24 Things To Do In Skagway Alaska Cruise Port

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Downtown Skagway Alaska with a cruise ship and snow capped mountain visible in the background

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Skagway is a historic small town with a rich history along the Alaska panhandle.

Don’t let its small size fool you.

Skagway Alaska was once the heart of the gold rush. Decades later, it is one of the most popular destinations for cruise ships and tourists.

The small-town charm, gold rush history, and breathtaking train rides provide plenty of excitement for visitors.

Whether you’re researching an Alaskan cruise itinerary or considering booking a shore excursion, here are our favorite things to do in Skagway, Alaska.

Things to do in Skagway Alaska

Despite its small size, Skagway Alaska offers a wide range of activities and shore excursions.

Do you want to explore the local shops, take a train ride on the historic White Pass railroad, hike one of the many trails, explore the gold rush history, or experience dog sledding?

Choosing an activity can be overwhelming, with so much to see and do.

We’ve compiled a list of our favorite things to do in Skagway, Alaska, to help you decide.

1. Ride the White Pass & Yukon Route Railway

Ride the White Pass & Yukon Route Railroad in Skagway Alaska with mountains in the backgroundPin

The White Pass & Yukon Route Railway is my favorite thing to do in Skagway, Alaska. This historic railway offers an unforgettable trip through the breathtaking landscapes of Alaska and the Yukon.

It’s a journey filled with historical and scenic beauty.

View of a mountain in Skagway Alaska from White Pass & Yukon Route Railroad with the yellow engine on the rightPin
(Photo by Marcello/High Seas Cruising)

Built in 1898 during the Klondike Gold Rush, the White Pass & Yukon Route Railroad is a testament to human determination and ingenuity. The railroad was constructed to offer a more direct route to the Yukon’s gold fields, replacing the perilous trails that prospectors had to navigate on foot.

At several points along the ride, you can see the original foot route taken by explorers.

White Pass Railroad Engine traveling over the iconic wooden bridgePin
(Photo by Marcello/High Seas Cruising)

The vintage rail cars take you to almost 3,000 feet above sea level, where you’ll witness breathtaking scenes, including the 1898 Original Klondike Trail, Inspiration Point, Bridal Veil Falls, and Dead Horse Gulch.

The one to three-hour excursion retraces the steps of miners’ journey to find fortune as you will discover various gorges, glaciers, canyons, waterfalls, bridges, tunnels, mountains, and wildlife.

Ride the White Pass & Yukon Route Railroad traveling on a wooden bridge and entering a tunnelPin
(Photo by Marcello/High Seas Cruising)

It is mind-blowing to see a rock face on one side and a steep drop on the other. A highlight of the journey is crossing wooden bridges.

Fun Fact

The wooden bridge you cross isn’t original to the rail line. The original wooden bridge was decommissioned and collapsed in 2021.

But don’t worry. The bridge wasn’t in use at the time, and no one was hurt.

During the ride, tour guides share facts about the history of the gold rush and stories about the miners.

The White Pass & Yukon Route Railway connects passengers to the history and adventure of the Gold Rush era and showcases the awe-inspiring beauty of the North in a way that’s accessible to all.

Book a White Pass & Yukon Route Tour

2. Zipline Through The Rainforest

A woman ziplining through a temperate rainforest in Skagway Alaska. They are securely harnessed and wearing a protective red helmetPin

Alaska is known for its majestic wildlife and wilderness experiences. But imagine having a bird’ s-eye view of Skagway’s lush rainforests and waterfalls.

Ziplining in Skagway offers a unique and exhilarating way to experience Alaska’s stunning temperate rainforest. It’s not just about the thrill of speed and height; it’s a chance to see the area’s natural beauty from a different perspective.

You can sit back and watch nature’s beauty unfold as you zip through the trees.

Throughout the tour, experts support you, sharing historical facts as you hike to your treetop destination, capturing stunning, picturesque photos for your family, or providing a helping hand throughout the experience.

Ziplining is an incredible experience. It is one of my favorite things to do in Skagway.

