Skagway and the Chilkoot Trail

Alaska

Check out historic Skagway! The town created by the gold rush to the Klondike in the 1890s remains one of the best-preserved living tributes to that era. The town is small and good for walking.

Skagway Sightseeing Highlights

* Trail of '98 Museum: Newly re-opened in City Hall, the museum displays fascinating gold rush memorabilia. Small entrance fee.

* Klondike Gold Rush National Historic Park: The whole downtown Broadway stretch, seven blocks, is a national park. A free walking tour of the town is offered by the National Park Service Visitors Center, located in the old rail depot. Tours leave at 11:00 am and 3:00 pm. There are also free films and slide shows at the Center.

* Pullen Creek Park: Out by the boat harbor, this is a nice spot for picnicking or fishing for pike and silver salmon.

* Molly Walsh Park: On 7th Avenue, this small play park is great for kids.

* Skagway Overlook: At Mile 1 on the narrow, winding Dyea Road, a turnoff with a wooden bench to sit on affords a wonderful view of Skagway below, on a clear day.

* Hiking trails abound near town: The trail to lower Dewey Lakes takes one hour round trip. The gold rush cemetery, 1-1/2 miles from town, has fascinating old tombstones and makes a nice walk. Stop by the old train depot National Park Office for more suggestions on trails to hike.

* Skagway in the Days of '98: The best of the gold rush shows, professionally done and great entertainment, plays nightly at 8:00 pm, as well as matinees, in the Eagle Dance Hall.

* White Pass and Yukon Route Railroad: Built in the gold rush of 1898-1900, this antique narrow gauge railroad still offers spectacular trips each day in the summer.

Accommodations

Golden North Hotel, Third and Broadway, P.O. Box 343, Skagway, AK 99840, (907) 983-2451, the oldest hotel operating in Alaska, is furnished in original 1890's antiques. Relax in the restaurant and lounge.

Skagway Inn in the historic district, P.O. Box 500, Skagway, AK 99840, (907) 983-2289 or (888) SKAGWAY, has operated as an inn since the Twenties. All rooms are furnished in period style.

The City Campground, beside Pullen Creek, is convenient if you have a ferry to catch. Camping on the street in Skagway is forbidden.

Food

Skagway has more than its fair share of excellent and entertaining restaurants. Starting from the top:

The Bonanza Restaurant and Bar has a sports theme and good hamburgers.

The Corner Cafe is open year round. 421 State Street PO Box #144. 907- 983-2155.

The Fish Company has great halibut burgers on the boat harbor.

The Sweet Tooth Cafe (907)983-2405 serves cafe fare in a turn-of-the-century soda shop environment. Excellent sandwiches. Open year round.

The Kone Kompany, right on Broadway, serves ice cream cones in many flavors, homemade chocolates and fudge and candy.

The Stowaway Cafe is a lovely little romantic restaurant near the small boat harbor. Fine cuisine, friendly atmosphere.

The Red Onion Bar, on lower Broadway near the docks, was a famous gold miner's saloon. It is still the most popular bar in town. There are often impromptu jam sessions as musicians come off the ship. A good stop for a sandwich and a beer.

The lounge at the Hotel is a nice place to have a quiet drink. Floor shows in the Gold Rush style are featured on some weeknights. Another favorite local bar is Moe's Frontier Bar, a great spot for catching the feel of real Alaskan nightlife.

Itinerary Options

Chilkoot Trail: If you can spend some extra time in the Skagway area, hike at least part of the Chilkoot trail for a real taste of the gold rush. Through a 33-mile outdoor museum littered with relics of the past, the full trip is a 3-day hike.

The Chilkoot Trail is an historic backcountry trail, overseen by the National Park Service. There is a ranger station near the trailhead above Dyea, eight miles from Skagway.

You will need a good tent, able to withstand heavy winds, as well as hiking boots, rain gear, a backpack stove and warm clothes. Information and maps are available from the National Park Service at the old train depot in Skagway. Be sure to check in with the Park Service. For information and maps before you go, write to the Superintendent, Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park, P.O. Box 517, Skagway, AK 99840. 907-983-2921 or 800-661-0486.

This is a fabulous, though arduous, hike. Due to often severe and unpredictable weather conditions, it is not one to be undertaken lightly. On a 3-day hike , the first night's stop should be at Sheep Camp, just before the steep grade, so that you can start fresh in the morning. On the second night, camp either at Deep Lake or Lindeman City. (In the spring of '98, it was a tent town with 10,000 inhabitants!)

You must pre-clear Canadian customs by calling (403) 821-4111. Contact Gray Line in Skagway for service from Log Cabin back to Skagway. Call them in Skagway before you leave, and remember that Log Cabin in the Yukon is one hour behind Alaska time.

White Pass and Yukon Route Train available every day from Lake Bennett (at end of trail) back to Skagway for $65 (1/2 off for kids 3-12).

Bed and Breakfast Inns