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Things to do in Skagway

Things to do in  Skagway

Welcome to Skagway

The Klondike Gold Rush ended a century ago, but the “Call of the Wild” is still strong in Alaska’s historic frontier town of Skagway. North of Juneau, Skagway entices visitors to discover the Yukon Territory’s mining past and spectacular wilderness of forests, glaciers, mountains, and waterfalls. In the late 1800s, prospectors stopped here on their way to the gold fields further north, but today, this tiny settlement on the Taiya Inlet is a popular cruise-ship stop for Skagway shore excursions. Experience what life was like for those first plucky miners on a city tour of the Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park downtown, with its original clapboard buildings and period wooden boardwalk. Go back in time to a 19th century mining outpost and pan for gold at Liarsville Camp, hike the Chilkoot Trail gold-rush route, and stop at the Gold Rush Cemetery. Don't miss the Skagway Scenic Overlook for snapshot-worthy views of the mountains above and the town below. Skagway has long been the gateway town to the surrounding peaks, so hop aboard the historic White Pass and Yukon Route Railroad, a narrow-gauge line that switchbacks up steep tracks to the White Pass summit as far as Emerald Lake. Take a bus tour along the Klondike Highway towards Canada, or go dog sledding through the countryside. Meet Alaska's wild eagles, beavers, brown bears, moose, and waterbirds up close and personal at the Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve, or chance a sighting by kayaking along the Chilkat River.

Top 10 attractions in Skagway

#1
Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park

Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park

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The Klondike is synonymous with the gold rush days of the late 19th century, when the frontier settlement of Skagway exploded from a population of just two to 20,000 in a mere 10 years.The Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park protects the memory of these days, preserving the trails, towns and buildings of the gold rush era. Skagway was the gateway town to the gold of the Klondike, which lay 550 miles (885km) north, near the junction of the Klondike and Yukon Rivers in Dawson City.The Chilkoot Trail is the most famous of the gold rush routes followed by the miners, originally created by the Tlingit people. The park also preserves the downtown Skagway Historic District and its prized collection of authentic 100-year-old wooden buildings, including the fun Mascot Saloon and historic Moore House and Cabin.Drop into the park’s visitor center to watch the video about the area’s gold rush history and pick up information about the local trails, including the famous Chilkoot Trail.Rangers lead a range of activities, including walking tours and talks through the historic buildings and countryside.Photo by Reywas92 sourced from WikiCommonsMore
#2
Yukon Territory

Yukon Territory

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The name Yukon is evocative as well as descriptive: adventure, the far north, wilderness, moose. In the vast and thinly populated Yukon Territory, where most species far outnumber humans, is a grandeur and beauty only appreciated by experience. Getting here is part of the thrill and even the roads have their own lore.Any visit to the Yukon Territory will mean much time outdoors. Whether it’s treks into Kluane National Park, canoe expeditions down the Yukon River, or Arctic explorations in the north, it will be you and the Yukon. Yes, the summers are short, but like the explosion of wildflowers in July, they are intense, magnified under the near-constant light. Fall comes early but with its own burst of color as leaves turn shocking shades of gold and crimson. In winter, you’ll understand why so many would never leave, as the season is filled with days of utter quiet to contemplate the snowy solitude. Join the offbeat vibe of Dawson City, the bustle of Whitehorse, and the unique character of villages throughout. It’s truly an unforgettable experience.More
#3
Mascot Saloon Museum

Mascot Saloon Museum

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Back in the gold rush days, Skagway was notorious as one of the hardest-drinking towns in the world. The Mascot Saloon Museum is dry as a bone these days, but during the gold rush it was one of more than 70 saloons serving up beer, whiskey and wine, and plenty of it.The restored 1910 saloon is filled with displays and exhibits from the town’s heyday, when pastimes like gambling, drinking and prostitution were its claim to fame.Browse the collection of memorabilia and photos, and imagine standing at the bar celebrating your latest find. Interpretive ranger tours point out the collection’s highlights.For insights into the red-light district, drop into the 1897 Red Onion Saloon which also operated as a brothel. The Red Onion serves meals and drinks, and offers tours of its bordello museum upstairs.Photo by Angela M. BrownMore
#4
Skagway Museum

Skagway Museum

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If you’d like to learn more about Skagway’s gold rush days, step inside the Skagway Museum to browse its fine collection.Artifacts, photographs, memorabilia and archival material bring the past alive, and sleds and gold-mining equipment reveal the harsh realities of life on the goldfields.The museum also has a well-rounded collection of indigenous Alaskan artifacts, including baskets, beadwork and carvings.The museum building itself is also worth noting. Built of granite with a tower and arched windows, it looks a little like a church and once served as a courthouse and jail, as well as a school and marshal’s office.Photo by Wendy Cutler, sourced from Wikimedia CommonsMore
#5
White Pass & Yukon Route Railway

White Pass & Yukon Route Railway

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Inching up steep tracks carved into the sides of mountains, the narrow-gauge White Pass & Yukon Route Railway is a fun, historic way to see spectacular scenery. A number of routes travel through White Pass, a mountain route that links the port town of Skagway, Alaska, with the Yukon Territory capital city of Whitehorse in Canada. Climb aboard this International Historic Civil Engineering Landmark and experience mountains, glaciers, waterfalls, and historic sites from the comfort of a century-old railcar along “the railway built of gold.”More
#6
Liarsville Gold Rush Trail Camp

