Steese & Elliott Highways

Travel Guide

brochure Steese & Elliott Highways - Travel Guide

Travel Guide and Map of Steese & Elliott Highways in White Mountains National Recreation Area (NRA) and Steese National Conservation Area (NCA) in Alaska. Published by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).

Alaska's Historic Steese and Elliott Highways Map Legend m Hiking Trail mCanoe Access In summer, wild rivers, hik ing trails, hot springs, and public recreation cabins offer a diversity of outdoor pursuits. View the midnight sun, experience the quiet beauty of alpine hi.I ls, and enjoy the ofonce-bustling gold rush towns. This brochure introduces you to the outdoor recreation oppornu1i1ies on public lands mauaged by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) along the Steese and Elliott highways. It also highlights sites of interest, including the visible remnants of gold rush days, to make your journey a memorable one. Bureau of Land Management Fairbanks District Office 1150 University Avenue Fairbanks, Alaska 99709-3844 Local: 907-474-2200 Toll Free: 1-800-437-7021 www.blm .gov/ak Visit us on Facebook at: Follow us on Twitter at: Birch Creek Bridge MP147.1 f3 Tent Camping follow the historic mining trails rhat once guided a torrent of prospectors into Alaska's heartland. Explore the vasr landscape of the Grear Interior, traditional homeland of the Athabascan people. Encounter 1.ocal people who still hum, trap, and mine in the same spirit as earlier Alaskans. In winter you may thrill to the sight of the aurora borealis crow11ing the night sky wbile traveling the spectacular White Mountains by dog team, skis, or snowmobile. Relive the courage and fortitude of Interior Alaska's early travelers by followi ng the Yukon Quest loternational Sled Dog Race as the trail weaves back and forth across the Steese Highway. Yukon Flats National Wildlife Refuge !! fl C1 Information l!HI Vault Toilet __,_...,_ f Yukon­ Charley Rivers National Preserve 1 Lower Birch Creek Wayside [;1 l!HI MP 140.4 m-e fJ Fishing Access Parking Steese Nationa l Conservation Area North Unit • Bikers climb thro11gh t11ntlr11 on the Pinn ell Mo1111t11i11 Nt1tio1111l Recreation Trttil. Pinnell Mountain National Recreation Trail ummit Wayside MP85.5 Eagle Summit Wayside MP 107.1 [D fl[;11!ID_ Yukon­ Charley Rivers National Preserve , · pper Birch Creek Wayside MP94 11!!1 !!fl~' Steese Highway Alaska Route 6 The Steese Highway begins in Fairbanks at the junction of the Richardson Highway and Airport Way. In the following list, SLM­ managed facilities are highlighted in blue. Cripple Creek Campgroiincl Upper Chatanika River State Recreation Site MP 39 MP 60 t'!m me11m1 U.S. Creek Road/ Davidson Ditch fl [;1 lmJ MP 57.3 Trans-Alaska Pipeline Mile 8.4 (13.5 km) A pipeline viewing site sponsored by the Alyeska Pipeline Service Company provides information displays and parking. P oker Flat Research Range MP 29.5 Gold Dredge #8 n·vel' ·k(l " ·~ ' -------, 111 C/ra Hl Gold Dredge #8 MP9.5 Mile 9.5 (15.3 km) Constructed in 1927, Gold Dredge #8 displaced millions oftous of gravel during 32 years of operation, creating symmetrical rows of gravel tailings that are still visible. Privately owned, it is on the National Register of Historic Places. Fox Mile 11 (17.7 km) Named for Fox Creek, this community was founded as a mining camp iu 1905. Turn right just before the Alaska Department of Transportation weigh station to continue up the Steese Highway. Felix Pedro Historic Monument Mile 16.5 (26.6 km) Jn 1902 Felix Pedro became the first prospector to discover gold in this area. He made his way to E.T. Barnette's Chena River camp for supplies, where word of his gold strike spread, and the ensuing gold rush led to the founding of Fairbanks. Well over 7 mil lion troy ounces of gold were eventually dredged from the Tanana Valley. Cleary Summit Mile 20.3 (32.7 km) From this high point at 2,233 feet (681 m), ihe