Skagway is a major stop on the Alaskan Cruise route. It’s famous for its gold rush history and historic railroad road into the mountains. Here are a few things to do in Skagway Alaska.
In downtown Skagway you’ll find souvenir shops as well as a few restaurants and bars. However, looking past these shops reveals gold rush era architecture.
Red Onion Saloon
The most famous bar in Skagway is the Red Onion Saloon. Red Onion Saloon was originally a place for men back in the days of the gold rush. Today, it’s possible to take a tour of the upstairs area and see exactly how it was. More importantly, you can also enjoy a drink and meal whilst being served by girls typical of the gold rush era. Did you read about the similar Dolly’s House Museum in Ketchikan Alaska?
Things to do in Skagway – Totem Poles
You can find original Totem Poles all around this region as far south as Vancouver, Canada. However, the Skagway Totem Poles are the most convenient for viewing as they’re located adjacent to a shop in downtown.
Hire a Car to Explore the Things to do in Skagway
White Pass and Yukon Route
During the Klondike Rush of 1898 a railway line was built. Known as the Yukon Route, this climbs 900 meters in 30 kilometres from Skagway to the White Pass, Yukon. Often referred to as the railway built on gold, today it’s used as a tourist attraction. You can witness amazing views during the ascent. Lastly, seats on the train sell out quickly so I recommend reserving in advance.
The White Pass itself is incredibly stunning on a clear day. However, do you think the guys who took this route during the gold rush took the time to appreciate the views like we do today? It’s the views, the history and construction of this railway that make the Yukon pass the most popular land excursion in Alaska. The full route is over 175 km long, winding around mountains over the Yukon Pass. Finally, this route has been awarded the International Historic Civil Engineering Landmark.
You can take the Yukon Route by car, bus or train. Train is by far the most popular route. But, if you choose the tourist bus or private car you can stop as you please to take photos. One such popular photo stop is the panoramic Pitchfork Falls viewpoint. Lastly, at over 600 meters in height, Pitchfork falls are one of the highest falls in the world. Not quite as spectacular as Iguazu Falls in Brazil but an incredible sight nonetheless.
Welcome to Alaska Sign
When you’re on an Alaskan Cruise you never see a ‘Welcome to Alaska’ sign. If you take the tourist bus to the White Pass you’ll no doubt stop for a photo at this iconic sign. Additionally, look at the stunning view behind it and enjoy your journey.
Welcome to Yukon Sign
Not many people have heard of the Yukon Province in Canada let alone visited there. Don’t miss your chance to take an iconic photo with the ‘Yukon – Larger Than Life’ sign.
Chilkoot Pass Trail and Hiking
The Chilkoot pass is known as the ‘worlds longest museum’ or the ‘meanest 33 miles of history’. It is in fact the hiking equivalent of the railway. Remember, the gold rush started before the railway was built therefore people used to walk this route. To hike the route yourself you’ll need to organize a walking permit, The route starts in Skagway as far as the Canadian border.
Klondike Gold Dredge
Unfortunately, the gold rush brought a lot of ugly scenes to this beautiful landscape. None more ugly than the Klondike Gold Dredge. Klondike Gold Dredge is now a tourist attraction where you can learn how the gold was dredged. More importantly, you can also pan for gold yourself.
View seasonal flowers with a mountain backdrop at Jewell Gardens.
How to Travel from Skagway to Glacier Bay National Park
Cruise Ship from Skagway to Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska
From Skagway I continued my Princess cruise to the Alaska Cruise highlight, Glacier Bay National Park. During this overnight cruise I enjoyed unlimited food as well as lots of great entertainment.