My Favorite Ziplining Tour

3. Experience Dog Sledding


Sled dog racing is an iconic sport throughout Alaska and an equally popular tourist attraction.

Skagway’s Sled Dog Tours encourages you to push beyond your comfort zone and experience what it takes to become an expert musher. You will learn about the dogs, their training, and the lifestyle of dog sledders.

When I last visited Alaska, I was fortunate to visit a couple of weeks after the birth of puppies.

Holding the “future athletes” was one of the highlights of my trip. We were encouraged to play with the puppies to help them socialize. It’s the first step of their dog sled training.

Marisssa De Lio holding a puppy a a dog sledding shore excursion in Skagway AlaskaPin

Dog sledding tours in Skagway educate you on the Iditarod’s history and sled dogs’ vital role in Alaskan lore. This blend of adventure, education, and cultural immersion makes dog sledding in Skagway a must-do activity.

It’s not just about the ride’s rush; it’s an experience that allows you to step into the shoes of Alaskan mushers and appreciate the beauty and challenges of the Alaskan wilderness.

Book A Dog Sledding Tour

4. See Pitchfork Falls

Despite being one of 40 waterfalls identified by name in Alaska, Pitchfork Falls is one of Skagway’s most incredible beauties.

Gorgeous flora and mountain-side terrain surround the crystal clear lake. The waterfall spans over 200 feet and provides picturesque views and stunning beauty. Located just 7 miles from downtown Skagway, local experts offer guided walking tours that bring you close to the falls and share scientific and historical facts about its existence.

Keep your eyes open for spectacular wildlife animals, including brown or black bears and bald eagles.

5. Take a Scenic Helicopter Ride

Photo of a red helicopter landed on a glacier inalaska with mountains in the backgroundPin

Helicopter tours in Skagway, Alaska, offer awe-inspiring views and a unique perspective on the rugged beauty of America’s Last Frontier. This exhilarating adventure lifts you above the dramatic landscapes of Skagway, providing an eagle-eye view of glaciers, mountains, and the untouched beauty of Alaska.

For those seeking adventure, some helicopter tours combine flights with glacier trekking, dog sledding, or other outdoor activities. Whether you’re an adrenaline junkie or simply someone who appreciates the majesty of nature, a helicopter tour in Skagway is an experience that truly encapsulates the splendor of Alaska.

I haven’t yet had the opportunity to take a helicopter tour in Alaska, but it’s on my bucket list for my next Alaskan cruise.

6. Take a Hiking Trail

Skagway’s hiking trails offer an unparalleled opportunity to immerse yourself in the region’s rugged beauty and serene landscapes. Skagway’s trails invite adventurers of all skill levels to explore the breathtaking vistas, pristine forests, clear blue waterfalls, and the historical remnants that dot the landscape.

What makes hiking in Skagway particularly exhilarating is the diversity of the trails.

Each trail presents a unique adventure, from the challenging ascents of the Chilkoot Trail, which echoes the steps of gold rush stampeders, to the more leisurely paths leading to crystalline lakes and waterfalls.

As you navigate the trails, you walk along paths traversed by Tlingit First Nations, early explorers, and Gold Rush fortune-seekers.

7. Take an Electric Bicycle Tour

Imagine an effortless bike ride through Skagway, Alaska’s scenic town and landscapes. The fresh, crisp air brushes against your face, and a gold panning activity to end the day.

Skaway’s electric bike tours are a fun and easy way to explore the historic city.

As you glide along the paved and dirt roads winding through Skagway’s breathtaking scenery, your knowledgeable guide shares stories about the area’s rich history. You’ll learn about the Klondike Gold Rush and the pioneers who ventured through this landscape while enjoying the ease of riding your electric bike.

After soaking in the stunning vistas and historical tales, you’ll try your hand at gold panning. The hands-on experience connects you with the history of the Gold Rush and offers the exciting possibility of finding your own treasure.

This tour is more than just a bike ride; it’s a journey through time and an opportunity to engage with Skagway’s natural beauty and historical significance, whether you’re an avid cyclist or someone looking for a unique way to explore Alaska’s outdoors.

