Skagway, Alaska

Skagway is a small town in southeast Alaska. It is a popular stop for cruise ships that travel along the Inside Passage. The town is comprised of gold-rush-era buildings which are preserved as part of the Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park. The White Pass & Yukon Route Railroad run vintage locomotives between Skagway, Alaska and Whitehorse, Yukon Territory. The train travels parallel with Highway 2, the only road into the town of Skagway. There are beautiful views of the mountain range along the highway and/or train ride. Unfortunately, during our stay in Skagway we were subjected to skies filled with a smokey haze due to a forest fire not too far away.

We spent 4 nights in Skagway at the Pullen RV Park. We were actually parked in the parking lot behind the park facing the cruise ships that were in port. Each day 3 or 4 new ships would arrive. Skagway’s population is only around 1,000. When the cruise ships are in port the population jumps tenfold, if not more.

I love how the buildings in the town of Skagway give you a feeling as if you are back in time. Even the sidewalk is made of wood planks.

Looking back the other direction you can see how massive the cruise ships are compared to the town. This was taken in the very early morning, before everybody disembarked from the ship.

The town has the most unique visitor’s center I’ve ever seen. The distinctive building has a facade covered in 8,800 pieces of driftwood. All of the wood was recently replaced or restored. The building was originally built for early pioneers and miners preparing to cross the Chilkoot Pass to reach the Klondike goldfields in the Yukon.

I loved the murals found on the buildings, each telling a historical story.

Panning for gold

We enjoyed learning about Jeff Smith, better known as “Soapy” Smith. He was a notorious outlaw. During the gold rush year of 1898 he and his band of robbers and con artists ran schemes to rob unsuspecting gold stampeders and intimidate the community. However, one day he robbed the wrong person and in the end, Soapy was shot to death in a gunfight. In 1935 Jeff Smith’s Parlor was turned into a home-spun museum with gold-rush era artifacts, folk art, taxidermy, and animatronic manikins. Today the museum is much as it was back then.

One afternoon we took a nice hike up to Dewey Lake. It was a steep walk up the hill to get to the lake, but once there the flat trail around the lake was very nice. We spotted a person swimming in the lake and we were surprised at how warm the water was.

We found a fisherman that had just returned from salmon fishing and was selling each large fish for $25. We bought two of them and got close to 9 pounds of filets out of them. I packaged them up and plan on enjoying them along our road trip. I did cook some up already and it was great!

Our esteemed fisherman sold all of his salmon

Just down the road from Skagway is an area called Dyea. It was once a town but is now a part of the Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park. During the gold rush of 1898 Dyea served as a port for gold rush stampeders. Dyea is has a very shallow port though, while Skagway’s is deep. Therefore, Skagway was a better long term solution as a port. The area is beautiful. We spotted a doe hiding in the flowers as we drove through the area.

We spent a bit of time watching these seabirds fish along the creek.

Beautiful Dyea area

On the way to/from Dyea you get a bird’s eye view of Skagway.

As I mentioned earlier in the post, the White Pass train is a popular tourist attraction. We joined our Fantasy RV group and took a ride on it. It was fairly hazy for much of the ride, but we did enjoy it and was able to get a few decent pictures.

The day we departed Skagway some of the haze lifted and we were able to capture some photos along Highway 2, which is pretty much the same route the train takes. It is a very majestic area.

That about sums up our stay in Skagway. We enjoyed it, although I wish the skies were a little less smokey.

After Skagway we worked our way to Fairbanks, and more importantly, Denali. My next post will be on that area. Stay tuned…….

2 Comments

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2 Responses to Skagway, Alaska

  1. Jon Kling

    We enjoyed the train ride while on a cruise to Alaska before we did our RV life, neat town and wist I had more than a single day to explore.

  2. Sarah Schimmel

    Very cool!

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