Ditch the gas-powered vehicles for bicycles, and a ferry, on the 355-mile Golden Circle Loop: Skagway–Haines– Juneau. Named for the gold rush history in this area, this route spans two countries (be sure to carry your passport for border crossings—crossing hours open daily 7 A.M. to 11 P.M. Alaska time) and takes in a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The tour can begin in any of the three communities and includes a ferry ride from Juneau to your starting/ending points (Haines or Skagway); biking the highways between Skagway to Haines; and ending with a ferry ride back to Juneau. Regardless of direction, this route climbs from sea level to 3,500 ft., but you also have a nice downhill on the other end. (Skagway has bike tours that drop riders off north of town at Mile 14.3 South Klondike Highway so they can coast the 11 percent downgrade to town.)
On the Haines Highway, all services are available in Haines, AK; dining, water and lodging at the 33 Mile Roadhouse; water and tenting at Milepost 93.5 Million Dollar Falls Yukon government campground; and all services in Haines Junction, YT, at the junction with the Alaska Highway. From Haines Junction go east 20 miles to Otter Falls Cutoff (dining, water, cabins and camping): the next 80 miles on the Alaska Highway has campgrounds (with water) until Whitehorse, YT, with all services. Continue southeast from Whitehorse 12 miles to the South Klondike Highway, then pedal south 36 miles to Carcross (most services). From Carcross you can hop on the White Pass & Yukon Route Railway to Skagway, AK, or pedal the last 65 miles south. Finish off the Golden Circle Route with a ferry transport back to Alaska’s capital and the state’s second largest city, Juneau.
Traveling by bicycle will allow you to soak up the beauty of this incredible region, but be sure to come prepared. Bring the tools and skills necessary to repair your bike as well as extra gear and brake cables, inner tubes, patch kit and pump. Pack wind/waterproof gear, layer for fluctuating temperatures, water and light-weight food. We recommend saddlebag-style bicycle packs over a back wheel with fender. Remember to keep bear spray and bug spray readily available while you ride. Perhaps most important: wear reflective/high visibility gear and outfit your bicycle with lighting to make certain that traffic will see you as you ride.
Learn more about this route and discover the communities along the way on alaskasgoldencircle.com.