Book a Bike Tour in Skagway

8. Try the Historic Train Carriage Escape Room

No matter our age, we all feel a little excitement when we face a challenge to think outside the box, solve puzzles, race against the clock, or compete against our family and friends.

Skagway’s Historic Train Carriage Escape Room is the place for innovative or creative passengers who crave this type of thrill on their vacation.

This 60-minute puzzle game involves you and your group working through clues and activities that prompt players to solve different missions. Upon entering, up to six players will be debriefed and locked in the puzzle room.

Players must collaborate to unravel some of Skagway’s deepest, darkest secrets that will eventually crack the code to escape. The escape room experience is a fun way to spend time with your loved ones. The memories created here will be filled with joy and last a lifetime.

9. Take a River Float Trip

The calm river during a river float trip with mountains in the backgroundPin
(Photo by Marcello/High Seas Cruising)

Embarking on a float trip while cruising through Alaska is an adventure that combines the thrill of discovery with the soothing embrace of nature’s calm. Envision yourself gently bobbing along an emerald river, cradled by Alaska’s pristine wilderness.

This tranquil journey grants you a front-row seat to the awe-inspiring beauty of the Last Frontier.

As your raft meanders downstream, the backdrop of rugged mountains and lush forests offers a relaxing break from the fast pace of cruising.

A float trip on your Alaskan cruise is unique because of its universal appeal. It’s an adventure that welcomes all and requires no special skills or endurance. Float trips are a perfect choice for families, and the tranquil setting makes them an ideal shore excursion for couples.

It’s an inclusive way to delve into Alaska’s vast wilderness, offering everyone a chance to behold the scenic wonders of this remote paradise without the need for vigorous exertion.

Book A River Float Tour

10. Explore the Historic Downtown Skagway

Mainstreet Skagway Alaska with historically accurate buildings and wooden boardwalksPin
(Photo by Marcello/High Seas Cruising)

Skagway’s historic downtown is an enchanting journey back in time, offering incredible restaurants and stores and a vivid snapshot of the town’s rich history.

As you wander down the charming wooden boardwalks, you’re stepping into a living museum, where every building and storefront tells a story of the past. Skagway’s Main Street is an essential spot for foodies and souvenir hunters.

My favorite stops are Olivia’s Alaskan Bistro and the Skagway Fish Company, offering grilled salmon and fresh king crab legs. These eateries serve meals and a taste of Alaskan hospitality and the rich bounty of its waters.

For beer lovers, Skagway Brewing Co. offers a great selection of locally crafted beers.

Photo of historic Skagway downtown. Cruise ship passengers browse the streets through restaurants and shopsPin

Beyond the culinary scene, downtown Skagway is a history and culture treasure trove. Stroll past historic saloons and explore engaging museums that bring the Gold Rush era to life, or take in a show at one of the historic theaters. The Arctic Brotherhood Hall stands as a particularly captivating sight. The hall is an excellent stop for photos, with its façade adorned with driftwood.

Skagway’s downtown is small. Walking it from end to end only takes a few minutes. Main Street envelops you in a sense of belonging in a small community.

This blend of history, community, and the simple joy of discovery makes exploring downtown Skagway one of the most rewarding experiences for visitors seeking the essence of this unique Alaskan town.

11. Visit Jewell Gardens

Discovering the enchanting Jewell Gardens is a quintessential Skagway experience. The gardens capture why this town is affectionately known as the “Garden City of Alaska.”

The gardens are a stone’s throw from the hustle and bustle of Skagway’s downtown. Jewell Gardens is a living canvas painted with the vivid hues of Alaska’s wildflowers. Among them is the state’s treasured Alpine Forget-Me-Not, a delicate bloom embodying the Alaskan wilderness’s enduring beauty and resilience.

The beautiful flower displays are an incredible backdrop for your social media photos.

But Jewell Gardens’ beauty extends beyond its floral wonders. It is also a showcase for the exquisite art of glassblowing, a craft perfected by skilled local artisans. These unique glass creations add an extra layer of enchantment to the gardens, marrying the fragility of glass with the fleeting beauty of blooms.

