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Discovering Skagway: A Guide to the Best Activities and Attractions

Photo things to do in skagway

Skagway, located in southeastern Alaska, is a small town with a rich history and vibrant culture. The town was founded in 1897 during the Klondike Gold Rush, when thousands of prospectors flocked to the area in search of fortune. Skagway quickly became a bustling hub of activity, with saloons, brothels, and businesses catering to the needs of the gold seekers.

The cultural significance of Skagway lies in its role as a gateway to the Klondike Gold Rush. The town’s historic buildings and streets have been preserved, allowing visitors to step back in time and experience the excitement and challenges faced by those who came before them. Skagway is also home to a diverse community of artists, musicians, and performers who celebrate the town’s history and culture through their work.

Key Takeaways

  • Skagway is a historic town with a rich gold rush legacy and unique culture.
  • Outdoor enthusiasts can enjoy hiking, biking, and other adventures in Skagway’s stunning natural surroundings.
  • Museums and historic sites offer a glimpse into Skagway’s fascinating past.
  • Scenic drives and tours allow visitors to discover the beauty of Skagway’s landscape.
  • Wildlife watching opportunities abound in Skagway, with eagles, bears, and other animals to be spotted.

Outdoor Adventures in Skagway: Hiking, Biking, and More

Skagway offers a wide range of outdoor activities for adventure enthusiasts. Hiking is a popular activity in the area, with several trails that offer stunning views of the surrounding mountains and glaciers. The Chilkoot Trail is one of the most famous hiking trails in Skagway, following the historic route taken by gold rush prospectors. The trail is challenging but rewarding, with breathtaking scenery along the way.

For those who prefer biking, Skagway has several options available. The White Pass Summit Trail is a popular biking route that takes riders through scenic landscapes and offers panoramic views of the surrounding mountains. There are also guided bike tours available for those who want to explore the area with a knowledgeable guide.

Exploring Skagway’s Gold Rush Legacy: Museums and Historic Sites

Skagway’s gold rush history is an important part of its identity, and there are several museums and historic sites that allow visitors to learn more about this fascinating period. The Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park is a must-visit for history buffs, with exhibits that tell the story of the gold rush and its impact on Skagway and the surrounding area. The park also offers guided tours and ranger-led programs that provide a deeper understanding of the history and culture of the region.

Another important historic site in Skagway is the Trail of ’98 Museum, which is dedicated to preserving the history of the Klondike Gold Rush. The museum features artifacts, photographs, and interactive exhibits that bring the gold rush era to life. Visitors can also explore the historic buildings in Skagway, such as the Red Onion Saloon and the Arctic Brotherhood Hall, which have been preserved to showcase their original architecture and design.

Scenic Drives and Tours: Discovering Skagway’s Natural Beauty

Scenic Drives and Tours: Discovering Skagway’s Natural Beauty
Number of scenic drives available 5
Length of longest scenic drive 45 miles
Number of tour companies offering scenic drives 8
Number of natural attractions visited on tours 3
Most popular scenic drive White Pass and Yukon Route Railroad

Skagway is surrounded by breathtaking natural beauty, and there are several scenic drives that allow visitors to explore the area at their own pace. The Klondike Highway is one of the most popular routes, offering stunning views of mountains, glaciers, and waterfalls. The drive takes you through the White Pass, a historic mountain pass that was used by gold rush prospectors.

For those who prefer guided tours, there are several options available in Skagway. The White Pass & Yukon Route Railroad offers a scenic train ride through the mountains, with stops at historic sites along the way. There are also boat tours that take visitors through the fjords and glaciers of the nearby Lynn Canal, providing an up-close look at Alaska’s natural wonders.

Wildlife Watching in Skagway: Eagles, Bears, and More

Skagway is home to a diverse range of wildlife, making it a paradise for nature lovers and wildlife enthusiasts. Eagles are a common sight in Skagway, with their majestic presence often seen soaring above the town or perched on tree branches. Bears are also frequently spotted in the area, particularly during the salmon spawning season when they come to feed on the abundant fish.

The best places to spot wildlife in Skagway are the Chilkoot River and the Taiya River, where bears can often be seen fishing for salmon. The Skagway River is also a popular spot for birdwatching, with a variety of species that can be observed in their natural habitat. It is important to respect wildlife and observe from a safe distance to ensure their well-being and minimize disturbance.

Shopping and Dining in Skagway: Unique Local Experiences

Skagway offers a unique shopping and dining experience, with a variety of local businesses that showcase the town’s culture and heritage. The downtown area is lined with shops that sell locally made crafts, jewelry, and artwork, providing visitors with the opportunity to take home a piece of Skagway’s history. There are also several restaurants and cafes that serve fresh seafood and other local delicacies, allowing visitors to indulge in the flavors of Alaska.