White Mountains and Yukon-Tanana Uplands are visible to the north. The Circle- Fairbanks Historic Trai l starts 4 miles (6.4 km) east of here on Fairbanks Creek Road and ends approximately 58 miles (93 km) later at Twelvemile Summit on the Steese Highway. Gold Dredge #3 MP 28.6 McKay Creek Trailhead DJ fl MP42.5 Chatanika Gold Camp MP 27.9 } Chena Hot Sprin!:JS I Cleary Summit MP 20.3 Felix Pedro Monument MP16.5 Trans-Alaska Pipeline MP8.4 P oker Flat Research Range Mile 29.5 (47.5 km) Operated by the Geophysical lnstitute of the University of Alaska Fairbanks, this is the only university-owned rocket launching faci lity in the world. Research on the aurora borealis (northern lights) is the major focus. Upper Chatanika River State Recreation Site Mile 39 (62.8 km) A picnic area, campground, and river access are available at site owued by the State of Alaska. Boaters can put in for a 20-mile (32 km) class J- 11 float to mile ll (17.5 km) on the Elliott Highway. McKay Creek Trailhead Mile 42.5 (68 km) Access is provided to 200 miles of winter trails and public recreational use cabins in the I-million-acre White Mountains National Recreation Area. 0 This siphon pipe at U.S. Creek (Mile 57.3) was part af the historic I)a11i1lso11 Oitch. 10 5 15 20 25 M'I1 es 1o 15 2 Kilometers P A parking area on the right provides access to the Pinnell Mountain National Recreation Trai l and the Circle-Fairbanks Historic Trail. Beware ofhigb wiJ1ds and rapidly changing weather conditions. Blowing snow sometimes closes this portion of the highway. For trai l details see BLM's Pi1111ell Mo1111rai11 Nalio11al Recreation 'Ii-ail brochure. U.S. Creek Wayside/Road to White Mountains National Recreation Area Mile 57.3 (92.2 km) U.S. Creek Road cominues 7 miles (1 l km) to the White Mountains National Recreation Area, where you may camp, pan for gold on Nome Creek, or hike through boreal forest aud alpine tundra. Campsites are available at Mount Prindle or Ophir Creek campgrounds (fee sites) in Nome Creek valley, which also offers access and parking for Beaver Creek Wild and Scenic River. Upper Birch Creek Wayside Mile 94 (151 .3 km) An access road to the right leads to Birch Creek National Wild River. It is a 110-mile (177 km) class 1- ll l float to Lower Birch Creek Wayside at milepost 140.4. Take a leisurely pace of7 to 10 days to complete this primitive trip. Overnight camping, a riverside day-use area, and fishing access are available, including universal design campsites. A class 1- 11 float trip to the Upper Chatanika State Recreation Site at milepost 39 is approximately 25 miles (40 km) long. Occasional low water may require some boat dragging. Fee site. Gold Dredge #3 5 Davidson Ditch Mile 57.3 (92.2 km) View part of the historic Davidson Ditch, a 90-mi le system of inverted siphons and ditches completed in 1929. It carried wate-r from the Chatanika River to Fairbanks to power the gold mining operations of the F.E. Company. Cripple Creek Campground Mile 60 (96.6 km) Mile 27.9 (44.9 km) The Chatanika Gold Camp is the site of the historic Fairban.ks Exploration (F.E.) Company gold camp and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Tanana Valley Railroad carried supplies from Fairbanks to miners in the Chatanika area from 1905 to 1930. s 0 Fairbanks. MPO Chatanika Gold Camp Mile 28.6 (46 km) Visible amid its tailings on the left side of the highway are the remains of the privately ow ned Gold Dredge #3, built on Cleary Creek in the winter of 1927- 28. This dredge produced $JO million. I Twelvemile Summit Wayside Mile 85.5 (137 .6 km) (elev. 2,982 feet/909 m) Early prospectors named this spot for its location, 12 miles from Mastodon Dome, the site ofearly gold discoveries. You may see caribou between here and Eagle Summit from late July to mid-September. Eagle Summit Wayside and Pin nell Mountain National Recreation Trail Mile 107.1 (172.4 km) Parking area for the start of the 27-mile (43 