Under the guidance of Charlotte Jewell, the gardens invite visitors to delve deeper into the world of glass with tours of the Gardens Glass Gallery and Art Studio. Here, the magic of glassblowing comes alive in live demonstrations. Visitors even have the chance to create their own glass ornament, a tangible and lasting memento of their journey to Skagway, which is thoughtfully shipped to your home, ensuring the memories of your visit linger.

The adventure through Jewell Gardens culminates in a delightful culinary experience at Poppies Restaurant. Here, the bounty of the gardens comes full circle, with dishes featuring the organic produce grown on-site, allowing you to savor the taste of Skagway’s Garden City in every bite.

Book A Tour of the Jewell Gardens

12. Watch the Salmon Run

A photo taken from the shore of a river in Skagway Alaska of salmon swiming upstream during the salmon runPin

Alaska’s allure extends into its rich marine life. Salmon is a staple of the local cuisine and an annual natural spectacle, with the famous salmon run.

Alaska’s salmon run coincides with the cruise season, lasting between May through October. It’s an annual migration where salmon swim upstream to spawn in freshwater rivers and lakes.

Pullen Creek—also called Dewey Creek—provides a front-row seat to this magnificent event. You have the unique opportunity to observe Chinook and Pink salmon on their relentless journey upstream.

The salmon run is a powerful display of nature’s cycle as they return to their spawning grounds.

Harbor seals and grizzly bears are frequent visitors drawn by the allure of a salmon feast.

Visiting the salmon rush offers the opportunity to see a magnificent event and the chance to see bears along the riverside.

Fun Story

While traveling to Chilkoot Lake, I saw thousands of salmon swimming upstream. At one point, a narrow bridge with a single chair overlooked the river. A person sat every day counting the salmon swimming through the river so conservationists could monitor wildlife populations.

I worried about the worker when I spotted a bear on the riverbank. But our tour guide reassured me that the salmon was so plentiful that the bears wouldn’t bother him.

Now, when I think of the salmon run, I can’t think of that person sitting day by day counting fish. The tally is posted on a nearby sign. The count was more than 40,000 when I visited—a mindblowing number of fish for a small lake.

13. Spot Wildlife on Chilkoot Lake

View of chilkoot lake from ground levelPin
(Photo by Marcello/High Seas Cruising)

A journey to Chilkoot Lake is an awe-inspiring experience. This adventure begins with a thrilling high-speed catamaran journey through Skagway’s picturesque fjords en route to Haines, Alaska. Along the way, the breathtaking landscape unfolds with majestic waterfalls cascading down and glaciers etching the distant shores.

As you glide across the water, keep your eyes peeled for the diverse wildlife inhabiting the coastline and skies. Bears strolling along the shore, harbor seals basking in the sun, bald eagles soaring overhead, and eagles gliding on the breeze.

Chilkoot Lake is a beautiful landscape. Stunning snow-capped mountains surround the large crystal lake.

The park’s rich ecosystem supports a vibrant array of wildlife, including thousands of salmon jumping and spawning in the shallow waters near shore.

When I visited Chilkoot Lake, our tour guide shared stories about Tlingit culture and the science behind the glaciers that shape the Alaskan landscape.

14. Klondike Gold Rush National Historic Park

Klondike Gold Rush National Historic Park museum located in skagwayPin

The Klondike Gold Rush National Historic Park is a captivating site that is a testament to human perseverance, ambition, and the allure of adventure. The park takes you back to the late 19th century when thousands of hopeful miners rushed to the Klondike region, hoping to find gold and change their fortunes forever.

Here’s why visiting this historic park ranks as one of Skagway’s best experiences.

The Klondike Gold Rush museum is a short walk from the cruise park and spans approximately 12,900 acres of the pristine Alaskan wilderness. It serves as a living museum dedicated to safeguarding the heritage, landscapes, and stores of the Gold Rush.

The park’s essence lies in its ability to transport visitors back in time, offering a vivid glimpse into the challenges and triumphs of the past.

The welcome sign welcoming visitors to Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park in Skagway, AlaskaPin
(Photo by Marcello/High Seas Cruising)

Park Rangers greet you and share stories and artifacts from the Klondike Gold Rush. Through engaging presentations and compelling video narratives, they share the miners’ personal stories, dreams, and what life was like for those hoping to find fortune.

