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 355 miles by road from Haines.

Visitor Information:
Skagway Convention and Visitors Bureau, Box 1029, Skagway, AK 99840; phone 907-983-2854. Also the Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park Visitor Center is located in the restored railroad depot at 2nd Avenue and Broadway; phone (907) 983-9200.

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 offers a variety of accommodations, from hotels to bed and breakfasts, lodges and log cabins. There are several restaurants and cafes and an espresso/smoothie shop. Red Onion Saloon and Skagway Brewing Co. also serve food. Jewell Gardens Restaurant, Mile 2 South Klondike Highway, serves a daily lunch, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., featuring organic produce from their gardens.

Skagway has grocery and natural foods stores, a Harley Davidson store, international dry goods store and hardware store; clothing stores; many gift and novelty shops offering Alaska and gold rush souvenirs, photos, books, furs and ivory. The Skaguay News Depot on Broadway carries a great selection of local books and out-of-town newspapers. Skagway has a post office and a bank (Wells Fargo) with an ATM.

Gas stations in town include Family Fuel on 2nd and State, and Corner Fuel at 4th and Main, both with 24-hour fuel. There’s also a laundry, store and ATM at Family Fuel. There is a laundromat for guests at Garden City RV Park on State Street.

Camping at Garden City RV Park on State Street and another 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.
  • 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.