Steese Highway

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Highway Points

Orig­i­nal­ly the Fox Road­house, this old-style build­ing has been ren­o­vat­ed to house a brew­ery and brew pub. Ten miles from Fair­banks, the brew­ery has at least a dozen house-made beers on tap, and a huge selec­tion of bot­tled brews, many of which can’t be found any­where else in town. There’s a large, open beer gar­den out back, ide­al for sum­mer nights. And the food’s great. 

The White Moun­tain Nation­al Recre­ation Area has over 200 miles of win­ter trails that are shared by dog mush­ers, ski­iers, ski­jor­ers, and snow machin­ers and sev­er­al cab­ins have been built along the White Moun­tain win­ter trails to pro­vide vis­i­tors with safe­ty and com­fort dur­ing their adventures.

This sta­tion is one of two in the U.S. respon­si­ble for track­ing and com­mand­ing the nation’s envi­ron­men­tal and weath­er satel­lites. Sev­er­al large anten­nae are used to down­link envi­ron­men­tal data, which pro­vides the nation with infor­ma­tion for its weath­er fore­casts, search & res­cue capa­bil­i­ties and ozone mon­i­tor­ing. UPDATE: This NOAA site will no longer pro­vide GOES-East imagery. 

This mon­u­ment is ded­i­cat­ed to Felix Pedro, a very patient Ital­ian prospec­tor who dis­cov­ered gold here in July 1902. The gold rush that fol­lowed result­ed in the found­ing of Fair­banks, Alaska’s sec­ond largest City.

Difficulty: Moderate

This is a 16 mile trail that is pop­u­lar with both hik­ers and 4‑wheelers. The trail cross­es through spruce-forest­ed val­leys, alpine tun­dra, and cold moun­tain streams. 

Cleary Sum­mit, 2,233 ft. This is an excel­lent spot to watch the sum­mer sol­stice (June 21). Dur­ing this peri­od, the mid­night” sun nev­er sets. On a clear day, you can also catch a good view of Tanana Val­ley and Denali (Mt. McKin­ley) to the south and the White Moun­tains to the north.

Look across the val­ley for a view of the aban­doned build­ings from an ear­ly dredg­ing oper­a­tion at Cleary Creek.

This is the site of the his­toric Fair­banks Explo­ration Com­pa­ny gold min­ing camp, estab­lished in 1925. Here you’ll find the old school house, which has been con­vert­ed into a muse­um. This area is on the Nation­al Reg­is­ter of His­toric Places.

Look to the left side of the high­way and you’ll see what’s left of Gold Dredge Num­ber 3. This dredge was build in 1927 and even­tu­al­ly pro­duced $10 mil­lion in gold.

The first, pos­si­ble, take out is at mile 39 of the Steese for the upper run and this stretch should be doable in a cou­ple of days.

Look for the giant pipe run­ning through the pic­nic area. This pipe was once part of an 83-mile-long sys­tem of pipes and ditch­es, which trans­port­ed over 3 mil­lion gal­lons of water per hour to pow­er the Fair­banks Explo­ration Com­pa­ny’s gold min­ing operations.

These cab­ins may not be very live­ly dur­ing the sum­mer months, but every Feb­ru­ary they are alive with activ­i­ty. This is one of the check­points for the Yukon Quest Inter­na­tion­al Sled Dog Race, a gru­el­ing 1,000-mile race between Fair­banks, Alas­ka and White­horse, Yukon. At check­points like this one, mush­ers can feed and rest their dogs, restock sup­plies and even get vet­eri­nary care for their team.

Difficulty: Easy Distance: 11 miles

This hike is great for the ear­ly-ris­ing fly fish­er­man. The lake is full of grayling and there are often cari­bou, moose and bears along the trail. The hike fol­lows an old min­ing trail that par­al­lels the Susit­na Riv­er to Snod­grass Lake. There are many active mines along this hike and be sure to keep an eye out for grizzleys. 

Eagle Sum­mit. 3,624 ft. This is the high­est of the three sum­mits on the high­way. Around sum­mer sol­stice this peak basks in 24 hours of sun­light. Take a walk down the quar­ter-mile-long loop trail lead­ing to a view­ing deck.

In the inte­ri­or of Alas­ka, in the sum­mer, the sun hangs low in the sky for long peri­ods of time; and numer­ous small clouds come and go, cre­at­ing a mov­ing dance of light and shadow.

Often a fire will burn to the very high­est tree on a moun­tain, as the sur­round­ing fires did here.

Alas­ka has a fas­ci­nat­ing arche­ol­o­gy. The fos­silized remains of many species of pre-glacial Alaskan mam­mals have been dis­cov­ered here. These fos­sils are on dis­play at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Alas­ka Muse­um in Fair­banks as well as the muse­um in Central.

Built as a cab­in in 1896 by prospec­tor Fritz Miller as a stop over on the sled dog trail between Cir­cle City and Fair­banks. After the Steese High­way was com­plet­ed it func­tioned as a road­house until 1970. It has since burned down, how­ev­er, items from the Miller House can be found at the Muse­um in Central.

Min­ing equip­ment, gold dis­play, arti­facts from the local area, restored and ful­ly out­fit­ted min­er’s cab­in, wild­flower display. 

Cen­tral (pop. 95). This small log cab­in com­mu­ni­ty is the cen­ter of the regions min­ing activ­i­ty and is a pop­u­lar check­point for the Yukon Quest Inter­na­tion­al Sled Dog Race. Stop by the Cen­tral Min­ing Dis­trict Muse­um for infor­ma­tion about this region’s min­ing history.

Get an up-close look at one of the world’s sev­en great engi­neer­ing marvels.

Cir­cle (Pop. 94) Before the Klondike Gold Rush, Cir­cle was the largest gold min­ing town on the Yukon Riv­er. Start­ed in 1893 as a sup­ply point for min­ers at Birch Creek, the town soon grew to be a hub for many dif­fer­ent min­ing oper­a­tions in this area. The town got its name because ear­ly set­tlers thought it was locat­ed on the Arc­tic Cir­cle which is actu­al­ly locat­ed 50 miles north of here.