Liarsville Gold Rush Trail Camp

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Located in Skagway, the Liarsville Gold Rush Trail Campbrings Gold Rush history to the present. The camp offers a number of memorable experiences and is especially great for families wanting an educational yet fun experience. Along with its beautiful surrounding scenery that includes a waterfall and White Pass, the camp is also known for its salmon bakes. Meals at Liarsville are all-you-can-eat and consist of wood-fire grilled Alaskan salmon, chicken, rice, corn bread, pasta beans, salad and cake.Even with the enticing food, the main draw is the gold panning experience. Visitors get to try their hand at the historic activity and can even keep their findings. The camp also has a comedic performance involving sourdoughs and dancehall girls that keeps the audience laughing and is complemented by a reading of the poem, “Bard of the North” by Robert Service, who was known for his Yukon-inspired poetry. Don’t leave without exploring the old trail camp, which adds to the exposure to local history and culture that Liarsville provides.More
#7
Gold Rush Cemetery

Gold Rush Cemetery

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The Gold Rush Cemetery is a fascinating place, allowing a glimpse into the past of the area’s people. The dates listed on the stones date back to 1897, and one of the most famous is that of Jefferson “Soapy” Smith, a notorious con artist and Old West gangster, known for opening businesses where he quietly robbed his customers and for manipulating political campaigns. Visitors will also find the graves of many individuals involved in the Gold Rush, while an informative entrance display provides even more insight into the cemetery and its inhabitants.If you enjoy hiking, continue past Gold Rush Cemetery to Lower Reid Falls, a popular trekking route that’s about two miles (3.2 km) each way. The actual falls are gorgeous, a gushing narrow cascade gliding over rock and mountainside. To better understand the trails—especially if you want to explore more of the area—head to the Skagway Visitor Information Center before visiting the cemetery and pick up a trail map.More
#8
Alaska 360

Alaska 360

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Discover the sights, sounds, and excitement of the Klondike Gold Rush by visiting Alaska 360 Dredge Town. The historic site—home to an authentic gold dredge—invites visitors to experience a day in the 1890s. Period-clad staff educate and entertain while you try out gold panning, meet sled dogs, and enter a chamber where you can experience the chill of Alaskan winters.More
#9
Chilkoot Trail

Chilkoot Trail

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Following the Chilkoot Trail is to take a journey into the past, to the time before the gold-rush era of prospectors when the Tlingit people used the route to trade coastal products for pelts and plants with the people of the interior. The trail is a significant historic site, and has been described as ‘the world’s longest outdoor museum.’The 33-mile (53km) trail is for walkers only, who take three to five days to follow the often difficult route that in gold-rush days was the most direct path from the port at Skagway to the gold fields of the Yukon. The route was shorter than White Pass but more deadly.Prospectors taking the Chilkoot route were advised to carry a ton of gear and rations, enough to ensure self-sufficiency for one year. Alternative transportation systems devised to help carry their infamous ton of gear included aerial tramways, pack animals and Tlingit porters.Hiking the Chilkoot Trail is such a popular recreational activity that permit numbers are limited during the peak season months of June to early September.Photo courtesy of the National Park ServiceMore
#10
Jewell Gardens

Jewell Gardens

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Skagway is known as the Garden City of Alaska, and the Jewell Gardens of Skagway is one reason why.Combining gorgeously landscaped grounds and the Garden City Glassworks, it’s a popular excursion for independent travelers and cruise ship shore visitors alike.Stroll the gardens at your own pace, or take a guided tour of the grounds. Bulbs and tulips thrive in May, and summertime is a riot of color.Glassworks tours reveal the mysteries of the art of glassblowing, and offer visitors the chance to have a go at creating their own glass ornament, under the watchful eye of a professional glass artist.The ‘blow your own’ glassblowing tour and demonstration theater can be combined with a garden tour and organic afternoon tea or gourmet lunch served in the grounds.Photo courtesy of Jewell GardensMore

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Recent reviews from experiences in Skagway

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White Pass Bus Tour
helenF1278YF, Aug 2019
White Pass Deluxe Tour from Skagway
Views of the mountain, rivers, waterfalls, wildlife sightings ( bald eagles) atop electric poles are plenty.
star-5
Such a great excursion!
DJ76528, Jul 2019
Yukon Dog Sledding Adventure in Skagway
This was a great tour and I would highly recommend it to anyone that wants to get a good overview of the Skagway region and a better understanding of dog sledding, and the summer sled ride was a blast!
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The guide was very knowledgeable and...
Arthur D, Sep 2015
White Pass Deluxe Tour from Skagway
It was a very comfortable way to see some of Skagway and I think it was very worthwhile.
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Best part of the trip!!
mlienau987, Jul 2018
Grizzly Falls Ziplining Expedition
It was easy to meet the transport to the zipline, there were easy to see representatives in green just as we exited the ship.
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Bob was our guide. He was...
Donald G, Jun 2015
Skagway Shore Excursion: Chilkoot Trail Hike and Float Tour
I would love to take this hike again in late June or early July to see the changes in this temperate rain forest.
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Great way to see the surrounding...
William M, Jul 2013
Skagway Shore Excursion: Chilkoot Trail Hike and Float Tour
Great way to see the surrounding area of Skagway.
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3 hours to remember
TRAYCOS, May 2019
White Pass Deluxe Tour from Skagway
My husband and I did the 3 hour tour to the White Pass with Joe, the driver/ narrator (story teller) What a fabulous way to see Skagway and the surrounds.
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We were fortunate enough to get...
Charles K, Jun 2016
White Pass Deluxe Tour from Skagway
We stopped at waterfalls, overlooks and the famous Alaska Sign.
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