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Skagway sits at the very end of the Lynn Canal and is the gateway to the Klondike that was established during the great gold rush days Its streets are bordered with wooden sidewalks and buildings with false fronts, which give Skagway the feeling of an old west town. Given its colorful past, Skagway is fun to visit and an interesting place to explore. You will love it. Skagway is also connected to the Alaska Highway system and this is where most cruise/tour passengers will depart their ship. In 1897, gold stampeders from all over the world arrived in Skagway by steamship, bound for the Dawson Gold Fields in Canada's Yukon Territory. It wasn't long before the rough-and-tumble tent town was festooned with boardwalks, dance halls, inns and saloons. More than 100 years later, Skagway still retains the feel of those Gold Rush days, though most travelers now arrive by cruise more ...

Skagway is the third most popular Alaskan destination for the seasonal Alaskan cruise ship trade, which extends from May through September. It's not unusual to have up to six ships visiting Skagway at any one time. As a rule, ships arrive at one of the four cruise ship docks in Skagway at around 7:00 am, and depart between 7:00 pm and 9:00 pm. In 2015, Skagway is slated to host 768,000 passengers sailing on 376 ships, up 2% and down 1%, respectively, from 2014. For further information, see our Skagway Cruise Ship Schedule - 2015.
 
Skagway rarely disappoints visitors. A seven-block corridor along Broadway features historic false-front shops and restaurants, wooden sidewalks, locals in period costumes and restored buildings, many of which are part of the National Park Service-managed Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park. Beginning in 1897, Skagway and the nearby ghost town of Dyea was the starting place for more than 40,000 gold-rush stampeders who headed to the Yukon primarily by way of the Chilkoot Trail.
 
Today Skagway survives almost entirely on tourism, as bus tours and more than 400 cruise ships a year turn this small town into a boomtown again every summer. Up to five ships a day stop here and, on the busiest days, more than 8,000 visitors — 10 times the town's resident population — march off the ships and turn Broadway Avenue into a modern-day version of the Klondike Gold Rush.
 
Where You are Dock
There are two separate docks in Skagway. The first is along side the Lynn Canal directly south of town. Docked at the Foot of Skagway's Main Street, the second is basically at the foot of Main street a short 5 minute walk to the center of town. Usually the smaller ships will dock in town and the larger alongside the Canal. Both are within short walking distance to the center of town. There is a shuttle ($1.00 each way) between the docks and the center of town for those that do not want to walk it. The port doesn't offer a cruise terminal or facilities. Cruise ships share the port with industrial traffic. Inexpensive municipal buses run from the dock to town. Skagway Visitors Center, 245 Broadway, is about an eight-minute walk.
 
Getting Around
 
Skagway is an easy walking town. Most shops are on one street -- Broadway. To explore outer reaches of this region of southeast Alaska, you can certainly rent a car (Avis, located at the Westmark Hotel, 3rd & Spring - advance reservations highly recommended), but you're better off signing up for a tour of some sort -- whether on ship or via the handful of independent trip companies. Tour companies that serve cruise ship's shore excursion departments typically will refer you back to the ship -- or charge the same fee as the cruise line. Smaller, independent operators, many of whom have storefronts in town, may net more personal tours with fewer people -- and the prices might actually be lower.
 
On Foot: Skagway is an easy walking town. Most shops are on one street -- Broadway.
On a Bike: You can rent a bike at Sockeye Cycles, 381 5th Avenue, 907-983-2851.
Renting a Car: To explore outer reaches of this region of southeast Alaska, you can certainly rent a car through Avis, located at the Westmark Hotel, Spring Street near 2nd, 800-331-1212, advance reservations highly recommended; Sourdough Rentals, 351 6th Avenue, 907-983-2523), but you're better off signing up for a tour of some sort -- whether through your ship or via the handful of independent trip companies. Tour companies that serve cruise ships' shore excursion departments typically will refer you back to the ship -- or charge the same fee as the cruise line. Smaller, independent operators, many of whom have storefronts in town, may net more personal tours with fewer people -- and the prices might actually be lower.
Things to do
Five times a day during the summer, National Park Service rangers lead a free, 45-minute walking tour of the historic district, stopping at historic buildings like the Mascot Saloon Museum, the first cabin built in Skagway and one of the town’s earliest brothels.
 
White Pass and Yukon Railroad
There is lots to do in Skagway. First and foremost, the White Pass and Yukon Railroad was built at the turn of the century (1898-1900) to connect Skagway with Whitehorse, Yukon, Canada. Prior to the completion of the railroad prospectors would climb the White Pass Trail from Skagway up into the Yukon's promising gold fields.  A ride on the White Pass & Yukon Route Railroad. This was created as a result of the Klondike Gold Rush of 1898, though it wasn't completed before the rush ended. The narrow-gauge train follows the path that pioneers in search of Klondike Gold climbed in order to get to Dawson's Creek in nearby Canada. The tracks wind around granite mountains, trundle across steep gorges and pass through two tunnels. Virtually all visiting cruise lines offer the train ride
 
The White Pass & Yukon Railway's Train Station
When one sees the terrain these prospectors had to traverse with all of their gear, it puts an entirely new perspective on just how rugged these folks must have been. The 3-hour round trip train ride to the top of White Pass is a wonderful adventure. (HINT: Sit on the left side of the train for best viewing) and well worth the investment.
 
