauna to survive in such an environment.

As for the ride in, if I remember correctly, the Dempster is more scenic, particlularly at the south end. Far enough north, the trees start to disappear and everything starts to look similar.

Whichever place you visit, the key is to stop and get a feel of the place. It's a unique geographic region of the world, one never knows when we'll get back to places like that. Ride safe.

Bill Ryder 7 Jul 2012 07:23

The dempster and Inuvik gets my vote. I went up in 79 when the road was first open then several more times and also in 2004 for the 25th aniversary. I would be going again if time and money allowed. By august the mosquitoes might have been frosted out if not take your mosquito headnet. The ferry crossings of the peel and mckensie river are neat and warrant a bit of a linger. During the solastice the sun doesn't set for 51 days in inuvik.

slojo 19 Jul 2012 21:30

Mate, let's do Inuvik first then see if we still cbf'd going to Prudhoe?

saralou 19 Jul 2012 22:26

Just back from Inuvik
Dempster for sure, but only if it's not raining :) The MUD AGGGGH!
Inuvik is worth the drive and it is worth the I got there factor. Plus way less bugs as there was a recent forrest fire. Stay at the Arctic chalet just before town best deal in town and a B&B with BBQ's. You can take the sled huskies on your walks too. Make a reservation at Eagle plains if you can. Tombstone campground is a great starting off point as well. In Alaska dont miss Valdez! check out our blog post for Alaska which should be posted later today. We loved the Kluane B&B half way between Burwash Landing and Haines junction. There is a great motorcycle campground in Tok Eagles Rest on Borealis avenue. Sara


brianrossy 11 Aug 2012 06:46

Stay posted, doing Dempster in next few days and Prudhoe after that. Will throw my two cents in after...happy riding!

tinpusher 29 Sep 2012 09:30


Originally Posted by brianrossy (Post 388896)
Stay posted, doing Dempster in next few days and Prudhoe after that. Will throw my two cents in after...happy riding!

Should we send out the search party?

Genghis9021 30 Sep 2012 00:35

The Dempster +1000
The Dempster. Locals speak reverently about it for fairly obvious reasons.

Did it in '93 on a K75S in the rain - not easy. Did it in '10 on a KTM ADV 950 and that was FUN !

But it's all about the Tombstone Valley and that land south of the Ogilvie's. One of the most unique ecosystems on earth and in late summer . . . the colors are simply magic.

The Iron Butt's made the haul road (Dalton Hwy) "famous". 'Nuff said.

ajmac 22 Oct 2012 03:52

the dempster was a highlight of my trip and i loved dawson city.so yeh the dumpster gets my vote (and it rates up there with mexico and morocco although they aint that close to do all in a row but when god builds that bridge i asked him for ......it was easier than my other wish for all men to understand women ...he replied do you want two lanes or four):innocent:

brianrossy 31 Oct 2012 07:32


Originally Posted by tinpusher (Post 394357)
Should we send out the search party?

Very amusing...but you know how it goes, keeping track of everything on the road is a nightmare!

However...finally, my 2 cents worth! I didn't end up doing both. The weather proved to be good for a week as I approached Whitehorse, so I decided to burn up the Dempster to Inuvik first. By the time I came back down, I didn't feel like doing another ride to the top and back down (the Dalton/Haul Road).

So, the Dempster....WOW! I absolutely loved it. The weather was splendid, the views stellar, and the people and wildlife...very curious! Met a few bikers heading up and seemed to have a larger variety of campsites than the Dalton. The road was in good condition as it had just rained and stopped so the dust was down also. It rained on my way back down after I spent a few days in Inuvik. But didn't get bad muddy.

I heard from other riders that the Prudhoe Bay/Haul Road/Dalton Highway was more of an "I made it there factor" than a drive to enjoy. They said the trucks were endless (I only met a few trucks on the Dempster), the town itself was an oil town, and oilfield scenery on the way up. And you couldn't ride to the Arctic Ocean without being in a tour also.

Make up your own mind, but for a biker that can put his ego aside...the Dempster is the better pick I believe...I only wish I'd done the Dalton so I could be 100% sure ;) Best of luck in the next year!


Labrador Lance 7 Feb 2013 04:30

Do both. Head for Inuvik first, then do Dawson City, then Top of the World to Chicken, AK. Who cares what's at the end of the road? The journey is the goal.

Atigun Pass should be on everyone's bucket list. The Franklin Bluffs are not to be missed. If you get to Deadhorse and the musk-ox are in town, you will have a memory you will never forget.

Common sense and good judgement should never prevent you from having the time of your life!

ssa2 7 Feb 2013 16:05

Dempster and Dalton
I did them both in 2005 and I did it alone on a honda XL650L I left Fairbanks on Monday morning and made it to Coldfoot after a day of riding in the rain. The next day I rode in rain again to Deadhorse and stayed over night and met a guy that had ridden up from Fairbanks in one day. It was July 4th and the temperature was 32 degrees so cold and slippery with the mud and the truck traffic. The next day rode back to Fairbanks in one day in rain till about Coldfoot. The next day from Fairbanks to Dawson City over the top of the world highway and then the next day from Dawson city to Eagle Plains where the rain really started. The next day up to Inuvik. The next day back to Dawson City so a lot of miles on a XR650L in that many days. I was short of time so had to do it that way but both are great rides. The ferry crossings the Mountain range crossings, the pipeline, the working city of Deadhorse, the musk ox lots of wildlie everywhere. Not bad for bugs if you are moving but if you need to stop they can get bad. I really can not answer your question of which one is best so do both. I have several friends that went to the artic circle on both of these roads and will never get the chance to go back and be able to say they did it. This summer I am going to do Nordcap in Norway with the wife as she has never crossed the circle before and it is worth it.

Strawdog 21 Mar 2013 03:08

Rode up Inuvik last summer one of the best trips I ever had. Between the views and people i met. On way up to Eagle Plains was a challenge lots of rain muddy roads took me forever. More from lack skill first time riding dual sport bike.

Dawson City was worth the stop then did Top of the World.

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