Welcome to the Skagway cruise port guide. Skagway is the Garden City of Alaska since 1910 and the gateway of the Klondike Gold Rush of 1898. With just under a 1000 inhabitants this tiny town is everything what you would expect of a small Alaskan settlement. Skagway might be best known for the role it played during the Klondike Gold Rush in 1898. Tens of thousands or fortune-seekers arrived in Skagway looking to travel overland to the Yukon goldfields via the White Pass Trail. With already a long journey behind them they would arrive in Skagway, facing the temptation of about 80 saloons, ladies or negotiable affection and competition of hundreds of men all in the race for the gold. The journey to Yukon was an extremely hard one and therefore a group of British financiers began the construction of the White Pass and Yukon Rout Railway. With just 10 million US dollars they had to work around the clock to create a train track through one of the most challenging landscapes imaginable. Blasting their way through rock and mountain sides they created a narrow gauge track with a constant gradient of 4% within a years time. Skagway boomed in the late 1900’s. The town is build around the train tracks and it’s town will always have the rowdy and authentic Gold Rush atmosphere. In summer time the town is visited by almost one million tourists. The winter time is somewhat different though. The people that lives here year round goes about their daily lives create a tight bond in their community. You will find Skagway has five churches, one library, one school and a newspaper that is published twice a month.
Cruise Port Guide Skagway – Alaska: docked
The cruise port of Skagway has 3 docks that are able to accommodate 5 cruise ships: Ore dock, Broadway dock and Railroad dock. The centre of Skagway is located in front of the port. Depending on where you dock it might be 1 or 2 ship lengths walk to the centre of town.
Smart Shuttle or City Transit
The town of Skagway is extremely small and is best to explore by foot. However the city of Skagway provides a shuttle service than can get you from the ship to the anywhere in the city centre and even to the Jewell Gardens and Klondike Gold Fields. The Smart shuttles are white and blue. Find their bus stops all over town at the blue and white poles. Pay the driver $2 for a ticket or $5 for a day pass.
Bicycle and scooter rental
If you would like to avoid the long walks and still go al through town and the surrounding area you could rent a bicycle of scooter. Find 2 bicycle rental services on 5th and broadway. Find the scooter rental on 7th and broadway. This is about 10 to 15 minutes walk from the ship, depending on where you dock.
Skagway is a cute little town, but if you are here to discover the real Alaska in its full glory you don’t want to stay in town. Getting yourself on a tour, preparing a hike, prebooking a taxi or making other plans will be worth the effort and money. There are many sightseeing tours and adventures excursions you can book in Skagway. Think about dog sledding, fishing, flight-seeing tours, zip-lining, rock-climbing, gold panning and raft tours. It all depends on how you would like to spend your day ashore. Book your tours with your ship or on shore. You will find a few boots selling tours on shore and you will find more on the Broadway street.
White Pass Railway
Taking the train from Skagway to Fraser is the number one thing to do in this port of call. Make sure not to miss out on it. Book your tickets through the ship or buy them directly at the Train Depot in town. Please know the journey takes 3,5 hours roundtrip and it covers about 40 miles. The price is 122 US dollars round trip per person if you buy them directly at the train depot in town. Compare this price to the excursions they offer on board, in most cases the ships price isn’t bad at all. If you want to book the tickets directly at the Train depot keep in mind that occasionally the train could sell out. Therefore we recommend to already order them online through: www.wpyr.com
If you are looking for a good hike Skagway is the place to go and do this. There are about 12 different hiking trails starting in or around Skagway. Mountain lakes, glaciers and the Tongass rainforest are all within your reach. The visitors centre on Broadway gives away free hiking maps. The most popular hike is the Dewey Lake Trail that starts in town, but there are also more challenging and off the beaten track hikes you can find in the area like the Denver Valley Hike or A.B. Mountain hike. See the gallery underneath for more information and always make sure to pass by the Visitors Centre in Skagway for updated information in the trails and free maps. Please know a permit is required for the famous Chilkoot trail and therefore we recommend to do this particular hike with a guide or tour rather than independently.
Taxis in Skagway
In general taxis are not readily available in Skagway.
Fast Ferry Passenger Service to Haines
From Skagway you can reach Haines by ferry. This takes about 45 minutes. Please note the ferry goes +/- every 2 hours and capacity is limited. Buy your ticket online through www.hainesskagwayfastferry.com or on board. The ferry pier is right next to the cruise ship dock. See its exact location marked on the map.
Distances from port
Downtown = 1/2 mile north
Jewell Gardens = 2 mile north
Cemetry = 3 mile north
Between 2nd and 3rd street on Broadway you will find the Visitors Centre for the Klondike Gold Rush National Historic Park. Go inside to check what activities are planned for that day. They especially have some fun activities for kids and educational movies playing throughout the day.
