A small frontier town
Skagway is a small town on the Alaskan panhandle with a full-time population of less than 1,000. During the summer tourist season the population doubles, and for a good reason. Skagway sees upwards of 1 million visitors per year, and there is no end of things to do.
Skagway is a popular cruise ship destination, and each ship that docks there brings from 2,000 to 6,000 passengers. There can be as many as four cruise ships in port at any one time. Alaska boasts a fair few cruise ship ports, but Skagway has several unique things going for it that makes it a must-see destination. With jaw-dropping train rides through some of the most amazing scenery that Alaska has to offer to the fascinating Klondike Gold Rush Museum, offers a veritable mix of activities to keep the most discerning visitor happy.
Here are a few things to do in Skagway.
The city is small, and despite chain stores like Diamonds International, Skagway maintains a frontier feel. There is only one main street through the city, bordered by a wood sidewalk and privately owned stores that welcome tourists.
White Pass and Yukon Route Railroad
One thing you can do while here is take the White Pass and Yukon Route railroad which calls Skagway home. This is a tourist- only train and takes visitors through the wilderness of Alaska to the Yukon pass, where a majority of the Alaskan Gold Rush of 1896 took place. This narrow gauge railroad clings to ridges and cuts through massive evergreen forests for a view of the state hard to see any other way.
Getting closer to the Alaskan wilderness
For people interested in getting closer to nature than from a railroad car, Skagway offers a myriad of hiking trails through the Alaskan wilderness, as well as gold panning, horseback riding, dog sledding, salmon fishing and trips by helicopter to nearby ice fields and glaciers. If you want to visit during a quieter time, when the streets aren’t clogged with cruise ship passengers, you might want to book your trip from October to April. Be aware, however, that many of the shops are only open during the tourist season.
If you want to visit a remote town with a frontier spirit and access to beautiful natural scenery, you can’t do better than Skagway, Alaska.