Three-Day Historic Skagway Tour
Retrace the earliest days of the Klondike Gold Rush with this four-day itinerary through Skagway and the nearby ghost town of Dyea, including a historic train ride that gets you close enough to see the footpath that Gold Rush prospectors wore into the rocks as they trekked in search of fortune.
Day 1: Skagway
Arrive in Skagway via cruise ship, or by regional flight from nearby Juneau, and explore the town’s many historical buildings, all part of Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park, the most-visited national park in the nation. Built in 1898, the Mascot Saloon has been restored by the National Park Service and turned into a museum that looks into the vices — gambling, drinking, and prostitution — that followed stampeding gold prospectors. Other restored buildings include Moore’s Cabin (Skagway’s oldest building) and Jeff “Soapy” Smith’s Parlor Museum, a monument to one of the most notorious scoundrels in Alaska’s history. The Skagway Museum also has a collection of Alaska Native baskets, beadwork, carvings, and Gold Rush artifacts, and Skagway’s boardwalks are lined with restaurants, art shops, and galleries dotted between the historic buildings.
Day 2: Skagway
Drive, catch a shuttle, or take a taxi to reach Dyea, located 15 miles out of Skagway. In 1898 Dyea was Skagway’s rival and the staging area for prospectors heading up the Chilkoot Trail to the gold fields. After the White Pass & Yukon Route railroad picked Skagway as a departure point, Dyea became a ghost town. It still has historic cabins and the Slide Cemetery, the burial site of 47 men and women who were killed in a Chilkoot Trail avalanche. Take a self-guided walking tour with a brochure from the National Park Service.
Day 3: Skagway
Board one of the historic, narrow-gauge White Pass & Yukon Route Railroad vintage trains on a trip into the mountains for breathtaking views of glaciers, gorges, waterfalls, tunnels, crumbling old trestles, and historic sites. You’ll be able to see where prospectors wore the original Klondike Trail into the rocks as they trekked to the gold fields. If you opt for one of the train’s longer journeys that crosses into Canada, you’ll need your passport.
Train trips range from a couple of hours to full-day, so you'll have your pick of adventures, depending on your itinerary. If you're up for a bigger adventure, consider one of the hiker service trains that drop you off at trailheads along the way. Or, choose an overnight trip that drops you off for a night of camping in the scenic and historic Bennett, Canada, or take one-way train service to Fraser or Carcross, Canada to connect with motorcoach transportation on to Whitehorse for even more gold rush history.
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