Logo bar of the Alaska Public Lands Information Centers which are located in Anchorage, Fairbanks, Tok and Ketchikan
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Frequently Asked Questions at the Tok Alaska Center
Sign at Tok visitor center.

How did Tok get its name?
Tok originated as an Alaska Road Commission camp for the construction of the Alcan and Glenn highways in the 1940's. The name Tok was believed to be derived from Tokyo Camp which was a road construction camp in 1943. The camp was part of improvement projects on the Alaska Highway. During WWII Tokyo Camp was shortened to "Tok". Another story in circulation is that Tok was actually named after a husky pup. The U.S. Army Corp of Engineers were not only building the Alaska Highway but naming points along the way. The young pup, named Tok, was their beloved mascot and it was unanimously decided to name the junction after the puppy.

Trumpeter swan displaced plumage open grassland area.
Trumpeter swan in full plumage dances for dominance of its territory.

Where is the wildlife?
Most visitors who come to view and photograph wildlife do so along the Alaska Highway. There are several pull-offs and campgrounds designed for wildlife viewing. Migrating sandhill cranes and a growing resident population of trumpeter swans are especially popular among bird enthusiasts in our area. Moose can often be seen grazing near the highway where shrubs and plants are plentiful. Both adults and young can appear suddenly from brushy roadside habitat. Animals are most active around sunrise and sunset. Visitors who venture into the backcountry are, or course, likely to have more opportunities to observe wildlife than those who stay on the road system.

Goldrush women with man smoking a pipe with tents in background.
Historic photo from Klondike Gold Rush era

Where can I pan for gold?
It is not easy to determine where on public lands recreational gold mining is possible and permitted. You must always check on the status of the land before beginning your activities. If you are unsure of the status of a particular area, check with the federal Bureau of Land Management. If you want to learn more about gold mining and, perhaps, get a little color in a pan, but you do not have the time and/or interest for the investigation into land status, then you might want to consider taking advantage of a commercial outfit. These businesses have mining claims and will often rent you a pan and give some instruction. More information on commercial enterprises is available from the local Chamber of Commerce in the area.

Canoeing in Interior of Alaska's many stream

Where can I go fishing?
The closest fishing spot near Tok is called Four Mile Lake; it is located 4.5 miles up the Taylor Highway. There is a pull off and a trail that leads 1/2 mile east to the lake which offers Sheefish and Rainbow Trout. Alaska's Interior offers numerous fishing area's that are easily accessible or off the beaten path. Stop by the Tok Center and ask for a copy of the brochure "Fishing In The Upper Tanana Valley".

winter bird watching in tok
Winter bird watching in Tok.

What types of activites are available to do in the Tok area?

Wilderness Camping
Hiking Bird Watching
Overland Excursions
Float Trips
River Boat Trips
Flight Seeing


What is the population of Tok?

The population is approximately 1,400.

stuver trail in winter
Stuver Trail in winter.

If Tok is nicknamed "The coldest inhabited community in North America" then how cold does it get?

During January, which is the coldest month, the average high is -7 degrees Fahrenheit and the average low is -27 degrees Fahrenheit. During the month of July, the warmest month in Tok, the average high is 74 degrees Fahrenheit and the average low is 44 degrees Fahrenheit.

A close up of a magpie standing on a pile of twigs and grass. Magpies have a dark head and chest which a bright band of white on the belly and upper wings with brilliant blue tail feathers. Did You Know?
Magpies are a common site in urban and rural areas of Alaska and can be seen throughout the entire year. Listen for their songs that mimic other local birds.