The park’s museum is a treasure trove filled with genuine artifacts, aged machinery, and memorabilia. The displays provide a unique lens through which you can explore the daily lives, struggles, and hopes of those who ventured into this remote wilderness in search of gold.

This immersive experience allows you to retrace the miners’ steps, offering a tangible connection to the history of Skagway and the Gold Rush.

For those inspired by the museum’s tales, the Chilkoot Trail offers a physical connection to history. This historic trail was once trodden by hopeful prospectors who made their way to the Klondike gold fields in the Yukon province in Canada.

The trail offers visitors the chance to walk in adventurers’ footsteps, experiencing the Alaskan landscape’s rugged beauty just as they did. It’s a profound experience that not many people get to experience.

15. Red Onion Saloon Brothel Museum

The exterior of the Red Onion Saloon in SkagwayPin
(Photo by Marcello/High Seas Cruising)

The Red Onion Saloon was constructed in 1898 during the height of the Alaskan Gold Rush. The museum is a captivating window into the lives of the brave miners and the women who were integral to Skagway’s vibrant, albeit notorious, past.

Originally a bordello, this establishment now serves as a museum. It offers visitors a glimpse into a bygone era characterized by hardship and the pursuit of fortune.

The Red Onion Saloon Brothel Museum invites you to delve into the stories of the women who ran this bustling dance hall and bar. You’ll uncover the fascinating history of the Gold Rush brothels, including the untold secrets and stories.

After journeying through Skagway’s more colorful history, the experience continues in the saloon’s restaurant. The restaurant is a fantastic stop for pizza and local craft beer.

The Red Onion Saloon Brothel Museum provides an intriguing insight into the social dynamics of the Gold Rush-era town and reminds visitors of the diverse stories that shaped Skagway.

16. Take the Ghosts and Goodtime Girls Historical Walking Tour

Dive into the shadowy corners of Skagway’s past with the Ghosts and Goodtime Girls Historical Walking Tour. It’s an experience that transports you back to the wild days of the Gold Rush.

Walk through the historic streets of Skagway, where guides share tales of daring adventurers and spirited good-time girls.

The tour peels back the layers of Skagway’s history, revealing the human stories and hidden haunts behind the town’s lively facade. You’ll learn about the infamous characters who left their mark on the city and the ghost stories that have lingered through the decades.

The Ghosts and Goodtime Girls Historical Walking Tour is an immersive experience that brings old Skagway’s vibrancy, vice, and vitality to life. This shore excursion is perfect for fans of the paranormal and those looking to experience a darker side of Skagway.

17. Gold Rush Cemetery

The grave of Soapy Smith in Skagway, Alaska at the Gold Rush CemeteryPin

While it might not top your initial list of must-see destinations in Skagway, the Gold Rush Cemetery offers a captivating glimpse into the turbulent times of 1897. The cemetery is only 1.5 miles away from Skagway’s downtown. It’s also visible from the White Pass train ride.

This historic site is the final resting place of some of the most colorful figures from Alaska’s Gold Rush era, including the notorious Jefferson “Soapy” Smith and the intriguing Martin Itjen.

“Soapy” Smith is known for his infamous cons and political manipulations. He left a legacy of deceit that embodies the lawless days of the Gold Rush. His grave is a stark reminder of the shadowy figures who once roamed the streets of Skagway, seeking fortune by any means necessary.

In stark contrast, Martin Itjen’s contribution to Skagway’s history tells a tale of fortune and the early seeds of tourism he helped sow in the area. Martin is famous for discovering what was claimed to be the “world’s largest golden nugget.” Itjen is also remembered for his efforts to promote Skagway to visitors, showcasing the town’s unique charm and historical significance.

The cemetery is also the final resting place for several other notable characters whose lives intertwined with the Gold Rush, whose names are on the National Park Services’ website. Visiting the Gold Rush Cemetery offers a unique opportunity to step back in time and explore the enduring legacies of Skagway’s most memorable inhabitants.

