If your idea of an adventure is having guided tours in the wilderness, seeing the local’s popular attractions, and then coming back to fine dining and comfortable beds in your luxury hotel, then you might have to think twice about visiting the town of Deadhorse, because it is definitely not for the visitor who’s looking for a luxurious vacation.
Located along the North Slope of Alaska’s North Slope Borough, the community of Deadhorse is just beside the Arctic Ocean. Deadhorse is where workers from the nearby oil fields in Prudhoe Bay reside. It’s not quite visitor-friendly due to its limited number of accommodations and limited access as well: you can only get to Deadhorse by either taking the Dalton Highway coming from Fairbanks or through the Deadhorse Airport.
There are numerous theories as to the town’s intriguing name. The most popular one claims that Deadhorse came from a trucking company that operated in the area during the 1970s; however, residents are not quite sure where the company got its name.
Traveling to Deadhorse and Prudhoe Bay usually takes up to two days, with an overnight stopover in Coldfoot. While not exactly one the glamorous towns in Alaska, wildlife enthusiasts can still enjoy the area because of the indigenous wildlife residing in the area like grizzly bears, arctic hares, arctic fox, polar bears, arctic ground squirrels, and many more. Guided tours of the oil fields are also available and are actually the only way you can access the fields.
Other noteworthy experiences in the town of Deadhorse include the phenomenon of the midnight sun on summer when the sun remains continuously visible for 24 hours and the polar night phenomenon in the winter where night lasts longer than 24 hours.
Another reason to go to Deadhorse is to see the Arctic Ocean firsthand. Summer is the only time when visitors can access it and even take a dip in its icy waters if they’re brave enough to join the exclusive Arctic Ocean Polar Bear Club.