Loggers, miners, old sourdoughs (Alaskan for "colorful local curmudgeons"), and hunting guides who live and work along Tok's streams or in the millions of acres of spruce forest nearby come here for supplies, at the junction of the Glenn Highway and the Alaska Highway. Each summer the city, with a resident population of fewer than 1,500, becomes temporary home to thousands of travelers, including adventurers journeying up the Alaska Highway from the Lower 48.
After crossing into Alaska from the Yukon Territory on the Alaska Highway, the first vestiges of what passes for civilization in the Far North are found in the town of Tok. Here you'll find a visitor center (one of the biggest in Alaska, since it serves as a center for roads branching across the state), food, fuel, hotels, and a couple of restaurants, and the need to make a decision.
Staying on the Alaska Highway and heading roughly west will take you into the Interior and to Fairbanks, whereas heading south on the Tok Cutoff will aim you toward South Central Alaska and the population center of Anchorage. Or you can make a huge loop tour, covering most of the paved highway in the state, taking in much of the terrific variety of landscapes and terrain that the 49th state has to offer. Head down the Tok Cutoff to the Richardson Highway (no one in Alaska uses the highway route numbers, and if you try to, you'll most likely just get blank stares), and then keep going south to Valdez. From there, catch the ferry to Whittier, Cordova, or Seward, explore the Kenai and Anchorage, then head north on the Seward Highway to the parks, to Denali, Fairbanks, and beyond. Loop back to Tok and you've seen most of what can be seen from the road system.
Tok at a Glance
80° BY THE SEA
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