km) Pinnell Mountain National Recreation Trail. Around the su mmer solstice (June 21), Eagle Summit is one of Alaska's very few road-accessible locations below the Arctic Circle where you can view the midnight sun. Enjoy the quarter-mile. accessible, interpretive loop trail with a viewing deck. For more information see the BLM's l:."agle Summit: Wi11dow to !he Midnight Sun and Pi1111el/ Mo1111/ai11 National Recreario11 Trail brochures. Eagle Summit is one of the most challenging portions of the 1,000-mile Yukon Quest lnternational Sled Dog Race, which runs between Fairbanks and Whitehorse, Yukon. Central Mile 127.8 (205.7 km) This log cabin community on Crooked Creek remains the center of the region's mining activity and is home to the Central Mining District Museum. It is also a popular checkpoint on the Yukon Quest International Sled Dog Race. Lower Birch Creek Wayside Mile 140.4 (226 km) An access road to the right leads 10 a parking area and Birch Creek National Wi ld River. This is the first take-out point along the river. You can also put in here and take a day trip to the bridge at milepost 147 Steese Highway, a distance of 16 river mi les. Th is class I section of the river meanders from here down to the Yukon River. Birch Creek Bridge Mile 147.1 (236.7 km) A river access easement is located on the right side of the road just after the bridge. bi 2013 the State of Alaska completed a new boat ramp on the left side of the road before the bridge. Boaters can travel the 200 mi les to the Yukon River through private land and the Yukon Flats National Wild life Refuge. Circle Mile 162 (260.7 km) The discovery of gold on Birch Creek led to the founding of Circle in 1893. Early residents thought the town was within the Arctic Circle, hence its name, but it is actually 50 miles south. It is also a Yukon Quest checkpoint. BLM/AK/G1·99/015•8300+020 Rep 2015 Agency Information Know Before You Go! Bureau of Land Management Trail Conditions Update Drive carefully Website: Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities Road Conditions Phone: 511 Website: Alaska Public Lands Information Center (APLIC) Morris Thompson Cultural and Visitors Center 101 Dunkel Street #110, Fairbanks, AK 99701 Office: 907-459-3730 Toll Free: J-866-869-6887 Website: Alaska Department of Fish & Game 1300 College Road, Fairbanks, AK 99701 Phone: 907-459-7200 Website: Alaska State Parks Northern Area Office 3700 Airport Way, Fairbanks, AK 99709 Phone: 907-451-2705 TDD: 907-451-2770 Website: Sections of tbe Steese aod Elliott highways have not yet been paved. Gravel sections are well-maintained and can be driven by two-wheel-drive vehicles. However, you may encounter tight corners, soft road shoulders, and dusty or slippery condit ions dependiog on the weatl1er, commercial traffic, and road-maintenance equipment. Rocks kicked up by other vehicles can crack your head lights or windsltield- slow down and keep your distance. Drive with your lights on to increase visibil ity in dusty or rainy cooditioos. Live ngood Juncti on MP70.8 Livengood • ~ F-r e_d_ B-li_x_t _C_a_b_i_n~ !Iii MP 62.5 Dalto n Highway Junction MP 73.1 Colorado Creek Trai lhead MP 57.1 61!1!1 A c<m oeist s top s to fis h 011 /Je{lver Creek Wild <111tl Sceni c River. White Mountains N ationa l Recreation Area Limited Services The Steese and Ell iott highways traverse wiId and scenic country, and basic services may be more limited than you are accustomed to. Cell phone coverage is available only near Fairbanks. Go prepared! We recommend you carry: • one or two good spare tires mouoted on rims • tire jack and tool kit • emergency flares • extra gasol ine, oil, and ,vindshield cleaner • dri nking water and food • emergency camping gear • first aid kit, insect repellem, and sun screen Sterilize all stream or pond water before drinking by boiling, fi ltering or using appropriate chemicals. Giardia parasites are common in Alaska's waters and can ca use considerable i.ntestina l discomfort. I Map Legend I r.! Tent Camping r;!i Public Use Cabin Grapefruit Rocks MP39 m Hiking Trail mCanoe Access !!! 