Welcome to Skagway
Welcome to Skagway! The first incorporated city of Alaska (beating Juneau by 1 day!). She was the Gateway to the Klondike and boasts a year-round population of 920 residents. At the height of the Gold Rush she had as many as 12,000 residents.
Some Skagway Trivia for ya from Skagway Shore Tours:
The most famous resident of Skagway is Soapy Smith, a villain of the gold rush days.
Skagway and Dyea competed for the Rushers' dollars. Skagway won, mostly because of its better harbor and the creation of the White Pass and Yukon Route Railroad. The Klondike Gold Rush brought tens of thousands of people to southeast Alaska, including...
Jack London. The writer of The Call of The Wild himself traveled the Chilkoot Trail and staked a claim along the Stewart River. His experiences lead to the writing of the book, and scenes from some of the movie adaptations were shot in Dyea.
John Nordstrom, of Nordstrom's department stores, got his start during the Klondike Gold Rush. He sold a claim for $13,000 before moving back south to Seattle.
Over 60,000 people died in Dyea, Skagway, or on one of the trails during the gold rush, including several hundred in 1 avalanche alone.
Around 2,000 people still hike the Chilkoot trail every year. The trail is 33 miles long and generally takes 3-5 days to complete. The fastest recorded time is held by Goeff Roes at 5 hours 27 minutes.
The Golden North Hotel on 3rd and Broadway is the oldest hotel in Alaska. It reached its peak right in the middle of the Gold Rush, but was restored in the 1990's. Oh, and it's haunted. 🙂
Every year on the 4th of July, hundreds of rubber duckies race to Pullen Pond as part of a fundraiser. Even if your duck doesn't win, you still get to take one home.
Tourism is really the only industry.
· During the 2021 season, SkagwIt is crazy-expensive. 1 million cruise ship passengers.
· The town has a year-round population of about 400, but this balloons to nearly 3000 in the summer months.
· Skagway can dock up to 5 boats at a time. 2 on the railroad dock, 1 on the Broadway dock, 1 on the ore dock, and 1 at the ferry dock. The steep drop off of the land into Skagway Harbor is what makes this possible. A 6th boat can also tender in.
· There are only 4 bars in Skagway: The Red Onion Saloon, The Bonanza, The Pizza Station, and The Skagway Brewing Company.
· There are no franchise restaurants in Skagway. There is a cafe that "Proudly Serves Starbucks," but isn't actually a Starbucks.
· The only chain store in the entire town is a Radio Shack, which is also the video rental store and tanning salon.
· In the winter, only 1 restaurant is open per week, and they rotate which one that is.
Best Shore Excursions and my best tip:
1. DO NOT BUY CRAB HERE!!!!! It is crazy expensive. You’re welcome.
2. Jet Boat Tour and Raptor Experience – Enjoy a narrated glacial fjord ferry ride to Haines. Once you arrive at Chilkat Bald Eagle Reserve, you will be outfitted in outerwear board your boat. Wildlife is abundant! Expect to see moose, bears, bald eagles, and possibly whales and porpoises. $204.50 per person
3. Kayaking – Board the Haines-Skagway Ferry to enjoy the 45 minute narrated ride across. Once you arrive on the beach, you will head over to your two kayaks where a guide will be waiting for you. You will then head out on the ride of your life as you kayak amongst the Dall porpoises, humpback whales, orcas, and sea lions. When you’re done, you will enjoy a picnic lunch before heading back to Skagway. $213 per person.
4. Zip Lining – Enjoy an exciting mountain climb up the white granite walls of the mountains of the White Pass. There are several zip lining adventures for you to choose from! Don’t worry – there is no breaking as they have a double zip line that takes care of that for you! $170 per person.
5. Ride the White Pass and Yukon Route Railway (you can ride the train one way and a bus the other for a change of scenery and saving time for more time in town) from $130 per person
6. Dog Sledding – you’ll take a narrated helicopter (make sure you use a reputable company for this because helicopters can be dangerous) ride to the top of Denver Glacier where you will visit the dog camps and kennels before boarding a dog sled to be led by 12-14 sled dogs across the icy terrain. $550 per person
7. Dog Mushing Camp – take a narrated bus ride to the Dyea Waterfront where you head to a mushing camp. Here you will learn mushing skills. $133 per person
8. Glacier Point Wilderness Safari - The adventure starts aboard a custom-designed boat able to provide an up-close sightseeing expedition. All along the journey through the deepest fjord in North America, guests with a keen eye may spot seals, whales, and outpouring waterfalls. A naturalist guide will educate guests about the surrounding sights and beautiful landscape as they pass through. $219 per person
9. Skagway River Float Your river float journey begins on the scenic coastal drive to Dyea Valley, once an old gold rush settlement now returned to nature. Watch for Harbor seals and Bald Eagles along the way. Enjoy relaxation combined with a fascinating history and magnificent beauty as you float gently down the Taiya River on your professionally equipped raft for approximately 40 minutes on the river. $84 per person
10. Liarsville Gold Rush Camp and Salmon Bake - Find yourself surrounded by our cast of sourdoughs, dance hall girls, and prospectors ready to entertain you with their stories and skits about their life in Skagway during the Alaskan Gold Rush itself. You will even get to try your hand at panning for gold. The streams are so full that we can guarantee you will find gold. The best part? You get to keep everything you find! $61 per person
There are many more excursions. If there is something you don’t see here that you’re interested in doing, please let me know and I will do my best to arrange it for you!