Located in south eastern Alaska, the sparsely populated and awe-inspiring port town of Skagway is well-known for its astonishing natural beauty, but it also offers plenty of historical interest too, and was at the heart of the Yukon gold rush of the old west.
6 hours in... Skagway
Arriving in the port of Skagway for the first time, it’s impossible not to be inspired by the dramatic mountains and vast wilderness which flank you on each side. There are many different ways to explore Skagway’s stunning natural landscape, from helicopter tours and scenic flights, to rail journeys, jeep tours, hiking trails and horseback rides – you could even enjoy zip-lining adventures through the treetops or wheeled dog-sledding with a team of local Huskies.
Whichever of these amazing ways to see Skagway’s beautiful scenery and native wildlife you prefer, make sure to book your excursions in advance, as places on the most popular trips are limited and if you’ll probably miss out if your try to secure a spot on the same day you arrive.
One of the most popular ways to see this wonderful port is the Skagway Yukon Discovery Adventure, which lasts for around six hours and takes you on a round-trip from the cruise port and back again. On this exciting tour you’ll journey along the rugged Klondike Highway, offering the chance to observe the region’s incredible wilderness, marvellous waterfalls, impressive glaciers and tranquil lakes.
However, If you’re thinking of exploring on your own, some of the best places to start include the amazing Footbridge to Yakutania Point and Smuggler's Cove, as well as the dramatic Skagway Suspension Bridge – but only if you have a head for heights!
A visit to Skagway offers the perfect opportunity to delve into Alaska’s fascinating gold rush heritage. Skagway made its name during the 1800s as the centre of the Yukon gold rush, and the remnants of this intriguing era can still be observed today.
The town’s Gold Rush Cemetery is home to the graves of many famous prospectors as well as the ‘Largest Gold Nugget in the World’ – which in reality is actually just a large boulder painted gold, but still makes for a fantastic photo opportunity. Visitors can even try their hand at panning for gold themselves, which is a fun experience for travellers of all ages.
If you’re looking to learn even more about Skagway’s rich heritage, a trip to the Skagway Museum and Archives offer a marvellous insight into the region’s history beyond the gold rush era.
Can’t keep away?
Heading into the quaint town centre of Skagway, you’ll find plenty of places to pick up authentic local gifts and souvenirs, alongside a number of excellent restaurants serving freshly caught seafood dishes. This area of town offers a great alternative for all those travellers who don’t want to embark on what is often a strenuous trek into Skagway’s vast wilderness.
Don’t even bother!
While panning for gold in Skagway can be a lot of fun, especially for young children, don’t expect for an authentic gold rush experience. You’ll pan for gold flakes with others tourist in a long wooden trough, which some people may find a little corny. For many people however, the engaging characters and historical insights they find here usually makes up for the touristy nature of the experience.