Built at the turn of the century, historical records state that the original town called Slate Creek, changed its name to Coldfoot in the summer of 1900 when one of many waves of green stampeders got as far up the Koyukuk. These gold-seekers got “coldfeet,” turned around, and ran.
Location / Coordinates: Coldfoot, Alaska, 58 miles, give or take a few miles, north of the Arctic Circle on the east bank of the Middle Fork Koyukuk River at the mouth of Slate Creek which drains to the east. It is at Milepost 175 on the Dalton Highway. It is part of an unorganized borough, and the Fairbanks Recording District.
Coordinates: Latitude N64.84 & Longitude W147.72
Population / Elevation: Coldfoot, Alaska has about a dozen people that live there year round. It is about 1062 feet above sea level.
Description: Coldfoot, Alaska is now a highway stop on what used to be called the North Slope Haul Road, now the Dalton Highway. Coldfoot is classified as an isolated village, but it is a little more than just a wide spot in the road. It’s the last place, if you’re headed north, and the first place if you’re headed south to buy alcohol. There are a couple of places to stay, a place to eat and a gas station. There is an RV park with a dump station. Coldfoot as a state-owned 4,000 foot long gravel runway.
What to do there: Coldfoot, Alaska is one of those places to check-off on your list of “I’ve been there.” Bring your camera—there are caribou, the Brooks Range, and beautiful scenery everywhere you look. The Arctic Interagencey Visitor’s Center offers travel information, natural history exhibits, a bookstore, evening slide presentations, hunting and fishing licenses and regulations, bear-proof container loans, and most importantly, clean restrooms. It is open during the summer season.
Coldfoot, Alaska is the staging area for flights into Gates of the Arctic National Park. Flight-seeing out of Coldfoot is also available to view the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Float trips down the Koyukuk River are available as well as fishing for Arctic Circle Grayling out of Coldfoot.
History: Founded as a gold mining camp in the late 1890s, Coldfoot, Alaska was originally named Slate Creek. Coldfoot, Alaska was a booming place at that time with a gambling hall, two roadhouses, half a dozen saloons, a post office (it resumed operation in 1986) and a brothel. The gold played out and Coldfoot, Alaska was all but abandoned by 1912.
In the 1970s, the construction of the trans-Alaska pipline resurrected Coldfoot, Alaska, this time as a construction camp. In the 80s it became a truckstop, “The Farthest North Truck Stop in the World.”
How to get there: Leaving Fairbanks, drive north to Fox and the Elliot Highway, it connects with the Dalton Highway. From Fairbanks it’s about 260 miles.
Facilities: Coldfoot, Alaska does have a motel, a restaurant, gas station with limited services, and the only phones are payphones at the motel—they take credit cards. There is a general store, Laundromat, tire repair and minor auto repair.
RV info: There is an RV park with a dump station in Coldfoot, Alaska.