291 Broadway, Skagway, AK 99840, USA
At the Skagway Depot, on your way to town you will cross this machine. It is the first Snowplow of the Yukon rail that still works! It gives you an idea of how much heavy machinery is needed to clear the way in winter time.
When you walk into town one of the first things you are going to see is the famous Red Onion Saloon. Go in for a drink and some history. On the first floor of the famous Red Union Saloon you will find the brothel museum.
If you want you can walk to wonderfull waterfall. It is situated at the Gold Rush Cemetery, 3 mile north of town.
Bernard Moore. It’s been restored to its glory days in 1904, furnished with many original family possessions and exhibits the exciting life of this family in this small Alaskan pioneer town. It is a popular attraction in Skagway. Find its exact location in town on the map above.
Skagway is the garden city of Alaska. One of the gardens to visit is the Jewel Gardens. They are 1,5 mile north of Skagway. Walk through the Organic Gardens of the North where flowers and glass art work meet. Also learn about the glassblowing business here. Best way to visit is by SMART shuttle bus or walk.
Go back in time and experience the days during the Klondike Gold Rush. Go gold panning, experience the extreme 40-below temperatures and much more. Find this attractions about 2,5 mile out of town. Reach it by foot or local SMART shuttle service.
On Broadway you will find the local tourist information centre located in a very unusual building. Walk in if with any kind of questions you have. They have maps, brochures and all kinds of information for you that will make your stay in Skagway more enjoyable.
Easy, accessible and amazing hikes are available starting right in Skagway itself. If you are looking a beautiful hike without to much hustle and bustle this is the one to go for. Pick up a free map at the Visitors centre on broadway and be on your way. The Dewey Lake Trail System is a network of trails that you can hike leading to beautiful lakes, viewpoints and landmarks in the area. Make the hike as easy or hard as you want.
Whenever you get tired of walking just look out for these white/blue signs on the street. Shuttle busses come by to bring you back to the ship. Tickets are $2 per person per trip, $5 for a day ticket.
2 miles north of town you will find the Gold Rush Cemetery. See the old graves of the famous Gold Rush characters like Jefferson Smith, Frank Reid and many more. To reach the cemetery you walk through town up north. It is a 3 mile, levelled walk.
This museum in the centre of town has many treasured artefacts, historical records and photos about the past century in Skagway. Visit their collection of baskets, beadwork and carvings in the Alaska Native heritage collection and learn about the Gold rush in their collection of artefacts and tools used by the gold seekers. Find this beautiful native granite building from 1899 in the centre of town.
Sailing in and out of Skagway is very scenic. Your ship will need to sail through the Lynn Canal which is not a canal but a fjord. This valley shaped by glaciers is the deepest fjord in North America. It can go as deep as 2000 ft / 610 meter. Make sure to have your camera ready when sailing the canal. Be on outside deck an hour before arrival and/or up to 1 hour after departure.
The best theatre production on Skagway’s Broadway is the Days of ’98 show. This show tells the story of famous con-men Jefferson Randolph “Soapy” Smith. It’s a great play combining history, show and can can in a fun 1 hour show. Shows start every day at 10.30, up to 4 shows a day.
The number one thing to do while in Skagway is to ride the narrow gauge railroad to Fraser. It is one of the most scenic train rides in the world that will not fail to impress. These famous tracks were guid in 1898 during the Klondike Gold Rush. Many that would come to Skagway looking for their fortune would take this train towards the Yukon river. That is what makes this an historical landmark when it comes it to the gold rush. This engineering marvel will take you up 2865 ft / 873 meter into the mountains showing you breathtaking landscapes, glaciers and waterfalls along the way. Buy your tickets through the ship or buy them in town at the Train Depott for 122 US dollars round trip. Please know you have to bring your passport on board of the train as it crosses the US / Canadian border. The journey on the train is fully narrated and have restrooms on board. The journey takes about 3,5 hours and is 40 miles long roundtrip. The train is wheelchair accessible. Fraser Most people taking the train will take it up to Fraser, which is 34 km from Skagway. There is absolutely […]
This is the most important street in Skagway. It is where you will find all the Gold Rush-era buildings that are now occupied by local businesses, restaurants, shops and museums. Stroll the street to pick up your souvenirs and get a feel for historic Skagway.
When shopping in Haines make sure to buy the products with this logo. This indicated the products has actually been made in Alaska.
In Alaska you can find all five species of Alaska’s Pacific Salmon. They are King, Sockeye, Coho, Pink and Chum. Every year from August to October you will find the salmon find the very stream they were born to spawn and die. It is a phenomenal event that you cannot miss if your cruise is arriving in August or September.
The port of Skagway can accomodate 5 cruise ships at the same time. The cruise docks are located not far from the historical city center of Skagway. From the dock it is an easy walk into the town. Read our full Skagway cruise port guide for all the information.