Welcome to the charming world of Skagway, Alaska, a pivotal stop on many Alaska cruise routes that take you back to the heady days of the Gold Rush. Skagway isn’t just another port town; it’s a living museum, steeped in history and oozing old-world charm. During the late 19th century, it was a bustling center for gold prospectors setting forth on the Klondike Gold Rush Town. Today, it serves as a portal to scenic adventures and historical tours that no cruise ship passenger should miss.

From the stunning White Pass Summit to the intriguing Gold Rush Cemetery, Skagway offers a range of unique experiences. No matter if you’re intrigued by history, captivated by nature, or simply an adventurous traveler, Skagway promises a variety of enthralling activities. Let’s explore the must-see attractions and things to do in Skagway as soon as you disembark from your cruise ship!

Klondike Highway with a mountain view

Experiencing Skagway’s Rich History

Skagway is more than just a stopover; it’s a step back in time that immerses you in the captivating narratives of the past. From the whispers of fortune-seekers during the Gold Rush era to the preserved artifacts that tell tales of perseverance, Skagway offers a rich historical experience that’s impossible to ignore. As you stroll through the streets or embark on guided tours, you’ll find that the town serves as an open-air museum where history comes alive. Ready to dive into Skagway’s rich history? Here are some must-visit places:

Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park

Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park

Prepare to be transported back to the late 1800s as you step into the Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park, operated by the National Park Service. The park is an authentic recreation of what life was like during the tumultuous days of gold discovery. Expect a melange of preserved buildings, passionate tour guides dressed in period attire, and a slew of interactive exhibits that educate you about the perilous journeys undertaken for a glimmer of gold. Take a walk along the trails, or hop on the White Pass & Yukon Route Railroad for a scenic ride through history. It’s a perfect blend of learning and scenic beauty that every visitor to Skagway should experience.

Skagway Museum and Archives

Skagway Museum and Archives

If you’re keen to delve even deeper into Skagway’s roots, the Skagway Museum and Archives is your next stop. Located in a historic building that once served as a school, this museum offers an in-depth look into Skagway’s role during the Gold Rush era. From fascinating artifacts like mining tools and indigenous crafts to historical photographs and documents, there’s a wealth of knowledge to unearth. The museum provides a comprehensive, detailed look at the people who shaped this gold mining town and the immense challenges they faced.

Adventurous Activities in Skagway

Skagway isn’t just for history buffs; it’s also a haven for thrill-seekers and adventure enthusiasts. The surrounding Alaskan wilderness provides a natural playground for a variety of activities that allow you to engage with the breathtaking landscapes around you. Whether you want to hike historic trails or enjoy a scenic train ride through awe-inspiring mountain ranges, Skagway offers plenty of ways to get your adrenaline pumping. So, put on your adventure hat, and let’s explore some of the high-energy activities that await you in this mesmerizing locale.

Hiking the Chilkoot Trail

Man hiking through the mountains

If you’re up for a hiking challenge, look no further than the Chilkoot Trail, an iconic pathway that once served as a route for the gold prospectors during the Klondike Gold Rush. The trail stretches for about 33 miles, leading you through lush forests, alpine meadows, and rocky terrains. Prepare for a unique experience as you trace the steps of the hopeful miners who undertook this arduous journey over a century ago.

Cost: Permits can cost around $68.10 (adult) and $34.15 (youth) for U.S. citizens and include camping fees.

Tips: Make sure to bring proper hiking boots, pack insect repellent, and always check the weather forecast before embarking on this hike. If possible, hire a tour guide for historical insights and safety.

White Pass & Yukon Route Railroad

White Pass and Yukon Route Railway

Imagine chugging along the same mountainous paths that were once tread by miners in the late 1800s, but this time from the comfort of a vintage train car. The White Pass Railroad – Yukon route offers a spectacular journey that combines historical significance with stunning scenic vistas. The train ascends from Skagway to the White Pass Summit, passing waterfalls, glaciers, and gorges along the way.

Cost: Adult tickets usually start around $140 (adult) and $70 (kid) for the basic trip.

