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Chicken, Alaska

Chicken, Alaska Visitor Guide

Chicken is a small, historic gold-mining community located in the Southeast Fairbanks Census Area of Alaska near the Yukon-Tanana Upland. With its rich history, quirky charm, and beautiful surroundings, Chicken offers visitors an authentic Alaskan experience. This visitor guide provides essential information on how to get to Chicken, things to do, the area’s history, RV and camping information, and annual festivals and events.

Latitude and Longitude: Chicken is located at approximately 64.0731° N latitude and 141.9367° W longitude.

Getting to Chicken from Anchorage

Chicken is accessible by car from Anchorage but be prepared for a long drive through remote areas. The most direct route is approximately 390 miles (628 kilometers) and takes about 8 hours, depending on road conditions and stops along the way.

Driving Directions

1. From Anchorage, head north on the Glenn Highway (AK-1) toward Palmer.
2. At Glennallen, turn right onto the Richardson Highway (AK-4) and continue northeast.
3. Near Delta Junction, turn left onto the Alaska Highway (AK-2), heading east toward Tok.
4. In Tok, turn right onto the Taylor Highway (AK-5) and continue southeast.
5. Chicken is located at milepost 66.8 on the Taylor Highway.

Please note that the Taylor Highway is a winding, mostly gravel road with few services along the way. The highway is typically open from mid-April to mid-October, but seasonal conditions may vary. Be prepared with a full tank of gas, extra food, water, and emergency supplies.

Things to Do

Chicken offers a variety of activities and attractions that showcase the area’s gold-mining history, natural beauty, and quirky charm. Some popular things to do include:

Gold Panning

Try your luck at gold panning in Chicken. The Pedro Dredge Gold Rush Park and Chicken Gold Camp & Outpost are popular spots for visitors to learn about gold-panning techniques and try their hand at finding gold flakes in the pay dirt. Equipment and instruction are provided.

Pedro Dredge

Visit the Pedro Dredge, a National Historic Site and a well-preserved gold dredge that operated from 1938 to 1967. Guided tours are available during the summer, offering a fascinating look at the history and mechanics of gold dredging.

Historic Chicken

Explore the small community of Chicken, which consists of a few buildings, including the Chicken Creek Saloon, Chicken Creek Outpost, and Chicken Mercantile Emporium. These establishments offer food, drinks, souvenirs, and a glimpse into Chicken’s quirky character.

Hiking and Wildlife Viewing

Chicken’s remote location and pristine wilderness provide excellent opportunities for hiking and wildlife viewing. Look for moose, bear, caribou, and various bird species as you explore the surrounding area. Be prepared with proper gear, including bear spray, and practice Leave No Trace principles.

Detailed History

Chicken was established during the late 1800s as a gold-mining town, with its name originating from the inability of early miners to spell “ptarmigan”—a local grouse species—so they opted for “chicken.” The town’s gold-mining heyday was in the early 1900s, with multiple dredges operating in the area. The Pedro Dredge, now a historic site, is one of the most famous dredges used during this time.

Today, Chicken is a small community with a year-round population of fewer than 50 residents. While gold mining is no longer the primary industry, Chicken’s history, and charm continue to draw visitors from around the world.

RV and Camping Information

Chicken has several RV and camping options available:

Chicken Gold Camp & Outpost

This campground offers RV sites with electric hookups, tent camping sites, and basic cabins. Amenities include restrooms, showers, laundry facilities, a dump station, and potable water. The on-site café and gift shop offer meals and souvenirs.

Chicken Creek RV Park

Located near the Pedro Dredge, this RV park offers basic RV sites without hookups. Amenities include pit toilets and potable water. The nearby Chicken Creek Saloon and Chicken Creek Outpost provide food and beverage options.

Dispersed Camping

Dispersed camping is available on public lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) in the surrounding area. Be sure to follow Leave No Trace principles, practice proper food storage to minimize wildlife encounters, and respect local regulations.

Annual Festivals and Events

Chickenstock Music Festival

Held annually in June, the Chickenstock Music Festival is a weekend-long event featuring live music from local and regional artists. This family-friendly event offers food, beverages, and camping on-site. It’s a great opportunity to enjoy music and camaraderie in a unique Alaskan setting.

Chicken Gold Rush Days

Taking place in July, Chicken Gold Rush Days is an annual event that celebrates the town’s gold-mining heritage. The festivities include gold-panning competitions, a parade, games, and other family-friendly activities. It’s a fun way to experience the town’s history and quirky charm while mingling with locals and other visitors.

Fortymile Wild and Scenic River

Located just south of Chicken, the Fortymile Wild and Scenic River is a beautiful and remote river system that offers opportunities for rafting, canoeing, and kayaking. The area is rich in gold-mining history, and remnants of old mining operations can be seen along the riverbanks. River trips require advanced planning, as the area is remote and access may be limited. Local outfitters offer guided trips and equipment rentals.

Top of the World Highway

Chicken is located near the start of the Top of the World Highway, a scenic and remote road that connects Alaska with the Yukon Territory in Canada. The highway offers stunning views of the surrounding wilderness and is a popular route for travelers heading to or from Dawson City, Yukon. Please note that the Top of the World Highway is a gravel road with few services, and the U.S.-Canada border crossing has limited hours of operation. Be prepared with a full tank of gas, extra food, water, and emergency supplies, and ensure you have a valid passport for crossing the border.

Eagle, Alaska

Eagle is a small, historic community located about 70 miles (113 kilometers) northeast of Chicken along the Taylor Highway. The town is situated on the Yukon River and boasts a well-preserved historic district, with several buildings dating back to the early 1900s. Visitors can explore the Fort Egbert National Historic Site and the Eagle Historical Society Museum to learn about the town’s fascinating history, which includes gold mining and early military presence.

When visiting Chicken, it’s essential to be prepared for the remote nature of the area and the potential for unpredictable Alaskan weather. Carry extra food, water, and warm clothing in case of emergencies, and always let someone know your travel plans. By taking these precautions and respecting the natural environment and local communities, you’ll be able to fully enjoy the unique character, rich history, and beautiful surroundings of Chicken, Alaska.