This historical site provides a look into the past and a reflection on the diverse stories that together weave the fabric of Alaska’s Gold Rush era.

18. Visit Klondike Brewing Company

The Klondike Brewing Company is a beacon for craft beer enthusiasts and history buffs. This local brewery offers a unique blend of flavors and tells stories of the region’s rugged past and vibrant community spirit.

At Klondike Brewing Company, the art of beer making is deeply intertwined with Skagway’s heritage. Visitors can indulge in various meticulously crafted beers, from refreshing ales to rich stouts.

Each brew is infused with local ingredients and inspired by the adventurous spirit of the Klondike Gold Rush.

The warm, welcoming atmosphere is perfect for gathering with friends, sharing stories, and making new memories. It’s a great spot to relax after a hike or escape the hustle of a busy cruise ship.

With its rustic decor and friendly staff, the brewery captures the essence of Skagway’s past while celebrating the community’s present-day vibrancy.

19. Skagway Museum and Archives

(Photo Credit: Skagway.com)

As the gateway to the Klondike, Skagway witnessed a bustling parade of hopeful gold-seekers. This historic rush left a mark on the city, with countless stories and artifacts embedded in the fabric of Skagway’s past.

These treasures are meticulously preserved within the walls of the Skagway Museum and Archives. The building was constructed in 1898 and has served various roles, from school to courthouse to a jail and now a museum.

This museum is a treasure trove of Gold Rush-era memorabilia. You can dive deeply into the history and cultures that shaped Alaska through photographs, documents, and personal accounts.

But its collections go beyond the frenzy of the gold rush, with a collection of Indigenous Alaskan artifacts that offer a glimpse into the area’s ancient heritage.

Visitors can marvel at mammoth tusks, admire the craftsmanship of a traditional Tlingit canoe, and explore the intricate beauty of beadworks and wood carvings. Each piece tells a story of culture and survival in Alaska’s harsh landscapes.

The Skagway Museum and Archives offer a comprehensive journey through time, making it an ideal destination for families and individuals who wish to uncover the history of Skagway and the Klondike Gold Rush.

It’s not just a museum; it’s a portal to the past, inviting exploration, learning, and discovery for all who enter.

20. Enjoy the Davidson Glacier


First encountered in the Chilkat Inlet in 1867, Davidson Glacier remains one of Skagway’s most breathtaking natural wonders. Excursions to this blue ice glacier are an awe-inspiring journey.

There are several ways to visit the glacier. Whether you choose a 6-hour scenic boat cruise, paddle through serene waters on a canoe, or soar above the landscape on a 5-hour helicopter ride to the glacier’s base.

Keep your camera ready—not just for the glacier itself but also for the marine life inhabiting these waters. The opportunity to spot whales, seals, and dolphins in their natural habitat adds an extra layer of excitement to the adventure.

Book My Favorite Tour to Davidson Glacier

21. Liarsville Gold Rush Trail Camp Tours and Tickets

Liarsville Gold Rush Trail Camp offers the opportunity to try your luck panning for gold. No visit to Alaska is complete without immersing yourself in the excitement and history of the Gold Rush era.

Liarsville Gold Rush Trail Camp is perfect for families and people of all ages. It’s an interactive journey into the heart of Skagway’s storied past.

And the best part?

Whatever gold you find, you keep, turning your adventure into a tangible memory you can hold onto forever.

Book Tickets to Liarsville Gold Rush Trail

22. The Days of ’98 Show

A historic small town like Skagway would not be complete without a classic, beautiful, lively theater.

Established in 1923, the Foe No. 25 theater is home to the Days of the ’98 Show, featuring upbeat song choreography and endless comedy that will surely leave audience members at the edge of their seats. With shows available throughout the day, this theater offers a captivating and entertaining way to learn about Skagway’s greatest outlaws, such as “Soapy Smith,” the history of the city, and the Gold Rush Era.

As theater seats are a hot commodity among travelers, purchase your tickets well in advance to secure your spot. 

23. Skagway Brewing Company

Skagway’s Brewing Company is the perfect restaurant, brewery, and pub if you are looking for good-tasting Alaskan cuisine or want to relax with a nice cold one.

