Chicken, Alaska - Population: About a dozen
Location: Chicken is 66 miles north of Tetlin Junction, Alaska Highway milepost 1301.7, on the Taylor Highway,78 miles from Tok. From Dawson City in the Yukon, it is 109 miles via the Top of the World and Taylor Highways to Chicken.
The small community lies in the Fortymile River Basin, the aboriginal home to the Han Kutchin Indians. It is less than a mile from the Mosquito Fork, which is one of several watercraft entries into the Fortymile Wild and Scenic River system. Chicken still services the gold miners of the Fortymile Mining District and provides a number of mining opportunities for visitors. The area is a favorite for moose and caribou hunters. Other summer activities include rafting, canoeing, fishing, ATVing and hiking the local trails. In winter, the closed Taylor and Top of the World Highway provide snow machine access with one of the States favorite Poker Runs from Tok to Dawson and back.
History: The history of Chicken is rich and began with the discovery of gold, on Franklin Gulch, in 1886. Chicken was a hub of activity for the southern portion of the Fortymile Mining District.
Chicken, a well-recognized mining community in the gold rush days of the late 1800s, is rich in history and ideally located to take advantage of the Fortymile geography. Chicken, supposedly so named because early miners could not agree on the spelling of Ptarmigan, a local chicken-like bird, is a National Historic Site and home to two gold dredges from the mining era. The first post office was established in 1903.
The Chicken Creek Hotel was built in 1906 and later served as a school where Anne “Tisha” Purdy taught before writing her highly acclaimed book Tisha. The hotel still stands along with a dozen other buildings of that era, and the Pedro Dredge, which originally mined in the Fairbanks area before its move to Chicken in 1959. The dredge is one of the few dredges in the State open to the public.
In 1939, the F.E. Company began aquiring claims and built a camp on Nora Beach. In 1953, they bought the town site and turned it into a camp for their dredging operation.They moved Dredge #4 (the Pedro Dredge) from Fairbanks to Chicken in 1959 and operated until 1967.
In 1998, after setting idle for 31 years, the million pound dredge was moved in one piece to its present location at the Chicken Gold Camp and Outpost.
Today, Chicken is home to an eclectic collection of miners, trappers, artists, adventurists and travelers from around the globe. Visitors will find several creative shops, an espresso/cappuccino bar, a saloon, gold panning, kayak rentals, several historical tours and more.
Access: Road access via the Taylor Highway from Tetlin Junction and the Top of the World Highway from Dawson City, Yukon. Air charters form Tok or Fairbanks and air tours from Chena Hot Springs. Custom and package tour bus tours. Shuttle service from Fairbanks, Tok and Dawson City.
Accommodations: Two campgrounds, cabins and two cafes.