About Tok, Alaska
Tok is located at the junction of the Alaska Highway and the Tok Cutoff to the
Glenn Highway, 200 miles southeast of Â Fairbanks. It is called the "Gateway to Alaska", as it is the first major community upon entering Alaska, 93 miles from the Canadian border.
The area encompasses 133 sq. miles of land.
The name Tok is believed to be derived from Tokyo Camp, but there are other versions of how Tok got its name. Tok began in 1942 as an Alaska Road Commission camp. So much money was spent in the camp's construction and maintenance that it earned the name, "Million Dollar Camp" by those working on the highway. In 1944 a branch of the Northern Commercial Company was opened, and in 1946 Tok was established as a presidential town site. With the completion of the Alaska Highway, a post office and a road house were built. In 1947 the first school was opened, and in 1958 a larger school was built to accommodate the many newcomers. The U.S. Customs Office was located in Tok between 1947 and 1971, when it was moved to the border. Between 1954 and 1979, a U.S. Army fuel pipeline operated from Haines to Fairbanks, with a pump station in Tok. The pump station's facilities were purchased as area headquarters for the Bureau of Land Management. The U.S. Coast Guard constructed a LORAN-C station (Long Range Aids to Navigation) in 1976. In July of 1990, Tok faced extinction when a lightning-caused forest fire jumped two rivers and the Alaska Highway, putting both residents and buildings in peril. The town was evacuated and even the efforts of over a thousand firefighters could not stop the fire. At the last minute a "miracle wind" (so labeled Tok's residents) came up, diverting the fire just short of the first building. The fire continued to burn the remainder of the summer, eventually burning more than 100,000 acres. Evidence of the burn can be seen on both sides of the highway just east of Tok.
- Things to Do
6 Hotels w/ 290 rooms, 6 Bed & Breakfasts,7 RV parks w/ 400 spaces, 1 Laundromat,
3 State campgrounds, 5 Restaurants,3 Lounges, 2 Liquor stores, 1 Grocery store, 2 Quick stops, 8 Gift shops, 4 Gas stations, 4 Auto.teller machines, 1 Beauty shop / barber, 6 Churches, 2 Building supply stores, 4 Notaries, Auto parts store, Jeweler, Sporting goods store, Bank, Post office, United parcel service, 2 Chainsaw repair shops, Welding shops, Bulk fuel & propane, Therapeutic massage, Eyeglass repair
2 Greenhouses, 2 Video rental stores, German, Spanish translators, Tax services, Well Drilling, Air service(commuter & flightseeing), Snowmobile sales & repairs, Freight services, 2 Saw mills, Dept. Of Fish & Game, Dept of Motor Vehicles , Dept. Of Transportation, Tetlin Wildlife Refuge headquarters, Head Start program, School K-12, Ballpark, Ski trails, Bike paths, Mechanic Shops, Airplane inspection services
Biologists estimate that the 40-Mile Caribou Herd, north of Tok, numbered 33,110 animals in the year 1999, and the 40-Mile Herd is growing. Nelchina Caribou Herd is now estimated at around 30,000 animals and winter in Tok.
Tetlin Wildlife Refuge is over 730,000 acres. It holds more than 186 species of birds.
- Enjoy nature trails and paved bike paths.
- Visit Mainstreet Visitors Center.
- Visit Tetlin Wildlife Refuge Headquarters and Alaska Public Lands InformationCenter. (9 miles from Canadian Border)
- Visit mini-museums on Alaska pioneer life, gold mining and Alaska wildlife.
- Enjoy Flightseeing.
- Fish in our nearby streams and lakes.
- Take a boat rides on the scenic Tanana River.
- Take a day trip up the Taylor Highway (an Alaska Scenic Byway) to historic Chicken. Talk to real miners. Dredge tours are available.
- Enjoy a great 4th of July with us: Parade, flag ceremony, picnic, craft fair, games, volleyball, 3-legged race, greased pole, outhouse race, baking and photo contests, live music and tug of war.
TOK’S summer temperatures average 60-70ºF.ring a light jacket, good walking shoes.
TOK’S winter temperatures average -30/-70ºF.
Tips from Mooseberry B&B in Tok.
MOST businesses in Tok are open year-round. Reservations from May-Sept. Are recommended.
All major roads are maintained year-round.
TAYLOR/TOP OF THE WORLD HWYS. Are good gravel roads, travelled at moderate speed.
Please allow extra time on all roads due to added seasonal traffic and construction.
U.S. CURRENCY, traveller checks and credit cards are accepted at most Alaskan businesses.
LIMITED bus service to Fairbanks, Anchorage, Whitehorse and Haines.
Alaska Time is 1 hour earlier than Yukon time.
The Alaska Highway border crossing is open 24 hours a day year-round. The Top-of-the-World border crossing is only open 12 hours a day from mid-May to mid-September.