One unique local experience in Skagway is the Skagway Brewing Company, which offers a selection of craft beers brewed on-site. Visitors can take a tour of the brewery and sample their beers while learning about the brewing process. Another unique experience is the Days of ’98 Show, a musical comedy that tells the story of Skagway’s gold rush history through song and dance.

Family-Friendly Fun in Skagway: Activities for Kids and Teens

Skagway offers a range of family-friendly activities that are sure to create lasting memories for kids and teens. The Klondike Gold Fields is a popular attraction for families, with interactive exhibits that allow visitors to try their hand at gold panning and learn about the gold rush era. The Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park also offers junior ranger programs that engage kids in learning about the history and culture of Skagway.

For outdoor enthusiasts, there are several hiking trails that are suitable for families, such as the Lower Dewey Lake Trail and the Yakutania Point Trail. These trails offer easy to moderate hikes that are suitable for all ages and provide opportunities to explore the natural beauty of Skagway.

Festivals and Events in Skagway: Celebrating the Community

Skagway is known for its vibrant community spirit, and there are several festivals and events throughout the year that celebrate the town’s culture and heritage. The Skagway Arts Council organizes the Skagway Arts Festival, a week-long event that showcases local artists, musicians, and performers. The festival includes art exhibits, live music performances, and workshops that allow visitors to immerse themselves in the creative spirit of Skagway.

Another popular event in Skagway is the Klondike International Road Relay, a 110-mile relay race that takes participants through stunning landscapes and historic sites. The race attracts teams from around the world and is a celebration of athleticism and camaraderie.

Day Trips from Skagway: Exploring the Surrounding Area

Skagway is a great base for exploring the surrounding area, with several day trips available that allow visitors to discover even more of Alaska’s natural beauty. One popular day trip is a visit to Haines, a neighboring town that is known for its stunning scenery and wildlife. Visitors can take a ferry or a scenic drive along the Haines Highway to reach Haines, where they can explore hiking trails, visit art galleries, or go wildlife watching.

Another popular day trip from Skagway is a visit to the Yukon Territory in Canada. The White Pass & Yukon Route Railroad offers a scenic train ride that takes visitors across the border into Canada, where they can explore historic sites and enjoy breathtaking views of the Yukon wilderness.

Planning Your Skagway Adventure: Tips and Resources for Visitors

When planning a trip to Skagway, it is important to consider the unique challenges and opportunities that the town offers. Here are some tips and resources to help you make the most of your Skagway adventure:

– Research the weather and pack accordingly. Skagway experiences a cool maritime climate, with mild summers and cold winters. Be prepared for changing weather conditions and pack layers to stay comfortable.

– Plan your activities in advance. Skagway offers a wide range of activities, and it is a good idea to plan ahead to ensure that you can make the most of your time in the town. Consider booking guided tours or making reservations for popular attractions in advance.

– Respect the environment and wildlife. Skagway is home to a diverse range of wildlife, and it is important to observe from a safe distance and avoid disturbing their natural habitat. Follow Leave No Trace principles and dispose of waste properly to minimize your impact on the environment.

– Support local businesses. Skagway has a strong sense of community, and supporting local businesses is an important way to contribute to the town’s economy. Shop at local stores, eat at local restaurants, and consider purchasing locally made products as souvenirs.

– Take advantage of resources available for visitors. The Skagway Convention & Visitors Bureau provides information on accommodations, transportation, and activities in the area. The Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park also offers visitor centers where you can learn more about the history and culture of Skagway.

In conclusion, Skagway offers a unique blend of history, culture, and natural beauty that makes it a must-visit destination for travelers. Whether you are interested in exploring the town’s gold rush legacy, embarking on outdoor adventures, or simply immersing yourself in the vibrant community spirit, Skagway has something for everyone. By planning your trip responsibly and respecting the environment and wildlife, you can ensure that your visit to Skagway is both enjoyable and sustainable.


What is Skagway?

Skagway is a small town located in southeast Alaska, USA. It is known for its rich history during the Klondike Gold Rush era and its stunning natural beauty.

What are some popular things to do in Skagway?

Some popular things to do in Skagway include taking a scenic train ride on the White Pass and Yukon Route, visiting the Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park, hiking the Chilkoot Trail, and exploring the town’s historic district.

How do I get to Skagway?

Skagway can be reached by air, sea, or land. The closest airport is in Juneau, and there are several ferry services that operate between Skagway and other Alaskan towns. The town is also accessible by car via the Alaska Highway.

What is the best time of year to visit Skagway?

The best time to visit Skagway is during the summer months, from May to September, when the weather is mild and the days are long. However, this is also the busiest time of year, so be prepared for crowds and higher prices.

What should I pack for a trip to Skagway?

Be sure to pack warm clothing, as temperatures can be cool even in the summer months. Comfortable walking shoes are also a must, as many of the town’s attractions are within walking distance. Don’t forget to bring a camera to capture the stunning scenery!