The small border town of Chicken, Alaska welcomes visitors travelling along the Top of the World Highway and the Taylor Highway. This small town with a funny name of Chicken has a lot of charm and well worth a stop on your drive through eastern Alaska.
How did a town end up with a name like Chicken? Well in the late 1800’s early miners travelled to the area in search of Gold and food became scare but near the area of South Fork of the 40-Mile River was abundant in Ptarmigan. The Ptarmigan, now the state bird, resembles a chicken and was the primary source of food for the miners. In 1902, the town was to be incorporated and the name Ptarmigan was suggested but no one would agree on how to spell it so they decided on Chicken. Make sure to stop by the Chicken Gold Camp and visit the large chicken on the hill. While at the Gold Camp make sure to try your hand at panning for gold – we found over 55 specs of gold! For $10 you can rent a pan for 4 hours and give it a shot. The campground brings over pay dirt directly from their active mine.
Right next to the wash plants where you can pan for gold is the Pedro Dredge that offers guided tours daily during the summer season. There are a variety of relics from the gold rush era scattered around the dredge including dredge buckets, tractors, cabins, and some great hiking trails that you should plan to spend some time exploring while in Chicken.
Looking to stay the night? We stopped in at the Chicken Creek RV Park also known as Chicken Gold Camp & Outpost that offers pull-through sites with 24 hour power, tent sites, hotel rooms or cabins. At the RV Park you will find the Goldpanner Gift shop willed with lots of necessities as well as fun chicken themed items. At the Outpost is where you will find some original, homemade breakfasts, lunches and dinners which we highly suggest you try! Their homemade food is incredible even their cookies which will just melt in your mouth.
Chicken is the perfect place to spend a day exploring the beautiful town with so much charm but be careful if you blink you might miss is as you travel along the dirt highway.
Here is our Photo Guide to Visiting Chicken, Alaska!