Taylor Highway is a route through gold mining history. Gold was discovered here as early as 1881, and discoveries in 1887 and 1888 lead to interior Alaska's first gold rush. Mining settlements like Jack Wade, Chicken, and Franklin were established practically overnight. Walking trails were quikly forged by men traveling between nearby Eagle and the new mining settlements. These paths eventually became wagon roads, and then Taylor Highway in 1951. Most of the original cabins and buildings along the highway are gone, however there are still several active mine dots proving that the dream of gold is still alive in Alaska.
Taylor Highway Today
Long roads through rugged and remote regions of the state often wash out or get buried in landslides. This highway was hit by both in 2010, causing the road to be closed for most of the summer.
This was the first convoy allowed through after months of repairs. Even so, the village of Eagle wasn't accessible by road again until weeks later.
Wildfires in 2004 and 2005 destroyed a majority of the spruce forest along this old road. Driving through, you will notice the thick, lush cottongrass and blue berry bushes growing in with help from all the nutrients form the burned forest. In some areas, birch trees are even beginning to replace the destoryed spruce trees.
Taylor Highway is open seasonally from April to mid-October. Conditions of the road can range anywhere between good to poor and depend heavily on weather and maintance. Keep in mind that there are very limited services or facilities availble along the road past Eagle.