There are many things to do in Skagway, Alaska, including taking a walk down Broadway Street, pictured here. Photo by Kris Valencia.
Skagway is a quintessential southeast Alaska town. Nestled between the mountains and ocean, the town is only a few blocks wide but it is packed with things to do.
Skagway started booming in the summer of 1897, when boatloads of prospectors chasing golden riches poured into Skagway and nearby Dyea on the start of their journey into the Klondike. The city was incorporated in 1900, making Skagway the the oldest incorporated city in Alaska.
The city has a rich history, vibrant contemporary culture and the stunning natural wonders expected in southeast Alaska. There is no shortage of activities, so here’s a list of five things to do in Skagway as a starting point for your visit.
Klondike Gold Rush National Historic Park
Start your exploration of this important piece of Alaska history at the visitor’s center on 2nd and Broadway. The center is housed in a restored railroad depot and offers free guided walking tours, ranger talks and a free 30-minute film.
The park is the nation’s only International Historic Park. It includes areas in Seattle, Skagway, British Columbia and Yukon. Dozens of buildings in downtown Skagway are part of the park. Drive or take a tour a few miles outside of town to visit the former townsite of Dyea and hike a few miles of the Chilkoot Trail.
The Chilkoot Trail is a 33-mile trail that follows the route many stampeders took during the gold rush in 1897 and ’98. It starts in Alaska, crosses the Chilkoot Pass and ends at Lake Bennett in British Columbia. Hikers today often take three to five days to complete the entire trail.
White Pass & Yukon Route Railway
Dubbed “The Scenic Railway of the World,” WP&YR climbs nearly 3,000 feet in about 20 miles as it winds past waterfalls, over trestles and through mountain tunnels. Hardy laborers and deft leaders build the marvel of engineering in 1898 during the gold rush.
Builder “Big” Mike Heney famously claimed, “Give me enough dynamite and snoose and I’ll build you a railroad to hell.”
Walk Broadway Street
Broadway is the main drag through Skagway and is packed with shops, eateries and history.
Start at Centennial Park and work your way north. Stop in the Skagway New Depot to peruse Alaska books. Pick up souvenirs at one of the jewelry shops, clothing stores or art galleries. Quench your thirst with a cocktail at Red Onion Saloon or a Spruce Tip Blonde Ale at Skagway Brewing Company.
Don’t forget to stop along the way to learn about Skagway history.
Visit museums to experience historic Alaska
The Skagway Museum is one block east of Broadway. See Tlingit canoe and an Alaska Native Heritage collection of baskets, beadwork and carvings. Glimpse tools, supplies and gambling equipment from the gold rush era.
The Corrington Museum of Alaska History is on 3rd and Broadway. Stop in for free to see scenes from Alaska history engraved on a walrus tusk.
The Gold Rush Cemetery is about two miles outside of downtown. The headstones for the notorious Soapy Smith and Frank Reid, who died in a gunfight in July 1898, are here.
Take a tour
See the scenery southeast Alaska is famous for by booking a tour out of Skagway.
Ride mountain bikes from White Pass Summit down into Skagway. Take a helicopter tour and fly over glaciers. Fly out to a dog sled camp.