Steese Highway

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Alaska 6 shield.svgAlaska 2 shield.svg

Steese Highway
Alaska Route 6
Alaska Route 2
Route information
Length: 161 mi (259 km)
Existed: Late 1890s – present
Major junctions
South end: AK-2 south (Richardson Highway) / Airport Way in Fairbanks
  Chena Hot Springs Road near Fairbanks
AK-2 north (Elliot Highway) near Fairbanks
Circle Hot Springs Road in Central
North end: River Street in Circle
Highway system
AK-5 Alaska 6 shield.svg AK-7
See also: Alaska Route 2

The Steese Highway (known as the Steese Expressway within Fairbanks) is a highway in the Interior region of the U.S. state of Alaska that extends 161 miles (259 km) from Fairbanks to Circle, a town on the Yukon River about 50 miles (80 km) south of the Arctic Circle.[1] The highway was completed in 1927 and is named for U.S. Army General James G. Steese, a former president of the Alaska Road Commission.[2] It is paved for about the first 81 miles (130 km) and around the town of Central it turns to dirt and gravel. Much of it is narrow and winding.


The highway and surrounding region has a long association with gold mining. It was built to service the Circle Mining District, which was very productive in the 1890s, before the discovery of gold in the Klondike. Both historic sites, such as Felix Pedro's 1902 gold discovery which resulted in the founding of Fairbanks, and the preserved gold camp at Chatanika, and active dredging operations line the road.

Much of the highway passes through rugged unpopulated areas.

Route description[edit]

The Steese Highway is numbered Alaska Route 6 for most of its length, except for the first 11 miles (17 km) from Fairbanks to Fox, which are numbered Alaska Route 2. The highway has been designated as a National Scenic Byway.

Major Intersections[edit]

Borough Location mi km Destinations Notes
Fairbanks North Star Fox 0 0.0 See Alaska Route 2#Major intersections for the junctions along the Alaska Route 2 section
11 18 AK-2 north (Elliot Highway) / Old Steese Highway Alaska Route 2 continues north as the Elliot Highway and south as the remainder of the Steese Highway
Chatanika 28 45 Old Chatanika Highway
Unorganized Central 128 206 Circle Hot Springs Road
Circle Road to Circle City Airport
161 259 River Road Northern terminus of Alaska Route 6 and the Steese Highway
1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi


Route map: Bing / Google

KML is from Wikidata
  1. ^ The Milepost 2009 edition, pages 506-512 ISBN 978-1-892154-26-2
  2. ^ Steese, James Gordon (January 1914). "Transportation Conditions In Alaska". Review of Reviews. XLIX (1): 58–64. Retrieved 2009-08-14.