Tips: It’s advisable to reserve your tickets ahead of time, particularly during the high-traffic cruise ship seasons, to ensure availability. Make sure to bring your camera for the picture-perfect landscapes you’ll encounter and definitely bring your passport. Seats are allocated on a first-come, first-served basis, so getting there early will give you the advantage of securing the best vantage points.

Grizzly Falls Ziplining

Man ziplining through the mountains

Unleash your adventurous spirit at Grizzly Falls Ziplining. Soar above Alaska’s pristine wilderness as you zip through a series of eleven lines, each more exhilarating than the last. Nestled amidst towering spruce trees and jaw-dropping vistas, this zipline experience combines adrenaline with nature’s grandeur. Expert guides ensure safety while narrating local folklore and ecology, making this an educational yet thrilling outing. Feel the wind rush past as you glide through the sky, and let Grizzly Falls leave an indelible mark on your Alaskan escapade.

Cost: Approx. $169 per child and $189 adult.

Tips: Wear closed-toe shoes, and bring a camera with a secure strap to capture aerial shots.

Hiking Yakutania Point or Dewey Lake

Man trekking through the woods

Whether you’re an avid hiker or a casual walker, Skagway offers trails for all levels. For a shorter trek with panoramic views, Yakutania Point is an excellent choice. The trail weaves through dense forest and rocky outcrops, culminating in a stunning overlook of the Skagway River and surrounding peaks. For a more challenging hike, Dewey Lake offers a serene escape. The trail winds through a lush rainforest and opens up to the tranquil lake, where you can enjoy a peaceful picnic. Both hikes showcase Alaska’s untouched beauty, making them ideal spots for outdoor enthusiasts.

Cost: Free.

Tips: Carry water, snacks, and bear spray. Make sure to inform someone about your hiking plans.

Choose from shorter treks like Yakutania Point for panoramic views or challenge yourself with a hike to Dewey Lake. Yakutania’s trail winds through forest and rocky outcrops, while Dewey Lake offers a lush rainforest and tranquil lake setting. Both hikes exemplify Alaska’s natural beauty.

Thrilling Outdoor Experiences in Skagway, Alaska

For those who dream of venturing into the great outdoors, Skagway provides a truly extraordinary backdrop for unforgettable experiences. Whether you’re gliding through the snow behind a team of dogs or journeying to the stunning glaciers, Skagway promises thrilling outdoor adventures that connect you with the region’s raw, natural beauty. These activities offer a unique Alaskan blend of excitement, awe, and a dash of the unexpected. Here’s a look at some of the thrilling outdoor activities that Skagway has to offer:

Dog Sledding Adventures

Pack of dogs sledding through the snow

If you’ve ever wanted to feel the rush of gliding through a snowy landscape with a team of enthusiastic sled dogs leading the way, Skagway has you covered. Dog sledding is not just a mode of transportation here; it’s a cultural experience that gives you a taste of traditional Alaskan life. You’ll have the opportunity to meet the dogs, learn the ropes, and even steer the sled if conditions allow.

Cost: Prices start at around $149 per adult for a basic dog sledding experience.

Tips: Dress warmly in layers and wear waterproof boots. Availability is seasonal, so it’s best to book in advance, especially when Alaska cruise line ships are in port. A helicopter tour combined with dog sledding can make for an unforgettable experience but comes at a higher cost.

Glacier Point Wilderness Safari

Woman in a cap kayaking in a river

If you’re after a truly awe-inspiring Alaskan adventure, consider the Glacier Point Wilderness Safari. This tour includes a high-speed catamaran ride to Glacier Point, followed by a kayak or canoe journey that takes you right to the face of a magnificent glacier. It’s a unique vantage point that few get to experience, allowing you to witness the grandeur of these ice giants up close.

Cost: The experience usually starts at around $240 or more per adult.

Tips: Waterproof clothing is a must, as is sunscreen, even on cloudy days. This tour is popular, so it’s recommended to book well ahead of time. Don’t leave your camera behind; you’ll definitely want to immortalize the breathtaking beauty of the glacier and its surrounding scenery.

