Skagway

Population: 1,036

Skagway is located on the north end of Taiya Inlet on Lynn Canal, 2-1/2 hours by fast ferry or 90 air miles northwest of Juneau; 108 road miles south of Whitehorse, YT, via the South Klondike Highway. Skagway is 15 miles by water and 359 miles by road from Haines.

Visitor information:
Skagway Convention and Visitors Bureau, Box 1029, Skagway, AK 99840; phone 907-983-2854.

Skagway is the oldest incorporated city in Alaska (1900). In July 1897, the first boatloads of gold stampeders bound for the Klondike landed at Skagway and Dyea. By October 1897, Skagway had grown to a population “of about 20,000.” By the summer of 1899 the stampede was all but over. The newly built White Pass & Yukon Route railway reached Lake Bennett, supplanting the Chilkoot Trail from Dyea. Skagway persisted, both as a port and as terminus of the White Pass & Yukon Route railway, which connected the town to Whitehorse, YT, in 1900. Cruise ships, and later the Alaska State Ferry System, brought tourism and business to Skagway. Scheduled state ferry service to southeastern Alaska began in 1963.

Skagway has all services including a post office and a gas station (with diesel). There is 1 bank in town with an ATM and another ATM at Klothes Rush Gifts/Radio Shack. There are several restaurants like the Jewell Gardens Restaurant, cafes; a grocery and a natural foods store; international dry goods store and hardware store; the Klothes Rush clothing store; and many gift and novelty shops offering Alaska and gold rush souvenirs, photos, books, gold nugget jewelry, clothing, fudge and more. The Skaguay News Depot on Broadway carries books and newspapers.

Skagway offers a variety of accommodations from hotels to bed and breakfasts. RV camping at Garden City RV Park phone 907-983-2378. A campground is located in the Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park near the Chilkoot Trail trailhead and the old townsite of Dyea on Dyea Road.

Attractions:

  • Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park encompasses a 6-block historic district in Skagway’s business area; the Chilkoot Trail and Dyea; and a visitor center with exhibits and films on the history of the area and a current schedule of guided walks in Skagway and Dyea. Visit website for more information.
  • Take a wildlife cruise with Alaska Fjordlines with packages to Juneau and touring of Juneau. Wildlife watching is en route.
  • Skagway Museum in the McCabe College Building preserves Alaska historical material and displays of Alaska pioneer life; phone 907-983-2420.
  • Hike 33-mile Chilkoot Trail over Chilkoot Pass (elev. 3,739 feet) to Lake Bennett, following the historic route of the gold seekers of 1897–98. Visit website for more information.
  • The Days of ‘98 Show, the longest running show in the North, is a lively 1-hour musical/drama about con man Soapy Smith’s reign over Skagway during the days of the Klondike Gold Rush in 1897-98.
  • Jewell Gardens & Glassworks, at the historic Clark Farm at Milepost 2 on the South Klondike Highway, is Skagway’s showcase garden: glass-blowing studio; gift shop; G-scale railroad; and a restaurant.
  • Ride the historic White Pass & Yukon Route Railroad; website has schedule and prices.
  • Go flightseeing with Temsco Helicopters; glacier landings, glacier hiking, dog sledding.
  • Soapy Smith and Frank Reid are buried at the Gold Rush Cemetery (both men died in a gunfight in July 1898).
  • Drive Dyea Road to the old Dyea Townsite. The National Park Service offers walking tours of the Dyea historic site in summer, call ahead to confirm; phone 907-983-9200.