Set in southeast Alaska, Skagway is a wonderful city that was the heart of the Klondike Gold Rush. During your visit there, you’ll see many structures and attractions dedicated to that particular era, including original buildings that have been preserved by Gold Rush National Historical Park. Outdoorsy travelers will enjoy seeing many of the area’s natural attractions, such as Davidson Glacier, Emerald Lake, and Pitchfork Waterfalls.
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Originally discovered in 1867, Davidson Glacier is a must-visit natural attraction while in Skagway, Alaska. There are many day cruises lasting around 5 to 6 hours that take you right to the foot of the glacier and back; these tours may include boat rides, raft rides, or canoeing. You’ll see tons of wildlife along way, such as whales and seals, and will be amazed by the breathtaking beauty of your surroundings. Be sure to bring your camera so that you can take amazing photographs of glaciers, waterfalls, the animals, and of course, the towering Davidson Glacier.
2.Jewell Gardens & Garden City Glass Works
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Skagway has historically been known as “the garden city of Alaska” and owner Charlotte Jewell could think of no better place to start up Jewell Gardens & Garden City Glass Works. Charlotte has a rich history with gardening and was influenced by her grandmothers, who both shared their love for flowers and gardening with her. Enjoy your tour of the beautiful gardens and its wide variety of plants. There are whimsical glass installations scattered throughout the grounds, which were created by their very own Garden City Glassworks Artisans. The Garden Railway is fun for visitors of all ages as the G scale model of the White Pass & Yukon Route winds through a model town that resembles Skagway.
Skagway, AK 99840, Phone: 907-983-2111
3.White Pass & Yukon Route Railway
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The White Pass & Yukon Route Railway goes along one of the most scenic rail routes in the world. There are many tours to take, with one of the most popular being the Bennett Scenic Journey, which goes from Skagway to Carcross; the tour also includes a picturesque motor coach drive along the Klondike Highway. This particular escapade is a 120-mile round trip and goes along the same route that the Klondike stampeders went on in 1898. There is a 45-minute layover at Bennett Station, which gives you time to explore the historic gold rush town as well as the White Pass Museum. Many of the rail journeys include a hearty lunch, which is served on board during the trip.
White Pass & Yukon Route Railroad: 231 2nd Avenue, Skagway, AK 99840, Phone: 800-343-7373
4.Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park
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Get to know about the area’s history, nature, and people with a visit to Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park. The actual gold rush was between 1897 and 1898 and brought people from all over the world to settle in Yukon and Alaska. The park preserves many of the historical structures, landscapes, trails, artifacts, and stories of its past, which you’ll be able to explore in detail during your visit there. Additionally, there is an abundant array of flora and fauna that can be found in the park, and you may be able to come across, bears, bats, and various species of birds.
319 2nd Ave S, Seattle, WA 98104, Phone: 206-220-4240
5.Lower Dewey Lake Hiking Trail
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Extremely kid and animal friendly, the Lower Dewey Lake Hiking Trail is a 3-mile loop that visitors and residents love exploring while in Skagway. It is open all year long and will elevate you to approximately 800 feet as you venture through all the natural scenery and activities that are there. You’ll get amazing views of Twin Dewey Peaks as well as the dense greenery in the Northern Coastal Forest. There are several opportunities to go non-motorized boating, fishing, picnicking, or swimming at the sandy beach spots you’ll come across on the trail. Camping is allowed around the lake, so come prepared with the necessities if you want an overnight adventure.
6.Alaska Mountain Guides - Adventure Park & Zip Line
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Ziplining from tree to tree with Alaska Mountain Guides - Adventure Park & Zip Line is hands down one of the most thrilling things to do while in Skagway. It is fun for the entire family, as kids as young as 6 years old can enjoy it, and it will allow you to see incredible mountain views from the top of the ziplines. The entire experience takes about 3.5 hours and starts with a narrated drive through historic downtown Skagway; it also includes a short nature hike through the wooded terrain before getting to the ropes course and zipline experience. All of the state-of-the-art equipment is completely safe, guaranteeing that you’ll have an amazing time while there.
Skagway, AK 99840, Phone: 800-766-3396
7.Red Onion Saloon Brothel Museum
© Red Onion Saloon Brothel Museum
The Red Onion Saloon Brothel Museum is housed in what was once a thriving dance hall, bar, and brothel. Men and miners who flocked to Skagway during the gold rush days would come there for some liquid courage and love and affection. Many of the items that you see in the converted museum today were found in the brothel when it was closed down or were items from the owner’s personal collection. You’ll be able to step back in time with a “museum madam” and take a peek into the famed, wild world of the Red Onion.
205 Broadway, Skagway, AK 99840, Phone: 907-983-2414
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8.Skagway Museum and Archives
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Though the Klondike Gold Rush is an important aspect of Skagway’s history, it’s not the only thing that shaped this town and its people into what you see today. The collection at the Skagway Museum and Archives spans various eras and has artifacts including mammoth tusks, an original Tlingit war canoe, and a roulette wheel and slot machine from the gold rush era. There are so many fun and interesting things that visitors of all ages will enjoy. Many of the exhibits are hands-on, enabling younger visitors to have fun interacting with wildlife skeletons, whale baleen, and much more.