Lower Dewey Lake
My favorite thing to do is to hike up to Lower Dewey Lake. Lower Dewey lake resides on the other side of the mountain that soars straight up from the Lynn Canal. It is a pristine environment that seems far away from any town or civilization but is really an easier hike that only takes an hour or so. I will caution folks that the climb up the face of the mountain, while well marked, is quite steep and may wind some folks if they are out of shape.
 
Hiking the Lower Dewey Lake Trail
Take your time on the way up as the way down is a breeze. To find the trailhead simply go east from the train station to where you cross over the stream that empties into the bay. Turn left and follow the train tracks about 200 yards until you come to the sign announcing the various trails you can hike from here. There are trail maps in the box marking the beginning of the trail. As you proceed up the hill you will see some stairs that go under the big water pipe that carriers Skagway's water supply from Lower Dewey Lake.
 
The Entrance to the Lower Dewey Lake Trailhead
Proceed down the stairs, under the pipe and follow the trail until you go through the bogs and come upon Lower Dewey Lake. It is simply beautiful. One can find more information about Skagway's hiking trails at the national Forest office in the visitor's center downtown at the corner of 2nd and Broadway. There are several hikes that can easily be done during the ship's visit.
 
The Skagway Cemetary
Another great walk is to simply walk through town (go north on Broadway Street until it ends and then go west one block to State Street and continue north) until you hit the Klondike Highway that leads to the Yukon. Turn left on the highway until you see the a dirt road that continues past the main train yard
 
Soapy Smiths Grave Site
You will shortly see the sign leading to the graveyard and Soapy Smith's gravel site. It is a wonderful walk that leads to the graveyard that dates back to the 1800s and well worth the effort to make it.
 
Reid Falls
Also, take the short hike up to Upper Reid falls.
 
Jewell Gardens
After viewing the graveyard and falls, you can turn to the right on the main highway crossing the bridge over the Skagway River to Jewell Gardens.
 
Skagway River
The walk over the river is wonderful, but Jewell Gardens is hardly worth the $8.00 entrance fee. Unless you are keenly interested specifically in Alaskan gardening, save yourself the money and look over the fence to see the same thing you would pay for. Return to downtown Skagway by heading south on Main Street to see just about all of Skagway that there is.
The local tour operators offer a myriad flight seeing, fishing, helicopter, motor coach and myriad tours and sightseeing options.
For the adventurous, Skagway has an excellent trail system that begins just blocks from the downtown area and allows hikers to trek to alpine lakes, waterfalls, even the graves of Skagway’s most notorious residents, Soapy Smith and Frank Reid. The town also serves as the departure point for one of Alaska’s most popular backpacking adventures: the Chilkoot Trail, a three- to four-day hike along the same route that the stampeders followed on their way to the Klondike Gold Fields in Canada to the north. For more information on the Chilkoot Trail and hiking in Skagway contact the Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park Visitor Center.
 
The historic White Pass & Yukon Route railroad provides tours to the top of the mountain pass north of town. Seated in parlor cars, passengers ride up the most spectacular part of the trip viewing scenery such as Glacier Gorge, Dead Horse Gulch and Bridal Veil Falls. At the top they see the White Pass at 2,885 feet, which is also the international boundary between the United States and Canada.
 
Historic walking tour of Skagway. Pick up a map at the Skagway Visitors Center (Broadway between 2nd & 3rd), which, in itself, is distinctive because its builder collected more than 8,800 sticks of driftwood -- and then nailed them to the building's front.
Historic driving tour of Skagway. Fast-talking guides in period garb lead the Skagway Street Car Tour, a two-hour look at the port's Gold Rush history onboard a restored yellow Mac Model B.
Learn about the Klondike Gold Rush at the Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park Visitor Center (2nd and Broadway).
Hang out at the touristy Red Onion Saloon (2nd & Broadway), a Gold Rush-era gathering point (and former brothel).
 
Gold-panning at Liarsville Gold Rush Trail Camp. A stop at this recreation camp, which was set up by press men who were supposed to be reporting from the front lines of the Gold Rush (thus Liarsville), is often packaged with the train tour if you go one way by rail and one way by bus. As part of the setup, today's Liarsville also features a campfire, salmon bake and musician playing instruments of the time.
The Dog Sledding and Glacier Flightseeing combo tour is a budget-buster, but it's a unique way to experience the glaciers. You'll get a turn at mushing the dog team. It's available onboard, as well as through Temsco Helicopters (907-983-2900).
 
