Eagle Bluff

Staff Report

newsroom@newsminer.com

The 160-mile Taylor highway offers a stunningly scenic drive through some of Alaska’s most historic mining regions.

The highway is open April through October and travels from its starting point at Tetlin Junction on the Alaska Highway to its terminus at historic Eagle. The road frequently climbs above treeline and offers expansive views of Alaska and east to Canada’s Yukon.

The route, which follows old mining trails established as far back as the 1880s, provides access to scenic waysides and campgrounds, the historic Fortymile Mining District and the Top of the World Highway. The Taylor has several steep grades, and services are few and far between, so travelers are advised to fill up their fuel tanks and bring adequate supplies. The highway is closed to vehicle traffic between October and April.

Parts of the highway are narrow and winding with steep drops. The maximum speed on some stretches is 30 mph. Travelers should use caution.

Chicken

The Chicken Gold Camp and Outpost is a one-stop shop where travelers can camp, stock up on supplies, eat a good meal, drink a beer, buy authentic Alaska-made gifts and even get in some recreational mining.

Owners Mike and Lou Busby also own Lost Chicken Hill, which is the oldest continuously mined placer mine in the state. Visitors can take a guided tour of Felix Pedro Dredge No. 4 and view the many historic associated relics.

Feel like being a miner? There’s a few options for trying that out, too.

Chicken’s small wintertime population swells to about 800-1,000 during Chickenstock, a bluegrass and folk music festival that draws fans from as far away as Europe. The annual Chickenstock Music Festival takes place June 14-16, and a ticket buys you a camping spot.

Information about the festival is available at

www.chickenstockmusicfest.com/

The Chicken Creek Outpost houses a cafe, saloon, espresso bar and gift store that offers gasoline and seating for 70. Cabin and room rentals are available, Kayak rentals are also available.

The Chicken Gold Camp and Outpost opens in mid-May and closes in September, weather permitting.

Eagle

Eagle was first incorporated in 1901, making it the first Interior Alaska community to do so. This small community at the end of the unpaved Taylor Highway (closed in the winter) overlooks the vast Yukon River and was an important community during the gold rush. An Army garrison, Fort Egbert, was completed in 1900, but was abandoned about a decade later. Eagle also served as the headquarters for the Third Judicial District and the courthouse and many of Judge James Wickersham’s papers are preserved.

Visitors can take a guided tour of historic Fort Egbert and other buildings and museums in the town. Eagle is also home to the headquarters for Yukon-Charley Rivers National Preserve and is a popular jumping off spot for river trips.

Eagle offers several accommodation options, including the Riverside Hotel, built after a devastating spring flood wiped out the town’s riverfront in 2009. The building also houses the Eagle Trading Co. grocery store and a cafe. For more information, visit www.riversidehoteleaglealaska.com. Gasoline, diesel fuel, propane and a coin-operated laundry facility are located across the street. Hunting licenses and an ATM are also available.

Nearby, the Falcon Inn B&B Lodge, a classic scribed log home, a has a variety of room options and sweeping views of Eagle Bluff, the Yukon and Canada’s Ogilvie Mountains. Visit falconinnlodgelogcabins.com or call 907-547-2254.

For those who prefer to get back to nature, the Bureau of Land Management Eagle Campground has 18 campsites. A fee is required.

BLM also operates the West Fork campground at mile 49 of the Taylor, and the Walter Fork campground at mile 82.