700 Spring St, Skagway, AK 99840
9.Yakutania Point - Smuggler’s Cove Trail
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Skagway is renowned for being a friendly community, and many of its residents and visitors opt to walk or cycle to where they need to go. Therefore, it features several trails and sites that you can enjoy, including Yakutania Point on the Smuggler’s Cove Trail. The trail starts at the Skagway River steel footbridge and is popularly used for hiking and mountain biking throughout the year. The entire hike is almost 2.5 miles and the difficulty can vary along different parts of the trail. In addition to seeing some spectacular views of your surroundings, the trail is also very popular for geocaching.
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10.Captain William Moore Cabin
© NPS Photo
The Captain William Moore Cabin is the first building that was ever constructed in Skagway. The well-preserved cabin, which still stands today, was built almost a decade before the Klondike Gold Rush by Captain Moore and his son Ben. The restored homestead is a great way for visitors of all ages to see how housing in Skagway was prior to the building of Victorian houses and other structures. The Moore Cabin has been restored over the years based on photographs that were taken by the Moores during their time there. There are many artifacts and decorations within the cabin that reflect its rich past, including beadwork, furs, and native slippers.
Fifth Avenue, Skagway, AK 99840, Phone: 907-983-9200
11.The Arctic Brotherhood Hall 1899
© Skagway Convention & Visitors Bureau FB page
The Arctic Brotherhood Hall 1899 is the local chapter of the Brotherhood that was established there in 1899. The structure has been well preserved for over a hundred years and visitors are invited to explore its interior and exterior, architecture which are a stunning example of the era’s Victorian rustic influence. You’ll be able to view many specific details on the building, such as the organization’s symbol near the roof line and the many pieces of driftwood that were collected and nailed to the front wall by Charley Walker and fellow lodge members. The building currently houses the Skagway Convention & Visitors Bureau Visitor Information Center.
245 Broadway, Skagway, AK 99840
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A usual stop with many of Skagway’s local tours, Pitchfork Falls is a gorgeous waterfall that is surrounded by rich mountainous terrain. There are many guides who will take you on walking tours to get up close to the waterfall, though the view from afar is just as spectacular. The whole area is absolutely beautiful, and you’ll be taken aback by the breathtaking, picturesque views of Skagway at its finest. If you’re lucky, there’s a chance that you might come across many of the area’s flora and fauna including black bears, which have often been spotted near the falls.
Yukon Highway, Skagway, AK 99840
13.Jeff. Smiths Parlor Museum
© NPS Photo
The Jeff. Smiths Parlor Museum is one of the state’s oldest museums and is dedicated to early Alaskan oddities and the infamous outlaw Jefferson Randolph “Soapy” Smith. You can go on a ranger-guided tour through one of Skagway’s most prominent buildings, which actually housed “Soapy” Smith and his nefarious band for a few months. Visitors will be able to explore the Smiths Parlor, which has been converted into the home-spun museum. You’ll be able to see the many animatronic mannequins, gold rush era artifacts, strange taxidermy, and folk art while you’re there. Visitors will be able to experience the building as it was in all its glory in 1967.
14.Skagway Centennial Statue
© Skagway Convention & Visitors Bureau
The Skagway Centennial Statue was erected in 1997 by the Skagway Centennial Committee as a way to commemorate the area’s rich history. It was sculpted by Chuck Buchanan with design input from various organizations and individuals, such as Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park, Si Dennis Sr., and Dr. Bob White. The sculpture represents a typical scene from 1897 at the start of the Chilkoot or White Pass trails and shows a Tlingit packer wearing traditional clothing of bear fur. He is leading a stampeder who has just come off the Puget Sound ship and seems determined to reach the gold fields.
271 Broadway, Skagway, AK 99840
15.Junior Ranger Activity Center
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Kids of all ages love spending a day at the Junior Ranger Activity Center, which is housed in a historical saloon right in the heart of Skagway. There is so much to see and do while there, like dressing up in Victorian clothes, seeing animal furs, examining historical artifacts, or having fun in their coloring center. There’s a reading area where kids can read fun stories or listen to readings about the area’s history. To get their Junior Ranger badge, kids will be given several activities they must complete throughout the building, allowing them to get very hands-on and have fun in the process. You can start before your trip to Skagway by downloading the Junior Ranger book online and returning the completed booklet to the activity center.
350 Broadway, Skagway, AK 99840
16.Beyond Skagway Tours - Private Tours
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Beyond Skagway Tours is a small family-based business that is operated by an array of people who fell in love with Alaska and have a passion to share the state’s natural beauty with visitors. All of their tours are private and customizable so that you make the most of your time in Skagway. They can accommodate solo travelers up to groups of 14 people. Popular tours include the 7-hour Custom Emerald Lake Tour, Ride the Rail, which takes you on the White Pass & Yukon Route train, and Pet the Pups, which is a great option if you’re travelling with little ones as it includes playing with puppies at a nearby dog camp.
