Things to Do in Skagway, Alaska

Things to Do in Skagway, Alaska
Skagway, Alaska, is at the north end of Taiya Inlet on Lynn Canal in Southeast Alaska. Skagway is a major gateway to Southeast Alaska; the Alaska Highway connects to the town and also serves the Alaska State Ferry and several cruise ships. Originally established as a supply city during the Klondike Gold Rush in the late 1800s, today tourism is Skagway's main source of economy, offering a number of things to do.

White Pass & Yukon Route Railway

This historic steam engine will take passengers along the route from Skagway, Alaska, to Whitehorse, Yukon Territory. Though now used for tourism, this train was originally built in a mere two years and finished in 1900. At the time, it was the northernmost operating railroad in North America. The route climbs to 2,885 feet over 20 miles through White Pass. The three-hour tours run from May 4 to Sept. 23. From your vintage train car you will see glaciers, mountains and waterfalls, possibly some mountain goats, and you'll go over trestle bridges and through mountain tunnels.

Walk Skagway's Historical District

The false-fronted buildings and boardwalks are styled after the gold-rush days. The Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park downtown features tour guides in period costume roaming the streets as well. You may start to feel transported back through time. To learn more about the gold-rush days, tour the Trail of '98 Museum or view "The Days of 1898 Show with Soapy Smith," a play which narrates the history of Skagway in the days of some of its most notable con men.

Hike the Chilkoot Trail

The 33-mile Chilkoot trail winds up through White Pass and, in addition to some amazing mountain views, you may see original relics left over from the late 1800s. This trail was made by the thousands of gold seekers traveling over the 3,739-foot Chilkoot Pass to Lake Bennett. Men had to carry hundreds of pounds of rations and materials so they could make it through a Canadian winter once passing through into Canada. Some hikers choose to hike the entire length of the trail, while others may hike a section of it. The trail begins on Dyea Road about nine miles north of Skagway. Approximately 3,000 backpackers hike the trail each year.

Article Written By Naomi Judd

Naomi M. Judd is a naturalist, artist and writer. Her work has been published in various literary journals, newspapers and websites. Judd holds a self-designed Bachelor of Arts in adventure writing from Plymouth State University and is earning a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing from the University of Southern Maine.

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