6 Fishing Access ~ Parking l!l!I Vault Toilet Ptarmigan Pass MP 95 Minto Road Junction MP 110 Information 1r Minto 11 • Minto Flats State Game Refuge Olnes Pond MP 10.6 =:J Wickersham Do me Trailhead MP 27.7 6£Dl!JB W hitefish Campground/ Chata nika Rive r Access MP 11 C!u1t1111ilw River • Manley Hot Springs s MP 151.2 0 10 5 5 15 10 15 Prevent wildland fires by makiog sure campfires and smoking materia ls are completely out. Know the rules and follow all hunting and fishing regulations. Many road-accessible streams close to Fairbanks are heavily fished and are catch-and ­ release 01Jly. Leave no trace by packing out all trash and burying all human waste. Elliott Highway Alaska Route 2 Mile O of the Elliott Highway begins at the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities w eigh station in Fox., at Mile 11 (km 17.7) Steese Highway. In the following list, SLM-managed facilities are highlighted in blue. Protect our heritage. Historic a1Jd prehistoric artifacts on federal lands are part ofour nation 's heritage, and it is illegal to disturb or remove them. Artifacts lose their scientific value if disturbed and are lost to future generations if stolen. Gold panning. There are many patented mining claims in the region, and only a few places remain open to recreational gold min ing. Get information beforehand from the BlM, APLIC, or the Alaska Division of Mining, Land & Water. Wickersham Dome Trailhead Mile 27.7 (44.6 km) Th is is a parkiog area for tl1e Wh ite Mountai ns National Recreation Area. The Summit Trail leads up Wickersham Dome, a scenic summer hiking and berry picking area, before continuing 20 miles (32.2 km) 10 Beaver Creek. The Summit Trail Shelter, located 8 miles from the trailhead, is available on a first-come, first-served basis. F'rom the same trai lhead the Wickersham Creek Trail leads 7 miles (11 km) to Lee's Cabin, a year­ rou nd public recreational use cabin avai lable by reservation through the BLM. Olnes Mi le 9.2 (14.8 km) Little remains of this early mining town reportedly named after Nels Olnes, a prospector who arrived during the winter of 1907- 1908. Olnes was OL1Ce home to 250- 300 miners and had general stores, lodges, hotels, livery stables, and mail and telephone service. It was also a station on the Tanana Valley Railroad. Grapefruit Rocks Mile 39 (62.8 km) The large rock outcrops visible from the highway are a popular site for technical rock climbers. A short bike will bring you to the rocks. Turnouts are avai lable for parking. Olnes Pond Respect private property, min ing claims. and The Steese National Conservation Area (SNCA) encompasses 1.2 million acres of public land- an area nearly the size ofDelaware. Located about 100 mi les northeast of Fai rbanks, the SNCA's special values include Birch Creek Wild and Scenic River, crucial caribou home range and calving grouods, Dall sheep habitat, and the Pinnell Mountain National Recreation Trail. Road access into the SNCA is extremely Iimited, so many people visit the area by hiki ng the 27-mi]e-long Pinnell Mou ntain National Recreation Trail or by floatiitg Bi rch Creek Wi ld and Scenic River. 20 Kilometers , · ,er G1e11C1 l,n Practice bear safety by keeping a clean camp and making noise when hiking in dense brush. White Mountains National Recreation Area Steese National Conservation Area • Fairbanks 25M1·1es 20 Please use them and help keep our backcountry hea lthy for others. About an hour's drive from Fairbanks, the one-million-acre White Moumains National Recreation Area offers stunning scenery, peaceful solitude, and outstanding opportunities for year-round recreation. Summer visitors to the White Mountains can pan for gold, fish, hike or camp under Alaska's ' midnight sun.' The Nome Creek Road provides access to two BLM