Trip to Alaska Reasons: #9 – See The Trans-Alaska Oil Pipeline
You probably know that there’s a big pipeline that delivers black gold from the northern oilfields to the port of Valdez. But it’s something else entirely, to see this engineering marvel up-close. The Trans-Alaska Oil Pipeline was built to withstand the harshest conditions that Alaska’s climate can deliver. It’s made to deliver oil over permafrost, without melting the ground, and to flex and bend when necessary, during temperature changes or an earthquake. There have been major leaks, but in most years it’s been surprisingly clean.
You can get up-close to the pipeline in numerous locations. There’s an interpretive site north of Fairbanks that explains how the Trans-Alaska oil pipeline works. If you drive down the Richardson Highway between Fairbanks and Glennallen, you’ll cross paths with the pipeline and run alongside it for many miles. In Valdez, you can even walk on top of the pipeline, on a trail that’s above a buried portion of the Trans-Alaska oil pipeline.