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Eagle, Alaska

Yukon river from main street in Eagle, Alaska.

Location / Coordinates:  Eagle, Alaska is situated on the southern banks of the Yukon River at the very end of the Taylor Highway (Alaska Route 5). 

Coordinates: Latitude 64.79 & Longitude 141.20.

Population / Elevation: Eagle, Alaska rises 820 feet above sea level, and has about 125 residents.

Description:  A nice little community, Eagle has all the amenities a small town needs, a library, the borough courthouse, schools, post office, a public boat launch, and a trading company. A U.S. Customs Office is also located in Eagle, Alaska to process visitors coming across the Yukon River from Canada.  A tiny grass airstrip is busy with private aircraft and bush pilots. The citizens of Eagle live in tidy little houses with vegetable gardens and dog kennels.

What to do there: Eagle, Alaska is a great place to put into the Yukon River for a float trip down river to Circle, Alaska (the Yukon River flows north). It’s about 150 miles, and takes anywhere from a week to ten days to complete, using a canoe, a kayak, or a raft. The National Park Service visitor’s center in Eagle has information on what gear to take, precautions to head, and up-to-date weather details for this trip.

It’s also quite scenic so bring your camera.  The history of Eagle, Alaska is alive and well in the historic district. The walking tour is a pleasant way to spend an afternoon. Fort Egbert, a National Historic Landmark, had five of its original 26 structures restored by the BLM in the late seventies.

History: Eagle, Alaska got its start as a trading post in 1874 with the Northern Commercial Company. A quiet little community, Eagle burst onto the map with the onslaught of prospectors looking for gold just up the Yukon River in Dawson City.  Every tributary of the Yukon was panned for gold, Eagle ‘s population swelled to over 1700.

At the turn of the century, a federal courthouse was built in Eagle by the famous Judge Wickersham—he used fines collected on gamblers and prostitutes in the rowdy mining town of Eagle, Alaska. The judge’s desk still holds a map of the Eagle country. The map is made of Moose’s blood and paper-mache.

The U.S. Army built an Army post, Fort Egbert, in Eagle in 1900, only to be abandoned eleven years later. Fort Egbert is still in Eagle for the curious.

Being a modern city, Eagle was connected to Valdez by telegraph line.  Roald Amundsen, explorer of the Northwest Passage, announced his successful expedition from Eagle to the world over the Valdez-to-Eagle Telegraph.

The gold played out, and the gold muckers soon left the Eagle area and headed west to Fairbanks and Nome to find their fortunes. Less than 200 people stayed in Eagle. The buildings are still standing in Eagle, many of them being restored.

How to get there:  Driving to Eagle is not for the faint of heart. Most of the rough gravel Taylor Highway is little more than one lane. It twists and turns through some very picturesque scenery on its way to Eagle.  Keep in mind that there are BIG tour busses on this road as well.  They have a flag car ahead of them to warn oncoming traffic that they are coming—and they don’t slow down.  From Tetlin Junction it’s about 160 miles to Eagle (close to four hours drive).  You can drive to Eagle from Chicken or Tok on a day trip.

Remember it’s one way in and the same way out.  This road is only open in the summer season. When it snows, the road closes and those hardy souls that call Eagle home are stranded until the snow melts.

Facilities:  There is lodging and there are places to eat in Eagle—remember where you are, at the end of the road, it’s quite pricey to stay and eat in Eagle.
the Yukon River. The other side of the Yukon River is Canada.

RV info: There are no formal RV parks in Eagle, Alaska.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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