Welcome to Tok, Main-street Alaska
Congratulations, you've dreamed and schemed, you've saved and planned, you launched your adventure and now here you are! It is an honor to welcome you to the Great Land here on Main-street, Alaska. That's right, Tok is the first community on the only year round highway into Alaska. Most of us here remember how excited we were when we first arrived in Alaska. The only difference is we decided to stay and make Tok our home. So before you rush off too fast to points far beyond, let us share a few reasons why we live here and why you just might want to spend a few days in our frontier community during your Alaska adventure.
First Tok has a rich history, and unlike many other Alaska communities that have moved away from frontier life, Tok remains connected to important and fascinating histories of the past as well as thriving life connected to wilderness.
From Tok, trips to historic mining communities, excursions into the real wilds, fishing, and just exploring are all possible. After you make sure you have your binoculars and spotting scope along with your camera, and the right gear, its time to experience the real Alaska. Four different directions yield four Alaska experiences each with their own geology, weather, and scenic vistas just minutes from Tok.>
Just North: World famous Forty Mile Country
Countless miles of undulating hills and mountains form some of the richest Gold mining country in Alaska's history. Active claims, miles of trails and the magnificent forty mile caribou herd of 50,000 animals are features of this region just south of the Klondike country of Jack London's and Robert Service's fame. The Top of the World Highway puts you through the heart of the Forty Mile and gives travelers a trip back in time through some of the oldest geologic patterns in Alaska. See a real mining dredge and pan for gold. Watch for moose, caribou, grizzlies, wolf and black bear. Historic Dawson awaits you along the banks of the Yukon if venture a bit north of Tok and Chicken.
Just South: Mentasta Mountains, bridge to the mighty Wrangells
Between two of the largest and most breathtaking mountain ranges in the world, the Wrangells and the Alaska Range, the Mentasta Mountains offer travelers very special wilderness opportunities. This mountain range is unique and beautiful with both time worn rounded peaks as well as younger sky piercing crags as well.
Observers can actually see the transition of geology and topography from the Alaska Range on the north side of the Tok Cut-off (Glenn Highway) to the older rounder slopes of the Mentasta range on the south. As visitors exit the Mentasta's they will witness the high rising mighty Wrangells farther to the south as the transition in shape and size geology again changes dramatically. Alaska's Dall sheep, black and grizzly bear, moose and wolves wander as they have since time began. Unlike Park altered wildlife conditioned to large volumes of people, the wildlife in the Tok area is truly wild and remain in their natural environmental patterns. Ducks, swans, eagles, lynx, fox, coyotes, wolves and all the larger wildlife may have never encountered a human here. With a little patience and advice from the locals, your wilderness experiences in the Tok area will be not only less disturbed by throngs of other visitors, but as real as they can be in our Alaska.
Just West: The mighty Alaska Range home of the Great One (Denali)
Only in Tok can the foothills at the beginning of the mighty Alaska Range be seen and experienced. One of the most spectacular mountain ranges in all the world begins just 7 miles south of Tok as a gently rising ridge moving out to the west. Within a few short miles visitors will see peaks over 6,000 feet moving to 10,000 and beyond arching ever westward for over 600 miles through the middle of our state. Here again, truly wild animals wander and forage undisturbed by park roads and throngs of visitors in their natural and fascinating patterns.
Just north of the Alaska Range runs the wild and twisting Tanana River. Along it banks unmarred by human activity lies the rich and ancient Athabascan culture. The waters flowing west in this great tributary of the Yukon begin their journey high in the Wrangells where early explorers Glenn and Allen (origin of the community name Glennallen) crossed the great watershed divide on a two-year epic exploration of Alaska in the 1800's.
Just East: Unbroken wilderness in the Ladue and Upper Tanana Valleys
Thousands of lakes, thousands of miles of unbroken braided rivers and meandering streams cover the great basin south of the Alaska Highway east of Tok. Nowhere in Alaska are there richer and more varied environments for undisturbed wildlife. Waterfowl nest in abundance. Beaver, muskrat, mink, and otter flourish. Moose, wolves, grizzly and black bear all make their natural homes here. Breathtaking vistas invite binoculars and spotting scopes to see the wilds in an unaltered state. The Tetlin Wildlife Refuge offers an endless supply of opportunities for travelers to experience a varied and abundant pattern of true wildlife behavior. To the north of the Alaska highway lies the vast expanse of Forty Mile country known as the Ladue. Famed for its wildlife and maze-like drainages it offers an age-old experience to the hiker on many miles of trails. To the South the eastern edge of the Wrangell mountains meet the Canadian border along the historic and wild White River. It is from this alpine rift that Mount Sanford, Wrangle, Drum, Blackburn Lucania and Logan rise from 10,000 feet to nearly 20,000 (second only to Denali in size). No other opportunities to see the northeast side of this stunning mountain range exist at highway locations.
Tok is a true wilderness community
One of the truly exciting aspects of Tok is the ability to travel just a short distance in any direction and experience such a variety of the truly wild Alaska environment. Away from the heavily promoted and over utilized travel destinations, Tok visitors can have the type of experience the locals have and better understand why we choose live in the coldest inhabited place on the North American continent.
Most of Alaska and often the wildest part of it lie just beyond the highways. To gain access there are trails to hike or take an excursion on, flight seeing, or river floating. Cross-country travel both off and on these trails is not advisable unless accompanied by a seasoned guide who knows the country and the natural challenges in it. Flight seeing is also available with well-trained pilots who know how to safely show you surrounding country and wild life. There are hundreds of miles of trails in the Tok area into virtually every kind of wild environment from river bars and bottoms to mountain ridges and ranges. Since there are several weather patterns in our area, one can usually find an agreeable condition to explore in. Along the highways in every direction are numerous pull-offs to view the countryside and spot wild life. Fishing for arctic grayling, rainbow and northern pike is all available from Tok. There are many wild flowers and wild berries along the trails and highways to enjoy.The number one reason to spend time in Tok? The people...
There's an old saying here and even a song based on it. "If you can't take a joke, don't move to Tok". Being a true frontier community in what can be a cold and challenging winter environment, having a good attitude and sense of humor is almost a necessity. In our little wilderness hamlet, you'll find a "can do" thriving optimism in abundant supply. Material wealth and catered living has little to do with the happiness found here. Living a rigorous but honest lifestyle in the Last Frontier is what Tok is all about. We hope while you're here you'll enjoy a big slice of our frontier frame of mind topped off with a liberal dose of Alaskan wilderness hospitality.