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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.

Alaska 6 shield.svgAlaska 2 shield.svg

Steese Highway
Alaska Route 6
Alaska Route 2
Route information
Length161 mi (259 km)
ExistedLate 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 endRiver Street in Circle
Highway system
AK-5Alaska 6 shield.svgAK-7



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 descriptionEdit

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 IntersectionsEdit

Fairbanks North StarFox00.0See Alaska Route 2#Major intersections for the junctions along the Alaska Route 2 section
1118  AK-2 north (Elliot Highway) / Old Steese HighwayAlaska Route 2 continues north as the Elliot Highway and south as the remainder of the Steese Highway
Chatanika2845Old Chatanika Highway
UnorganizedCentral128206Circle Hot Springs Road
CircleRoad to Circle City Airport
161259River RoadNorthern terminus of Alaska Route 6 and the Steese Highway
1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi


Route map:

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.