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Steese Highway/USA

Introducing Steese Highway

The superscenic but severely lonely Steese Hwy follows an old miners' trail 162 miles from Fairbanks to the Athabascan village of Circle, on the Yukon River. This hilly and winding road is paved for the first 53 miles, and then has a good gravel base to the mining settlement of Central. In the final 30 miles it narrows and becomes considerably rougher and more twisty. While an interesting drive, the route's main attraction - Circle Hot Springs - was closed at the time of research. If it doesn't reopen, this trip may not be worth the trouble; inquire at the Log Cabin Visitor Information Center in Fairbanks.

The Steese Hwy starts at the junction of Airport Way and the Richardson Hwy. From there it passes the beginning of Chena Hot Springs Rd at Mile 4.6, and then the Elliott Hwy at Mile 11, near Fox. The center of Fairbanks Mining District, Fox has a few worthwhile watering holes, eateries and attractions.

Howling Dog Saloon (Mile 11 Old Steese Hwy) This saloon serves ales and lagers from the Silver Gulch Brewery (across the road), and hosts local and out-of-town bands.

Turtle Club (457-3883; Mile 10 Old Steese Hwy; dinner $18-30; 6-10pm Mon-Sat, 5-9pm Sun) This place has a roadhouse atmosphere and is reputed for its prime rib.