Waterfalls (Reid & Pitchfork)

Waterfalls inside a forest

The captivating waterfalls of Reid and Pitchfork are a sight to behold for any nature enthusiast. Nestled amidst a dense forest, these waterfalls provide a stunning backdrop for photography and an ideal location for a mindful retreat. Reid Falls, near Skagway’s Gold Rush Cemetery, can be reached by a short hike and offers a gentle cascade of water over mossy rocks. Pitchfork Falls, visible along the Klondike Highway, impresses with its multi-tiered cascade. Both falls are spectacular in their own right and capture the awe-inspiring beauty that is quintessentially Alaskan.

Cost: Free.

Tips: Bring a camera and good hiking boots. Bug repellent can also be useful.

Reid and Pitchfork Falls offer stunning natural backdrops. Reach Reid Falls via a short hike from Skagway’s Gold Rush Cemetery. Pitchfork Falls is visible along the Klondike Highway. Both waterfalls are perfect for photography and quiet reflection amid Alaska’s awe-inspiring beauty.

Exploring in the Main Street of Skagway

Shops on the street of Skagway Alaska

Step back in time as you stroll down the historic Main Street of Skagway. Immerse yourself in the Gold Rush era with well-preserved wooden storefronts, saloons, and museums. Charming shops offer local crafts and unique souvenirs, perfect for capturing the essence of Alaska. Don’t miss the chance to learn about Skagway’s intriguing past through interpretive walking tours or a visit to the Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park visitor center. Main Street is the pulse of Skagway, where the town’s history and present-day allure converge, making it a must-visit on your Alaskan journey.

Cost: Free to explore; Museum entry is approx $10.

Tips: Wear comfortable shoes for walking and carry cash for quaint local shops that may not accept cards.

Exquisite Culinary Journey in Skagway

When it comes to wining and dining, Skagway doesn’t disappoint. While you might come here for the history and adventure, you’ll stay for the mouthwatering local cuisine. From sipping on spruce tip ales to indulging in homemade pastries, Skagway offers a culinary landscape as diverse and exciting as its scenic views. It’s not just about food; it’s an experience that mirrors Skagway’s vibrant culture and its rich gold rush history. So, if you’re a foodie at heart or just looking to treat your taste buds while visiting Skagway, here are a couple of must-try places.

Skagway Brewing Company

Friends toasting a glass of beer

Nothing beats the experience of enjoying a locally brewed ale after a long day of exploring, and Skagway Brewing Company offers just that. Known for their signature Spruce Tip Ale, this brewery captures the essence of Alaska in a glass. However, the experience goes beyond just the beverages; the menu offers a diverse range of food options to satisfy different tastes, from robust burgers to refreshing salads.

Cost: Expect to spend around $11-$25 per person for a meal and a brew.

Tips: The place gets busy, especially when cruise ships are docked. To enjoy a more leisurely experience, you might want to think about making a reservation or planning your visit during quieter, off-peak hours.

Sweet Tooth Café

Eaten Blueberry and Blackberry Pie on a plate

If you’ve got a craving for something sweet, Sweet Tooth Café is the spot to visit. This local gem offers an array of sweets and confectioneries that are sure to make you feel like a kid in a candy store. From homemade fudge to Alaskan berry pies, the café caters to every sweet tooth.

Cost: Treats generally range from $5-$10.

Tips: This café is a popular spot for both tourists and locals. If you’re visiting during Alaska’s cruise season, consider stopping by in the morning when selections are abundant and fresh.

Whether you’re looking to enjoy the best of Skagway’s brews or satisfy your sweet cravings, the town offers a culinary experience that pairs well with its rich history and breathtaking landscapes. So, why not add a taste of Skagway to your adventurous Alaskan journey?

Scenic Exploration off the Ship

Ready for a visual feast? Skagway boasts a variety of scenic spots that are sure to enchant your senses. As soon as you disembark from your Alaska cruise, the opportunity for scenic exploration calls. From intricately crafted glassworks amidst blooming flora to awe-inspiring glaciers that define the Alaskan landscape, Skagway offers the perfect blend of man-made and natural beauty. Let’s embark on a journey to discover these stunning attractions you shouldn’t miss when you visit Skagway.

