In June of 2018, we decided it was time to venture out and explore a little further from town. We rented a car from Avis. They were very easy to find and was within walking distance of the ship. I have since learned of other rental companies in Skagway, but this company served us well. Be sure to reserve your car as early as possible…there is a limited supply.
Very soon, we were on the Klondike Highway heading to the Yukon and enjoying the freedom having our own transportation provided. There really isn’t any need to worry about getting lost…there is only one real road in and out of Skagway. Be sure to take your passports with you if you plan to cross into Canada!
We made several stops along the way to enjoy the scenery and to stretch our legs. The driving was very easy, but there was some construction along the way, which slowed us down a little. Keep an eye on the time…you don’t want to miss the “all aboard”!
After crossing into the Yukon, we decided it was time to head back to town and explore a little more on foot. There was a short wait at the border, while they checked cars and trucks in front of us.
I am very glad we choose this little adventure and will probably do it again next time we visit Skagway.
Skagway is a small, compact city in southeast Alaska and is very walkable. It is set along the popular cruise route of the Inside Passage and is home to many gold-rush-era buildings, which are now preserved as part of the Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park.
Prior to 1896, Skagway was a Tlingit hunting and fishing area. In 1896, gold was discovered on a tributary of the Klondike River, about 600 miles from Skagway. After the Klondike gold rush began, the population of Skagway booms to between 8,000 and 10,000. Many of the original buildings still exist, along with a raised wooden walkway. On June 28, 1900, Skagway became the first incorporated city of Alaska, beating Juneau by ONE day!
There are a lot of activities to choose from in Skagway, but several of my favorites are the White Pass train, horseback riding, hiking and just wandering the town.
Probably the #1 thing to do in Skagway is to take the White Pass train. The White Pass and Yukon Route opened on August 1, 1900 and is a narrow gauge railroad linking the port of Skagway, Alaska, with Whitehorse, the capital of Yukon. It is an isolated system and has no direct connection to any other railroad.
A visit to Skagway is not complete without a stop at the historic Red Onion Saloon. You can easily find the building on the corner of 2nd & Broadway and is always a favorite with both visitors and locals. The saloon was built in 1897 during the height of the Gold Rush, and operated as one of the finest Bordellos in town. Even though the times have changed, the spirit has not. A visit to Red Onion Saloon is the perfect Skagway Excursion to compliment your Alaskan cruise.
Another popular activity in Skagway is hiking There are numerous trails both long and short. The Chilkoot Trail, “the world’s longest outdoor museum” is the beginning of the route to the Yukon Goldfields. It provides a thrilling 33 miles of spectacular hiking from tidewater at Dyea to Bennett Lake in Canada (17 trail miles in US; 16 miles in Canada). This is by far the most challenging endeavor you can partake in, but also the most rewarding. If you are considering this adventure , visit the Trail Center on Broadway, between 5th and 6th Avenues, which is open from May to September.
I have been horse backing riding in many locations across the USA and Skagway was probably the most beautiful. The horses are well cared for and the trails took us through the forests and open meadows just outside of Skagway. Contact https://www.alaskaexcursions.com/horseback-adventures/ for more information.
Skagway is an excellent port to experience dog sledding and glacier flight seeing.
Here you can combine a helicopter flightseeing tour with Alaska’s favorite sport – dogsledding. Whether it’s the thrill of driving a sled, playing with puppies, flying through breath-taking scenery or getting to be a part of the largest sub-arctic dogsled camp operation in the world, this is the place to do it!
Depending on which pier you’re coming from in Skagway, a 5~30 minute walk brings you to the heliport, where, following a safety video, you will be outfitted with glacier boots that go over your footwear and loaded onto the helicopter. You will soar over stunning glaciers and snowfields and then land at the Skagway dog sledding camp situated on the Denver Glacier.
To learn more about the history of Skagway, just a short walk from your cruise ship, you’ll find the Klondike Gold Rush visitor center and museum. You can watch presentations from rangers and explore exhibits that help you retrace the history and experience of the Gold Rush. If museums are your thing, you can also visit a historic home and a parlor museum in town.
Whatever you decide to do in Skagway, I guarantee you will have a great time. Be sure to bring comfortable shoes and rain gear though!
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