Take the passenger ferry over to Haines. It's an easy way to go whale-watching and visit the American Bald Eagle Center downtown.
Play golf on a nine-hole course set at 60 degrees north latitude.
Ride a bicycle downhill along the White Pass Klondike gold route (Sockeye Cycle Co).
Eating Oout
the Red Onion Saloon on Broadway is legendary. Once a bordello (around the turn of the century) it is now a fun restaurant/bar where the waitresses dress the part and offer tours of the bordello portion of the building. While extremely touristy, it is worth a visit.
 
The Skagway Fish Company -- While the Red Onion is a legendary watering hole, if you want some quality food and maybe a glass of wine, then the best spot in town is the Skagway Fish Company located on the Lynn Canal between the ships docked there and the walk into town, The Skagway Fish Company is where the locals chose to dine and drink, so you know it has to be good. The deep fried halibut highly recommend their speciality.
 
Skagway Fish Company, at 210 Congress Way, is open from 11:00 AM to 10:00 PM for lunch and dinner. Lunch prices typically range from 10 to 14 USD, and supper's between 17 and 20 USD. Seafood is the biggie here, with halibut burgers, King Crab, Salmon, Prawns, and Fish & Chips. (This restaurant gets sterling reviews for fish & chips, and for those halibut burgers, by the way.) You can contact them at 907-983-3474.
 
Casual In-Town Joints: Stowaway Cafe (205 Congress Way, daily, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.) has wraps, soups and fresh-baked breads.The Stowaway Cafe, at 205 Congress Way, gets some solid on great reviews! Open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, what people most enjoy are the salmon (wasabi, grilled, or blackened), and halibut. The cafe has great salads and sandwiches, too! Lunch and dinner entrees range from 18 to 27 USD. Reservations are suggested, and you can contact them at 907-983-3463.
 
 For a locals' haunt, check out Sweet Tooth Cafe (315 Broadway, daily, 6 a.m. to 2 p.m.) for "home cooking." Skagway Fish Co. (near the Railroad Dock, daily, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.) has terrific seafood and a great marina view.
 
The Skagway Brewing Company has a history in this town back TO the gold rush days or so, and also serve up food with their ale. Most of the menu is classic bar fare, with starters such as crab artichoke, onion rings, and fries from 6.50 to 16 USD. Chili and salads range from 7 to 13 USD. The brewery also features fried fish, chicken tenders, and burgers to include those veggie, specialty burgers, and fish sandwiches from 10 to 17 USD. Youngsters aren't left out of the party with glacial smoothies! This brewery is located at 700 Broadway, and their phone number is 907-983-2739. You may also want to check out http://www.skagwaybrewing.com/home.html.
 
Gourmet Dining: Bistro at the Skagway Inn (7th and Broadway, daily, 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.) offers local fare with a nouvelle twist. Trademark dishes include Alaskan king crab and strip loin of elk.
 
Shopping
Shopping in Skagway. nestled between totally touristy "outlet" stores and shops full of cheap tchotchkes are veritable gems. There is a 7 block long shopping area right on Broadway Street in Skagway. Simply walk into town and then start up the street and you will pass shop after shop. There are also some shops on some of the side streets as well..
Skagway's Quiviut Store is located between 5th and 6th on Broadway and sells fine muskox yarns and fibers, a nice take away from your trip. Try A Gathering of Spirits for high-end crafts, ranging from made-in-Alaska jewelry and pen-and-ink prints to turned-wood vessels. Lynch & Kennedy, located on Broadway between 3rd & 4th, has exquisite fine crafts, including hand-painted ceramics and hand-knit woolen sweaters.

Here's a small sample of items you'll find muskox yarn, handicrafts, jewelry, ceramics, hand kni woolen, and sweaters. For books, try the Skagway News Depot (Broadway between 2nd & 3rd). For high-end crafts, ranging from made-in-Alaska jewelry and pen-and-ink prints to turned-wood vessels, try A Gathering of Spirits (Broadway between 4th & 5th). Lynch & Kennedy (Broadway between 3rd & 4th) has exquisite (yet not necessarily local) fine crafts, including hand-painted ceramics and hand-knit woolen sweaters. The Quiviut Store (in Skagway Bazaar between 5th and 6th on Broadway) sells fine muskox yarns and fibers. The Train Shoppe in the White Pass and Yukon Route Depot (2nd & Spring) has tons of choo-choo souvenirs.
 
Just about everything Alaskan you can think of is available in Skagway. Of special note are the two gold jewelry shops that offer jewelry made from real gold nuggets. In addition to gold, furs, local artwork, knock-knacks and miscellaneous trading post items, there are quite a few museums and other entertainment venues. Note to Starbucks addicts: This is the location of the one and only Starbucks you will find on your cruise. It is located across the street from the train station in a curios store. Look for it on the right side of the street as you enter town.





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