Tok | Interior Alaska

Tok is often referred to as the “Gateway to Alaska,” because it is the first major community in Alaska you come to when heading north. The Alaska Highway also intersects with the Glenn Highway leading to Glennallen, Valdez and Anchorage. The Glenn Highway between Tok and Glennallen is known as the Tok Cut-off.

The area was originally settled by Athabascan Indians and the name “Tok” is thought to be derived from an Athabascan word meaning “water.” The origin of the town name, however, remains somewhat controversial. Some thought it came from the old mining maps from the late 1800s (long before Tok existed), which called the area “Tok/Slana.” While others have said it was named after an construction worker’s dog. However the name was decided, the modern community of Tok began as an Alaska Road Commission
Camp built for the construction and maintenance of the Alaska Highway.

Today the town has a population of approximately 1250. Its economy is based on tourism and for its size, Tok offers more hotel rooms and campsites than any other town in the state. Despite that distinction, it is still recommended you secure reservations at least a day in advance.

Tok is also known as the “Sled Dog Capital of Alaska,” which is apparent from the number of kennels in town. Many locals are involved in dog racing on a recreational and professional level. Everyone from professional mushers to young children take part in sprint dog races, which are very entertaining. The race of Champions began in 1954 and takes place every March. It has become one of the most elite sprint dog races in North America.