Featuring: Tok, Chicken, Eagle
Day 1 – Tok
For RVers or those who rent a car while in Alaska, Tok is a crossroads. Sitting just 93 miles from the Canadian border at the junction of the Alaska Highway and the Tok Cutoff (an extension of the Glenn Highway, which leads west all the way to Anchorage some 320 miles later), it is a great place from which to base your highway explorations. To get your bearings, pay a visit to the massive Tok Mainstreet Visitors Center, a 7,000-square-foot lodge said to be Alaska’s largest log structure. The staff will help orient you to the area, give you any relevant information on local road conditions and recommend the best local tours and activities. Tok is known as a dog-mushing town, so you’re likely to be pointed toward a mushing-related tour, but for anglers or bird watchers, the area is also prime territory. The nearby Tetlin National Wildlife Refuge is home to more than 100 species of birds during the summer. Spend the night at one of several local hotels, motels or lodges.
Day 2 – Chicken
From Tok, drive just 12 miles southeast of town on the Alaska Highway to Tetlin Junction, where you’ll join the Taylor Highway for the trip to Chicken. The Taylor Highway is a seasonal road open only during the summer, and is paved for just the first 64 miles. Don’t be daunted! Take your time and enjoy the magnificent, open scenery of the Fortymile Country made famous by Jack London. Chicken is a tiny little town with lots of spunk and backwoods charm that takes pride in its gold mining heritage. Chicken Gold Camp and Outpost offers visitors the opportunity to pan for gold, tour a historic gold dredge and visit an actual working gold mine. Cabins are available for rent and RV parking is available.
Day 2 – Eagle
Eagle is one of Alaska’s oldest towns and when it was originally established, it was assumed Eagle would become the headquarters of the Interior region. However, gold finds in the Fairbanks area diverted the bulk of the population farther north and today there are only a couple hundred steadfast locals living in Eagle year round. However, many historic buildings and interesting relics of the past remain in Eagle, and the active Eagle Historical Society takes loving care of the community’s assets. Take a historic walking tour of town and visit Fort Egbert, established during the Klondike Gold Rush in 1899 as the U.S. Army Headquarters for the District of Alaska. The Yukon River rolls right past town, and nothing matches the serenity of sitting on a bench along the riverbank watching bald eagles (for which the town was named) scoop fish out of the river. Stay a day or two in Eagle and then return back the way you came, or consider making a loop through the Yukon. To get to Dawson City, head south from Eagle toward Chicken and take the turnoff at Jack Wade Junction. From there, it’s just 79 miles to a free car ferry that shuttles passengers across the river to Dawson City. From Dawson City, you can make a loop south to Whitehorse and then back west to Alaska.