796 Alaska Street, Skagway, AK 99840, Phone: 907-612-0499
17.Frontier Excursions & Adventures
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Frontier Excursions & Adventures was established in 1987 to provide great outdoor tours for adventure seekers. There are many tours to choose from based on what you want to see and do; popular options include the Yukon Discovery Tour & SledDog, the White Pass Summit and City Tour, and the Skagway and Yukon Private Charter Tours. Their White Pass Train and Klondike Highway Combo is great for families and groups with younger kids; the 3.5-hour tour will let you see picturesque views of glaciers, gorges, mountains, waterfalls, trestles, tunnels, and several other historical sites. The vintage passenger cars you’ll be in have large windows for viewing, are fitted with restrooms, and are heated for comfort.
299 Broadway, Skagway, AK 99840, Phone: 907-983-2512
18.Skagway Brewing Company
© Skagway Brewing Company
The Skagway Brewing Company is a combination brewery, restaurant, and pub. Their food is renowned with residents and visitors and is made from scratch using quality ingredients that are often locally sourced. There’s a wide choice of cuisine for diners to choose from, including several vegetarian and gluten-free options. Their lunch and dinner menus are extensive and include favorites like halibut fish and chips, locally caught salmon, huge specialty burgers, sandwiches, and pasta. There is a kids menu for younger patrons that offers hot dogs, hamburgers, chicken strips, and grilled cheese. Be sure to pair your meal with a delicious homebrew straight from tank to tap, or with other Alaskan taps, bottled beer, wine, and spirits.
Broadway & 7th, Skagway, AK 99840, Phone: 907-983-2739
19.Bites on Broadway
© Bites on Broadway
Bites on Broadway is located in historic Skagway in a structure that was originally built in 1897. It’s the perfect restaurant to start your day with an energetic breakfast or to end one with a delicious meal in a relaxing environment. Their “build your own breakfast sandwich” is a popular option and includes your choice of bread, meat, and toppings; create an endless combination of sausage, bacon, ham, or turkey, with jalapeno peppers, spinach, onions, mushrooms, tomatoes, or olives, on a croissant or bagel. The restaurant has an adjacent bed and breakfast that offers food, lodging, and winter season excursions.
648 Broadway, Skagway, AK 99840, Phone: 907-983-2166
The Starfire restaurant is a staple in the community and has been serving lunch and dinner to locals and visitors from around the world during the summer for years. For a reasonable price, you can feast on some of Alaska’s freshest, most authentic food, with flavors that will satisfy an array of palates. Their menu comprises a range of family recipes, ancient Alaskan preparation techniques, as well as dishes learned at the Chang Mai Thailand Institute of Culinary Awesomeness, where the head chef spent many years. The locally owned business focuses on offering healthy meals and using sustainable practices, and popular items from their menu include their Korean-style beef, fried calamari, and the Golden Seafood Platter, which has shrimp, scallops, and fried Alaskan cod.
230 4th, Skagway, AK 99840, Phone: 907-983-3663
20 Best Things to Do in Skagway, Alaska
- Davidson Glacier, Photo: Courtesy of demerzel21 - Fotolia.com
- Jewell Gardens & Garden City Glass Works, Photo: Courtesy of Tom - Fotolia.com
- White Pass & Yukon Route Railway, Photo: Courtesy of bullsiphoto - Fotolia.com
- Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park, Photo: Courtesy of Zack Frank - Fotolia.com
- Lower Dewey Lake Hiking Trail, Photo: Courtesy of georgeburba - Fotolia.com
- Alaska Mountain Guides - Adventure Park & Zip Line, Photo: Courtesy of mizina - Fotolia.com
- Red Onion Saloon Brothel Museum, Photo: Red Onion Saloon Brothel Museum
- Skagway Museum and Archives, Photo: Courtesy of Jeffrey Banke - Fotolia.com
- Yakutania Point - Smuggler’s Cove Trail, Photo: Courtesy of vaclav - Fotolia.com
- Captain William Moore Cabin, Photo: NPS Photo
- The Arctic Brotherhood Hall 1899, Photo: Skagway Convention & Visitors Bureau FB page
- Pitchfork Falls, Photo: Courtesy of vlorzor - Fotolia.com
- Jeff. Smiths Parlor Museum, Photo: NPS Photo
- Skagway Centennial Statue, Photo: Skagway Convention & Visitors Bureau
- Junior Ranger Activity Center, Photo: Courtesy of Irina Schmidt - Fotolia.com
- Beyond Skagway Tours - Private Tours, Photo: Courtesy of Reinhard Tiburzy - Fotolia.com
- Frontier Excursions & Adventures, Photo: Courtesy of Rocky Grimes - Fotolia.com
- Skagway Brewing Company, Photo: Skagway Brewing Company
- Bites on Broadway, Photo: Bites on Broadway
- Starfire, Photo: Starfire
- Cover Photo: Courtesy of Rocky Grimes - Fotolia.com