The world-famous Alaska Inside Passage ends in Skagway, in the southeast of the US state of Alaska. At the end of the 19th century, the place, which today has around 850 inhabitants, was the starting point of the Klondike gold rush in neighboring Canada. From Skagway, the "Stampeders" called gold prospectors reached the gold grounds on the Klondike River as quickly as possible.
Welcome to Alaska
Alaska's high-traffic cruise destination
Although gold is still extracted in modest amounts in the Klondike region today, the gold rush was a long time ago. Skagway, the place with the northernmost, ice-free deep-water harbor in North America, connects the sea route with the highways leading into the Yukon area as well as into the northwestern Arctic region. From May to September, Skagway is a busy cruise destination. Up to five cruise ships are moored at the three piers during the season. For 2017, the port statistics show 782.000 passengers and 350.000 crew members. The plans for 2018 so far include a total of 410 ship calls. On peak days, up to 8.000 passengers visit the tranquil small town.
Cruise ship Norwegian Sun at Ore Dock
A city as if designed on the drawing board
You shouldn't expect the Louvre or the Eiffel Tower in Skagway. Instead, day guests are offered a wonderfully beautiful landscape and a picture-book location. The community looks like it was designed on the drawing board. Alaska Street, Main Street, State Street, Broadway, and Spring Street run northeast through the city. Cross streets, from 1st Street to 23rd Street, intersect the five streets. The runway of the regional airport runs parallel to Alaska Street.
Broadway from Skagway
Broadway - Skagway's main shopping street
Broadway is Skagway's main shopping street. On it are ancient-looking, mostly flat or two-story buildings with “false facades”, so-called “false fronts”. The sometimes bizarre shops and pubs are a magical attraction for cruise ship passengers. Some of the restored homes belong to the Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park. In the buildings, everyday scenes from the location's heyday around 120 years ago are realistically reproduced.
Wrong facades in Skagway
White Pass & Yukon Route Railway
What else can the day guest experience besides shopping in Skagway? There is strong demand for journeys on the White Pass & Yukon Route Railway, which was built within 26 months of the Klondike Gold Rush. The railway line winds its way over 20 miles from sea level to 873 meters. Steep slopes, waterfalls, tunnels and countless bridges provide enough “thrills” for rail travelers.
Material from the White Pass & Yukon Railway
Overall, the route from Skagway leads over 110 miles to Whitehorse / Yukon. Short trips to the nearby Canadian border are particularly popular. More than 400.000 people, including many cruise ship passengers, take a trip on the historic train during the summer season. However, buses also run to the Canadian border. Under Skagway Landmarks we describe the bus ride up to the Canadian border as well as sights in Skagway.
Rocky landscape at the White Pass
Update April 2021