Your Alaska road trip guide

Skagway

Skagway

Exploring the Gateway to the Klondike

What to do in Skagway

As the gateway to the Klondike, Skagway is a famous gold rush town full of museums and historic buildings as well as plenty of shopping and outdoor adventure activities. Or you can take a tour. There is truly something for everyone, and if you want to go farther afield, one of the best scenic drives in the north is just out of town.

Planning your time

Although it’s small, Skagway is packed with ways to spend a day or three. Start by picking the types of activities you want to do, and check out the Resources at the bottom of the page for more information. Once you’re in Skagway, stop by the Skagway Visitors Center on Broadway and the Klondike National Park Visitor Center next to the train depot and learn more. And feel free to ask us questions!

Skagway Visitors Center

Klondike National Park Visitor Center

Tours and excursions

Taking a pre-paid tour or excursion is the easiest and simplest way to explore Skagway. If you’re on a cruise ship you can book tours and excursions on board the ship or some even when you book your cruise. While booking on the cruise ship is convenient, you’ll have more flexibility and can often save money by booking tours and excursions privately. See Resources below for listings of Skagway tours and excursions.

Getting around by foot

You can see most of Skagway itself on foot, and I highly recommend it. Most everything you would want to see is along Broadway on an eight-block stretch or within a couple blocks off Broadway. At the visitor’s center you can find great historical walking tours and all the main shopping is along Broadway.

Getting to Broadway from the cruise ships is a bit of a walk from some docks, but shuttles are provided and will save your feet for walking around town. There are several day hikes in the area, ranging from easy walks to epic trails straight up a mountain.

Skagway area day hikes

Getting around by car

With a car you can more conveniently explore other parts of the Skagway area and the colorful gold rush history it contains. Several car rental options are available.

North of town you’ll find several areas to explore, starting with the Gold Rush Cemetery Road that will take you to this historic pioneer cemetery where Soapy Smith is buried and the trailhead for the easy walk to Lower Reid Falls. Just a few miles up the Klondike Highway is the turnoff for the road to Dyea, the gold rush ghost town. There isn’t much of anything to see there, but some might like to stand where the old town used to be.

With a car you can drive also to area attractions like Jewell Gardens, the Klondike Gold Dredge, Liarsville Gold Rush Trail Camp and Salmon Bake, and Grizzly Falls Zipline.

Skagway car rentals

 

Resources

Shopping

Like any place cruise ships dock, Skagway is full of shopping opportunities of all types, from diamond jewelry to Alaskan art and from cheap trinkets to one-of-a-kind souvenirs. Plus there are a couple of outdoor gear shops and Skagway Hardware. Most all stores are along a few blocks of Broadway. Notable shops include historic Kirmse’s Curious, Skagway News Depot and Books, Lynch and Kennedy’s Gifts, and Dedman’s Photo Shop and Art Gallery.

Skagway shopping listings

Outdoor adventures

Skagway is full of outdoor adventure possibilities, from hiking to cycling and river rafting to ziplining. You can hike the world-famous Chilkoot Trail or take an easy stroll to Yakutania Point. Two hours away in Carcross, you can find more hiking, wind surfing, and world-class mountain biking trails.

Skagway activity listings

Carcross activities

Tours and excursions

There are many, many options for package tours and excursions. Skagway Streetcar is a great way to see the town, and the White Pass and Yukon Route Railway excursion is spectacular and extremely popular. Other popular options include river rafting, hiking, cycling, and ziplining, among many others. You can take a helicopter ride and set foot on a glacier, flightseeing trips, scenic cruises, the fast ferry to Haines, bus trips into the Yukon, plus dog sledding, gold panning, and fishing adventures too.

TripAdvisor Skagway activities listings

Skagway activity listings

Road trips

You can rent a car in Skagway and take a couple hours to drive the beautiful Klondike Highway up the White Pass summit and back. You can travel as far as you’d like, although you will cross the Canadian border and will need to bring your passport. In 2 to 4 hours you can go as far as dazzling Emerald Lake or historic Carcross in the Yukon. You can take Road Trip Alaska’s Road to Emerald Lake audio tour or e-guidebook with you as your personal guide to some of the best sights in the north. You’ll discover hidden attractions, learn about the history, geography, and people of the north, and see the most interesting sights.

Along the way, you’ll travel from Skagway, Alaska up the spectacular White Pass along the route of the White Pass and Yukon Railway. You’ll follow in the very footsteps of the Klondike Gold Rush stampeders and the White Pass Trail, see beautiful waterfalls like Pitchfork, Bridal Veil and Moore Creek Falls while catching gorgeous views up the Skagway River Valley and the rugged mountain peaks of the Coast Mountains. If you wish, you can continue on after the pass to see the nearly barren beauty of the Tormented Valley and even drive all the way to Lake Tutshi, a spectacular forested mountain lake before retracing your route back to Skagway.

The trip can be done in as little or as much time as you’d like, though we recommend at least 2 to 4 hours round trip. It’s about a half hour to the summit of the White Pass without stops.

 

Resources

Drives from Skagway

Road to Emerald Lake audio tour

Road to Emerald Lake e-guidebook

Car rental companies in Skagway