This brewery is renowned for its divine homebrewed ales and remarkable wine collection using the highest-quality local ingredients.

But if alcoholic beverages are not your style, don’t worry.

The Brewing Company offers something extraordinary for every type of diner to enjoy.

The restaurant’s lunch and dinner menus include seafood, sandwiches, and pasta and gluten-free, vegetarian, and kid-friendly choices that suit each guest’s unique taste buds. 

24. Participate in a Photography Tour

Embarking on a photography tour in Skagway, Alaska, is like stepping into a living postcard. Skagway presents an unrivaled canvas with the natural beauty of mountains and waterfalls alongside the beautiful historic buildings of Skagway’s downtown.

A photography tour in Skagway isn’t just about snapping pictures; it’s an immersive experience that guides you through the art of seeing. Led by seasoned photographers with an intimate knowledge of the area, you’re introduced to hidden gems and vantage points that offer breathtaking views of towering mountains, serene waters, and lush forests.

Whether it’s the vibrant hues of sunrise bathing the landscape in golden light or the mystical aura of fog rolling over the hills, each moment provides a unique opportunity to capture the essence of Alaska’s wilderness.

The colorful facades of historic buildings, the intricate details of Tlingit art, and the lively expressions of locals and visitors alike add depth and storytelling to your photographic journey.

A photography tour in this vibrant town encourages you to explore different perspectives, from the exquisite to the intricate, ensuring that each photograph tells a story, evokes an emotion, or captures a moment in time.

25. Explore the Yukon Territory

Exploring the Yukon Territory from Skagway, Alaska, offers an unforgettable journey into a land where the spirit of the Gold Rush still echoes amidst the vast. The Yukon, with its sprawling landscapes, dramatic mountain vistas, and pristine lakes, represents the untamed beauty and rugged history of the North like no other place.

Setting off from Skagway, you can venture into the Yukon via the scenic South Klondike Highway.

This route is a marvel, winding through towering mountain ranges, past serene alpine lakes, and alongside the rushing waters of the Yukon River. Each turn presents a new postcard-worthy scene, offering glimpses of wildlife and the raw majesty of the northern wilderness.

The journey into the Yukon is as much about the journey itself as the destination.

Along the way, travelers can stop at historic sites that tell stories of hardship and hope that defined the Gold Rush era. The charming town of Carcross, Yukon, serves as a highlight, where you can explore the cultural heritage of the Tagish First Nation and marvel at the famous Carcross Desert, the world’s smallest desert.

Skagway Alaska History

Downtown Skagway Alaska with a cruise ship and snow capped mountain visible in the backgroundPin

Skagway is nestled at the northern tip of Alaska’s Inside Passage. The small town serves as a living monument to the dreams and hardships of the Gold Rush era.

The Tlingit people originally inhabited the area. Skagway is derived from the Tlingit word “skagua,” meaning “place where the north wind blows.” It speaks to the natural forces that shape this land.

Skagway’s foundation in the 1890s marked it as the gateway to the Yukon and Klondike goldfields. It served as a staging ground for hopeful explorers seeking fortune.

The arrival of gold seekers in the late 19th century transformed Skagway from a modest settlement into a bustling city. Hopeful miners set out on foot to reach the gold fields.

Construction on the White Pass and Yukon Route (WP&YR) Railroad was completed in 1900 and became the primary route for miners. The railway serviced the gold mines and became an iconic symbol of this era, connecting Skagway to Whitehorse, Canada.

Although the railroad ceased operations in 1982 due to the closure of the Anvil Gold Mines, it was revived in 1988 for tourists eager to witness the beauty and history of this rugged landscape.

Modern-day Skagway offers a rich history and stunning scenery that draws visitors from around the globe. The town’s tourism thrives on the stories of the past, offering guests a window into the wild days of the Gold Rush. The city remains a vibrant community where the past and present merge.

Skagway is one of the most popular cruise ports, with over 1.2 million annual passengers visiting (Source).

