Paved and well-maintained (with some rough patches in winter), this 125 mile drive is a great way of seeing Alaska’s backcountry. While it is a beautiful drive year-round, locals have said their favorite time to take the Tok Cutoff is the fall and the spring, not only for the changes in flora, but for the start of migrating caribou!
(Be sure to respect the caribou and other wildlife, and give them plenty of space, and also be aware that caribou might try to cross the road in spring and fall!)
Take in the sweep of the Copper River as it unfolds through the valley bottom, and imagine its changes throughout the seasons from high summer flows to freeze up in the fall. Over winter it is an iced-over travel route for winter mushers and wildlife, and during spring break up the ice pans rumble their way down stream as the sun returns to the Copper Basin.
If you see a salmon here in the river, it swam nearly 300 miles to lay its eggs in a headwaters, freshwater tributary of the Copper River. Alaska’s greatest renewable resource needs respect and care for its spawning streams to continue reproducing and providing high quality food for subsistence, personal use, and commercial harvesters.