Step back to the days of the last great gold rush. At the height of the Klondike Gold Rush, the port town of Skagway served as the primary gateway to the legendary gold fields, and quickly grew into Alaska’s largest settlement. It was then a raucous frontier hub packed with trading posts, saloons and guesthouses.
Home to many gold rush era structures and buildings that are now preserved as part of the Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park, the small town of Skagway, Alaska, is located in the southeast region of the state – right next to the Inside Passage you’ll sail through on an Alaska cruise. The White Pass and Yukon Route Railroad runs through the mountains north toward Canada, and you’ll likely see vintage locomotives chugging along the steep Chilkoot trail next to town
Famous for its mining past and as a favorite stop for today’s tourists, Skagway is also part of the setting for the books The Call of the Wild by Jack London, Jason’s Gold by Will Hobbs, and Guardian by Joe Haldeman. Additionally, the John Wayne film “North to Alaska” was filmed close by.
Whether you prefer an organized excursion into town or out in nature, or you’d rather explore on your own, there is plenty to see and do on a cruise to Skagway. While you may encounter a warm day here and there, summers in Skagway are typically cool, while winters are long and very cold. The temperatures in the area typically range from 18 to 61 degrees Fahrenheit throughout the year. The best time for tourists to take a Skagway cruise, according to the town’s tourism score, is from early July to early August, as this is when the temperatures are the mildest.
Take an unforgettable round trip journey aboard the White Pass & Yukon Route Railroad. Against all odds, this iron trail was built through some of the North’s most ruggedly beautiful terrain and more than 120 years later is still in operation.
Ride in a comfortable, restored or replica vintage rail car to the summit of the White Pass, through two tunnels, over sky-high trestles, and remote valleys.
Come to the Klondike Gold Fields where photographs, artifacts and interpretive displays bring the past to life and immerse you in the wild history of the Klondike Gold Rush.
A Visit to Skagway is not complete without a stop at the historic Red Onion Saloon. Located on the corner of 2nd & Broadway, it is a favorite with visitors and locals alike. Built in 1897 during the height of the Gold Rush, the Red Onion Saloon operated as one of the finest Bordellos in town, and while the times have changed, the spirit has not. Come see what Skagway’s favorite Saloon, restaurant & brothel museum has to offer!
Combine your helicopter flightseeing tour with Alaska’s favorite sport, dog sledding. Soar over stunning glaciers and snow fields before landing at the Dog Camp on a glacier.
Join one of the most breathtaking hikes you will ever experience. Travel on the White Pass train and disembark with your group at the trail head. Follow the trail up to Laughton Glacier through river rock beds and wildlife.
You’ll find equally diverse and fascinating history and culture at both the Skagway Town Museum and the Sculpture Garden right next door. At the museum, learn about the history of Skagway during the gold rush era, with particular emphasis on the town’s local con man Soapy Smith. Next door, stroll through the Sculpture Garden to see nearly 50 different sculptures created by the town’s local and regional artists.
Skagway is full of rich (pun intended) history and color. With something for everyone, I can’t imagine going back to Alaska and missing this lovely town.
Sail with us on our Alaska Group Cruise in 2023 to see Skagway and so much more that Alaska has to offer!
I am a lucky lady to have the honor to work side by side with Lisa Collins. Ocean Cruise phenom and lover of all things Ocean Cruising. Together we are the Lisas.
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