Chicken was, and still is, the heart of the southern Fortymile Mining District, and many of these works are visible along the highway. Chicken (the story goes: they wanted to name the town "Ptarmigan," but nobody knew how to spell that), the second town in Alaska to be incorporated (Skagway was the first), has only a handful of permanent residents, mostly miners and trappers, creating an authentic frontier atmosphere. Do not encroach on private property, as miners rarely have a sense of humor about trespassing. Overland travel to Dawson City winds along a gravel road. Some drivers love it, some white-knuckle it. The road still closes for the entire winter, but in February and March snowmachiners hold a "poker run" on the road from Tok to Dawson City (www.alaskatrailblazers.com). Chicken only has three businesses in town, but what it lacks in infrastructure, it makes up for in atmosphere.
Get a feel for the past on a gold-mining adventure, where finder's keepers is the name of the game (in 2008 one participant walked away with a 1.4-ounce nugget), or tour the historic Pedro Dredge at 9 am and 1 pm daily at the Chicken Gold Camp & Outpost. The Gold Camp also provides meals, drinks, cabins, a campground–RV park, showers, free Wi-Fi, firewood, and espresso, as well as kayaking and other activities. Bluegrass lovers will appreciate the Chickenstock Music Festival on the second weekend in June.
Chicken is small so you don’t have far to go to find everything you need. Downtown Chicken, the longest-running business in town, has classic wooden porches and provides multiple services: the Chicken Creek Cafe; a saloon; liquor store; emporium with gifts and odds and ends; free Wi-Fi; and overnight parking, rental cabins, and wall tents, along with gas and diesel service. Wild Alaskan baked salmon is available for lunch and dinner.
Chicken Creek RV Park & Cabins offers gas and diesel, hostel rooms, camping sites, and cabins. The owners also run the Goldpanner Gift Shop, which has free Wi-Fi and an ATM, as well as free gold panning and daily tours of Tisha's School House.