campgrounds, trai ls, a gold-panning area, and a departure poim for float trips on Beaver Creek Wild and Scenic River. In winter, visitors can travel by ski, snowshoe, dog team, or snowmobile to enjoy the 13 public-use cabins and 250 miles ofgroomed trails that make the White Mounta ins one of Interior Alaska's premier winter destinations. MP9.2 Fox MPO RV dump stations are available in Fairbanks. Rllfters 11tn•ig11te tltr(111g h r11vids 011 Birch Creek Wild (//1(/ Scen ic Ri ver. • O lnes people's personal privacy. Avoid feeding wildlife by storing your food properly. Animals that learn to associate food with people can cause problems and often have to be destroyed. Watch the w ildlife from a distance. People and pets can unintentionally cause stress on wildlife and may affect their surviva l. Mi le 10.5 (17. 1 km) Turn left and follow the gravel road one mile (1.6 km) 10 reach Olnes Pond, part of the Lower Cbatanika State Recreatioll Area. Picnic and camping sites, swimmiug, fishing, and non­ motorized boating access is available. Ptarmigan Pa ss Mile 95 (152 km) This high point offers superb views of the sun-01111ding country. Sawtooth Mountain is to the northwest, and the White Mountains are to the northeast. The Minto Flats stretch ro the south. Fred Blixt Cabin Mile 62.5 (100.5 km) A short road leads to th is public recreatiot1 cabin. Built in 1935 by Swedish trapper and prospector Fred Blixt, the original cabin burned down in 1991. The BLM replaced it the following year with a new, wheelchair-accessible log cabin. A permit for staying at the cabin 11.1ust be obtained in advauce at the BLM office in Fairbanks. Mi le 110 (177 km) The. Athabascan village of Minto is 11 miles (17.5 km) to the south. Many residents enjoy traditional lifestyles, using the abundant wildl ife of nearby Minto Flats. Please respect personal privacy and private property. Much of the wetland habitat is within the Minto Flats State Game Refuge. Minto Road Junction Livengood Junct ion Mile 70.8 (113.9 km) In 1914, prospectors Jay Livengood and N.R. Hudsou discovered gold on a nearby creek named for Livengood. A right turn leads to what remaius of the town that was founded near their claim during the winter of 1914- 1915. No services are avai lable. Dalton Highway Junction Whitefish Campground/Chatanika River Access Mile 11 (17.7 km) Turn left just past the bridge. Picnic areas, campsites, river, and a boat launch are avai lable at this site in the Lower Cbatanika State Recreation Area. Colorado Creek Trailhead Mile 57 .1 (91.9 km) The Colorado Creek Trail crosses extensive wetlands and is used only in winter. It connects with the White Mountains National Recreation Area wimer t1·a ils aod cabin system. Jo summer, the Tolovana River offers grayling fishing. Hikers take ll bre{lk at th e B LM 's Su mm it Trail Shelter i11 th e White Mm111 tllinS Nati on al Recreatitm A rea. Mile 73. 1 (117 .6 km) The Dalton Highway is Alaska's only road to tbe Arctic. It terminates 414 miles (662.5 km) to the north in Deadhorse, just 6 miles from the Arctic Ocea11. Built to support development of the Prudhoe Bay oilfields, it is still used by large and fast-moving commercial traffic. The highway has extremely limited services- go prepared! The Elliott makes a sharp left turo at this intersection- be sure you are on the correct highway. Manley Hot Springs Mile 151.2 (243.3 km) During the peak of mining activity in the Eureka and Tofty mining districts, Manley was a busy trading center. It is now a quiet town with a trading post, roadhouse, hot springs, and an airfield. A 2.5-mile (4 km) gravel road leads from tow n to the Tanana River. Other BLM recreation brochures • Birch Creek Wild and Scenic River • Beaver Creek Wild and Scenic River • Eagle Summit: Window to the Midnight Sun • Pinnell Mountain National Recreation Trail • White Mountains National Recreation Area

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