What You Need to Know Before Visiting Skagway

Serenade of the Seas docked at Skagway, Alaska cruise port ona beautiful day with a Holland America Line ship in the background and a mountainPin

Navigating Skagway, Alaska Cruise Port

As your cruise ship approaches Skagway, Alaska, you’ll dock at one of the town’s four main docking points, accommodating up to four cruise ships. Main Street is only a short walk from all four cruise docks.

  • Broadway Dock: Found at the very end of Broadway, this dock places you directly in line with Skagway’s bustling main street.
  • Railroad Dock: Situated on the town’s southern edge, this dock offers immediate access to scenic railroad adventures.
  • Ore Dock: Located at Main Street’s terminus, it hints at Skagway’s rich mining heritage.
  • Ferry Dock: Just a brief stroll from downtown, this dock accommodates ferries and smaller vessels and integrates seamlessly with the town’s quaint charm.

Upon disembarking, you’ll find Skagway’s compact nature both welcoming and accessible. This convenient location allows for easy on-foot exploration of the city’s main attractions, including museums, shops, and restaurants.

The small town is only four blocks wide, creating an intimate setting easily accessible by foot.

Skagway offers the Skagway Municipal And Regional Transit (SMART), which operates the SMART shuttle bus. The “Dock to Downtown” service runs every 15 minutes during the cruise season. Other transportation methods include car rentals, taxis, and E-Bike rentals.

Broadway, Skagway’s main artery, is where the heart of the town beats loudest. Nestled among stunning natural beauty, you’ll discover an array of shops, historic sites, and dining establishments. This thoroughfare encapsulates the essence of Skagway, offering a direct pathway to understanding its storied past and vibrant present.


Skagway Alaska cruise port on a foggy day wiht Serenade of the Seas in the forground and Holland America cruise ship in the backgroundPin
(Photo by Marcello/High Seas Cruising)

Skagway, Alaska, offers the best weather along the Inside Passage during the May-September cruise season. It is tucked away in a valley between massive, snow-capped mountains.

The location offers moderate temperatures and minimal rain, but it can also get quite windy. Therefore, you’ll want to bring a windbreaker when you step off the cruise ship.

May starts with fresh spring air and average temperatures around 50°F, ideal for enjoying the region’s natural beauty without crowds. June and July are warmer, up to 65°F, benefiting from extended daylight for outdoor activities. With changing foliage, August sees a slight temperature drop and more rain. September cools down, introducing early autumn’s colors, a quieter atmosphere, and more rain.


As Skagway is part of the United States, the local currency is the U.S. Dollar. Visitors from outside the U.S. should plan to exchange their currency accordingly.

Major credit cards are widely accepted in Skagway, particularly in tourist areas and by tour operators. It’s a good idea to carry some cash for small purchases, tips, and vendors that may not accept cards.

ATMs are available throughout the city for those needing to withdraw cash.

What to Pack

Embarking on a journey to Skagway, Alaska, is like stepping into a world where nature’s grandeur meets historical intrigue. Knowing what to pack for your cruise to Skagway, Alaska, is essential to make the most of your vacation.

The cornerstone of your Skagway packing list is layers.

Start with breathable, moisture-wicking base layers that keep you dry and comfortable during hikes or outdoor excursions. Add mid-layers, such as fleece or wool sweaters, for insulation, and cap it off with a waterproof and windproof outer layer to protect against sudden rain showers and gusty winds.

Packing multiple layers of clothes allows you to seamlessly adjust to the day’s changing temperatures and conditions.

Comfortable, waterproof walking or hiking shoes are necessary for exploring Skagway’s terrain. Packaging sturdy shoes with good grip keeps you safe and comfortable.

Remember to pack accessories like a brimmed hat, UV-protection sunglasses for sunny days, gloves, and a warm hat for chillier mornings and evenings. A lightweight, waterproof daypack is invaluable for carrying essentials like water, snacks, and your camera to capture Skagway’s breathtaking vistas.

I recommend bringing binoculars and a high-quality camera to enjoy Skagway’s stunning natural beauty.

If you plan specific activities, like glacier tours or kayaking, it is advisable to pack appropriate gear or confirm rental options in advance.

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