Gateway to the Yukon Territory, Yakutania Point, the Chilkoot Trail: With so many historical and naturally stunning attractions, there are an almost endless number of things to do in Skagway! This quaint port town, settled around the end of the 19th century by hopeful gold rushers, is among the last stops for many northbound Inside Passage cruisers. After experiencing some of the countless exciting things to do in Skagway, though, visitors may just feel that they’ve saved the best for last! After all, besides its inherent historic interest, Skagway has some of the most exciting shore excursions Alaska has to offer!
Well-researched Skagway visitors will likely be familiar with such excursions as the Glacier Point Wilderness Safari, which grants adventurers access to the gorgeous (but rapidly shrinking!) Davidson Glacier. This massive tongue of ice is situated just outside of the neighboring town of Haines, known colloquially as the Adventure Capital of the World! Other classic favorites among some of the top shore excursions Alaska features include the Yukon Discovery Tour, whereby visitors gain access to the stunning, historically significant, and still-wild Yukon Territory, and the Bennett Lake Scenic Journey, a train adventure that follows a similar itinerary. These options represent just the tip of the iceberg, however, for things to do in Skagway, as folks willing to go a bit off the beaten path will find truly unlimited options for new and exciting experiences!
With some of the most scenic shore excursions Alaska offers, a powerful historical legacy, and extensive wildlife, Skagway is a gem among Inside Passage destinations!
Average July Temperature (degrees farenheit)
$ earned by Nordstroms Founder in the Gold Rush
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Why I Love Skagway
“The history of the Klondike Gold Rush makes Skagway one of the most historic areas in the Inside Passage. In some ways, the same adventurous, pioneering attitude is tangible in the small town even today. Skagway also provides cruise visitors one of the rare opportunities to get off the coast and head inland to explore the notorious Yukon Territory.”
Downtown Skagway is quite small and easily walkable. If you’d like to venture into the Yukon on your own, you can find rental cars through Avis Rent-A-Car (907-983-2247) & Affordable Car Rentals (907-983-2523).
Skagway’s Municipal and Regional Transit (S.M.A.R.T.) Bus is the local transit system that is easy to use, affordable and convenient. The Smart Bus runs May 1 – October 1:
- 7 am to 9 pm – Buses run every 20 minutes from all cruise ship docks into town, with stops at 3rd, 5th & 7th Avenue.
- 10 am to 5 pm – Buses run every 30 minutes from 3rd Avenue to the north end of town, with stops at 3rd, 5th & 7th Avenue, the Gold Rush Cemetery road, Alaska 360 and Jewell Gardens.
- Wheelchair lift-equipped buses are available. $5 per person – All Day Pass $2 per person – One Way
- Broadway – At the end of Broadway St, the main street in Downtown Skagway.
- Ore – Farthest from the railway, closest to the helicopter base.
- Railroad Dock – Closest to the railway.
- Ferry Dock – Only for very small cruise ships.
- The Arctic Brotherhood Hall – You can’t miss the most photographed building in Alaska, with its nearly 9,000 driftwood sticks collected from Skagway Bay attached to it. Built in 1899 as a fraternal hall, it is now home to the Skagway Convention & Visitors Bureau.
- The Chilkoot Trail – “The world’s longest outdoor museum” is the beginning of the route to the Yukon Goldfields. The 33-mile trail offers spectacular hiking from tidewater at Dyea to Bennett Lake in Canada (17 trail miles in the US; 16 miles in Canada).
- Dyea – The once bustling town of Dyea is now cherished by locals and visitors alike for its quiet beauty. Dyea was established several centuries ago as a summer camp by the Tlingit Natives. In 1897 the city was filling with gold seekers but almost disappeared shortly after due to a fatal avalanche and the construction of the railroad in Skagway.
- White Pass & Yukon Route – Built in 1898 during the Klondike Gold Rush, the White Pass and Yukon Route Narrow Gauge Railway is an International Historic Civil Engineering Landmark. The WPYR Railway gains nearly 3,000 feet in 20 miles all while providing magnificent views of waterfalls, gorges, glaciers, trestles and historic sites via their vintage rail cars.
- Red Onion Saloon – A favorite among locals, this bar/restaurant/museum/music venue was a brothel back in the Gold Rush days. You can take a bawdy madam-guided tour of the historic brothel, or just stop in for pizza and a beer.
- Yakutania Point – Yakutania Point is a pleasantly easy, 1.6-mile hike that is a stone’s throw away from the ship. There’s a good chance that you will see some seals and possibly some humpback whales or even orcas out at the Point. Grab a bite in town and head out for a picnic and enjoy the sound of the waves, seabirds, and eagles.
- Skagway Museum – Located in Skagway’s City Hall, the first stone building in Alaska, this museum highlights the town’s unique history. On display are items such as a Tlingit canoe, Bering Sea kayaks, a WP&YR locomotive and caboose, and a 1931 Ford AA truck. Also exhibited are supplies, tools and gambling equipment used in the Klondike Gold Rush and an Alaska Native heritage collection of baskets, beadwork, and carvings.
- Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park Museum – Located in the original 1898 White Pass & Yukon Route depot, the center is spread over two interconnecting buildings. One contains an exhibit that highlights some of the Klondike background with an emphasis on the two routes out of Skagway: Chilkoot Pass and White Pass. The other is a visitor center staffed by park rangers where you can sign up for walking tours and view a 25-minute film, Gold Fever: Race to the Klondike.
- Small Boat Harbor – Meeting spot for several tours.
- Haines-Skagway Fast Ferry – 45-minute ferry ride that travels to Haines and back.
- Skagway Fish Company – $$ Seafood, American
- Bites on Broadway – $ American, Café
- Poppie’s Garden Restaurant – $$ Organic, Fresh, Local
- StarFire – $$ Thai
- Glacial Smoothies & Espresso – $ Juice Bar, Café, Deli
- Skagway Brew Co – $$ American
- Gold Digger Mine and Dine – $$ Filipino
- Olivia’s Alaskan Bistro – $$ Seafood, Mexican, American
- Bonanza Bar & Grill – $$ American
- Northern Lights Pizzeria – $$ Pizza
- Sweet Tooth Café – $$ Café
- Red Onion Saloon – $$ American
Featured Restaurants & Breweries
- Poppies – Located inside a greenhouse at the beautiful Jewell Gardens, this restaurant serves up delicious, fresh, organic garden ingredients with their seafood and vegetarian lunch items. Open daily from 11am – 3pm, consider a Glassblowing Experience next door before or after your lunch!
- Skagway Brew Co – Established in 1897, this microbrewery is a favorite among locals and visitors. Dedicated to creating fresh, unfiltered ales using pure Alaskan water, their signature Spruce Tip Blonde Ale has received high praise. The food menu is also impressive, featuring delicious options for everyone from locally caught seafood to burgers to gluten-free and vegetarian options.
- StarFire – In the mood for something other than seafood? StarFire offers a predominantly Thai based menu, with a few surprises. A cozy environment with friendly staff and absolutely delicious, authentic Thai food… it’s no wonder people travel from afar to get their StarFire fix.