How to Spend 1 Day in Skagway
Located on the Alaskan Panhandle, the small city of Skagway is best known for being the gateway to the Yukon Territory during the Klondike Gold Rush in the 1890’s. With only one day to visit, you’ll have time to see historic downtown Skagway and enjoy an outdoor adventure. Here are a few ways to spend a day in Skagway.
Morning: Dive Into Gold Rush History
Start your day in downtown Skagway’s National Historic District, which boasts six blocks of restored gold rush era buildings and a variety of museums. Highlights include the Mascot Saloon, a monument to Skagway’s rambunctious past; Jefferson Smith’s Parlor, a museum dedicated to Skagway’s infamous con man; the Skagway Museum, which focuses on the Klondike Gold Rush; and the Moore Cabin, the town’s oldest structure. Join a free, ranger-led walking tour of this historic area, or pick up an audio guide made by Skagway local Buckwheat Donahue that includes stories and legends from the town’s gold rush days.
Afternoon: Head to the Mountains
Spend the afternoon traveling to White Pass Summit, located on the border of Alaska and British Columbia, Canada. White Pass was one of the two routes that led prospectors into the Yukon during the 1890s Klondike Gold Rush, and it offers views of the Coast Mountains and the Skagway River Valley. You can visit the pass as part of a tour of gold rush–era attractions on a narrow-gauge railroad from Skagway or take a combination train and bicycle tour of the area. Alternatively, if you’re feeling adventurous, spend the afternoon on a dog-sledding adventure, a river float, or a zip-lining tour.
Evening: Red Lights and Northern Light
Nighttime activities in Skagway vary depending on the season: In the summer, Skagway enjoys up to 18 hours of sunlight every day, so you can hike, kayak, and enjoy other outdoor activities well into the evening. For a taste of history, head to the Red Onion Saloon, Skagway’s infamous former brothel for dinner and drinks, or enjoy a little gold panning and an all-you-can-eat Alaskan feast at the Liarsville Gold Rush Trail Camp. During the winter months, you might also be able to catch the Northern lights from town or from White Pass Summit.