Jewell Gardens & Glassblowing Studio

A male glassblower making a vase

Take a short walk or shuttle bus from the Skagway cruise port and find yourself in the colorful oasis of Jewell Gardens & Glassblowing Studio. Here, nature and art blend seamlessly. Wander through meticulously maintained gardens brimming with vibrant flowers, organic vegetables, and even a model train display. But it’s not just the gardens that draw people here. The on-site glassblowing studio offers a unique twist. You can watch skilled artisans create beautiful glass pieces, or try your hand at the craft during a guided workshop.

Cost: Garden tours start at around $12.50 per person, and glassblowing experiences can range from $75 to $150 depending on the workshop.

Tips: It is recommended to pre-book your glassblowing session in advance since available slots tend to fill up rapidly. Also, don’t forget to visit the gift shop for some unique souvenirs like hand-blown glass ornaments.

Davidson Glacier

Cruise ship floating far on the sea

When it comes to natural beauty, few things can rival the majesty of a glacier, and Davidson Glacier is no exception. This river of ice located just a high-speed catamaran ride away from Skagway offers a serene yet imposing sight. Several tour options are available for exploring Davidson Glacier, including helicopter tours for those looking for an extra dash of thrill. You’ll marvel at the blue ice formations and have the opportunity to walk on the glacier, under proper guidance, of course.

Cost: Catamaran tours start at approximately $240 per person, while helicopter tours can go upwards of $500.

Tips: Dress in layers and pack a waterproof jacket. No matter the season, glaciers can be chilly. Additionally, it’s essential to adhere to all safety instructions provided by your tour guide for a secure and enjoyable experience.

Taiya River Float Tour

Two men kayaking on a red boat

For those seeking tranquility and natural beauty, the Taiya River Float Tour offers a serene way to explore Alaska’s lush landscapes. Meander through the river’s calm waters as you take in breathtaking views of snow-capped mountains and dense forests. Rich in wildlife, keep an eye out for eagles, salmon, and maybe even a bear! Knowledgeable guides will fill you in on the river’s ecological importance and local history. The float tour is perfect for families and nature lovers looking for a leisurely yet captivating excursion.

Cost: Approx $95 per person.

Tips: Dress in layers and bring waterproofs; binoculars are a plus for wildlife spotting.

Whether it’s exploring the creative depths of human ingenuity at Jewell Gardens or standing in awe before the natural wonder of Davidson Glacier, Skagway provides multiple avenues for scenic exploration that would captivate any cruise ship passenger. So, make sure to add these stops to your Skagway excursions list for a truly comprehensive Alaskan experience.


In summary, Skagway offers a treasure trove of unique experiences that make it an unmissable stop for any Alaska cruise itinerary. From delving into the rich tapestry of Gold Rush history at the Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park and Skagway Museum to adrenaline-pumping activities like hiking the Chilkoot Trail and riding the White Pass & Yukon Route Railroad, there’s something for everyone.

Top it off with the scenic marvels of Jewell Gardens and the awe-inspiring Davidson Glacier, and you have a destination that perfectly encapsulates history, adventure, and natural beauty. Skagway is not just a port; it’s a gateway to a diverse and vibrant Alaskan experience.


Is Skagway walkable from cruise ship?

Yes, Skagway is quite walkable from the cruise ship docks. The town is relatively small, and most attractions, including the visitor center and downtown Skagway, are within a mile of the cruise terminals. It’s a convenient way for cruise ship passengers to explore the area without needing additional transportation.

Can you walk to downtown Skagway from cruise port?

Absolutely, you can easily walk to downtown Skagway from the cruise port. Typically, the distance is less than a mile, resulting in a brief and enjoyable stroll. This offers a great opportunity to take in the historic buildings and charming atmosphere as you make your way into town.

How do I spend a day in Skagway?

A day spent in Skagway promises a blend of historical exploration, thrilling adventures, and awe-inspiring scenic beauty. Start with a visit to the Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park, then perhaps take the White Pass & Yukon Route Railroad for a scenic journey. Round off your day with a trip to Jewell Gardens or an excursion to Davidson Glacier.

Is the train ride in Skagway worth it?

The White Pass & Yukon Route Railroad is often considered a must-do activity when visiting Skagway. The train ride offers breathtaking views of the Alaskan wilderness, waterfalls, and glaciers while also providing historical insights into the Gold Rush era. This is an experience that seamlessly blends the splendor of nature with cultural richness, making it a worthwhile investment.