Alaska-Yukon Cruise Tour

Vancouver, BC

Juneau, AK

Skagway, AK

Whitehorse, Yukon

Dawson City, Yukon

Eagle, AK

Chicken, AK

Tok, AK

Fairbanks, AK

Fort Yukon, AK

Denali National Park

Anchorage, AK


Tok, Alaska

Because Tok is the major overland point of entry to Alaska, it is primarily a trade and service center for all types of transportation, especially for summer travelers coming up the Alaska Highway. A stopover here is a good opportunity to meet other travelers and swap experiences. Tok is the only town in Alaska that the highway traveler must pass through twice—once when arriving in the state and again on leaving the state. The governor proclaimed Tok “Mainstreet Alaska” in 1991. Townspeople are proud of this designation and work hard to make visitors happy.

Tok’s central business district is at the junction of the Alaska Highway and Tok Cutoff. From the junction, homes and businesses spread out along both highways on flat terrain dotted with densely timbered stands of black spruce.

Tok has 13 churches, a public library, an elementary school, a 4-year accredited high school and a University of Alaska extension program. Local clubs include the Lions, Disabled American Veterans, Veterans of Foreign Wars and Chamber of Commerce.

Tok has become known as the “Sled Dog Capital of Alaska,” because so many of its residents have been involved in some way with dogs and dog mushing, Alaska’s official state sport. Sled dogs may be any registered breed or crossbreed, since mushers look for conformation, attitude and speed rather than pedigree when putting together a working team.

Tok had its beginnings as a construction camp on the Alcan Highway in 1942. Highway engineer C.G. Polk was sent to Fairbanks in May of 1942 to take charge of Alaskan construction and start work on the road between Tok Junction and Big Delta. Work was also under way on the Gulkana–Slana–Tok Junction road (now the Tok Cutoff on the Glenn Highway to Anchorage). But on June 7, 1942, a Japanese task force invaded Attu and Kiska islands in the Aleutians, and the Alcan took priority over the Slana cutoff.

The naming of Tok

Explanation number one:  From the Internet – which, I think, is the true story for naming Tok.

The name Tok (rhymes with poke) was long believed to be derived from Tokyo Camp, a road construction camp sprung up in 1943 as part of the straightening and improvement projects on the Alcan Highway. During WWII, Tokyo Camp was patriotically shortened to “Tok.” After much research and documentation, according to local author and historian, Donna Blasor-Bernhardt in “Tok, The Real Story” (1996), Tok was actually named after a husky pup on August 15, 1942 when the U.S. Army’s Corp (the 97th engineers—an all black corps) were breaking trail north from Slana on what is now the Tok Cutoff. They were working their way to the point where they would intersect with and begin breaking trail southeast on what would become the Alaska Highway. Their job consisted of not only building the road, but naming points along the way. The young pup, named Tok, was their beloved mascot, and upon their arrival at where Tok now is, it was unanimously decided to name the junction after the pup.

Explanation number two:  From an information sheet we received at the Westmark Inn Tok, where we stayed for one night.

Tok got its name from the initials of a famous Norwegian Gold Prospector who was forced to winter in what is now know as Tok (Tuuk ~ which means thank you in Norwegian).  His name was Thorine Osric Knornson.  He immigrated from Norway in the early 1900’s, and set out to be a Gold Prospector in Alaska.  What is not well know is that Thorine cam from a famous Norwegian Circus Family.  Thorine would hold an annual clown day on August 12, where everyone dressed up as clowns.  The date commemorates the birth date of Thorine, August 12, 1889.  Tok’s namesake passed away on July 4, 1976; but he left behind a proud legacy which is known as Tok, Alaska.

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