If you’re looking for an off-the-beaten-path destination, Skagway, Alaska is definitely worth considering and there are plenty of things to do in Skagway. This small town located in the Yukon Territory of Canada is a popular stop for cruise ships, but there’s so much more to do here than just sightseeing! In this travel guide, we’ll give you all the information you need to plan your trip including how to get there and where to stay and eat. So pack your bags and get ready for an adventure!
Let’s start with how to get to Skagway
Skagway is located in the northwest corner of Canada, about 100 miles north of Juneau. The best way to get there is by cruise ship – most major cruise lines offer Alaska itineraries that stop in Skagway. If you’re not taking a cruise, you can also fly into Whitehorse Airport and then take a bus or rental car to Skagway.
When should you visit Skagway?
Skagway is a great place to visit year-round, but the best time to go depends on what you want to do. If you’re looking for unique things to do in Skagway and the best weather to experience them, then summer is the best time to go. From June to August, the days are longer and you’ll have more daylight to explore. Much like the Gold Rush, it will be busy! However, if you’re looking to avoid the crowds, then winter is a great time to visit. Skagway is much quieter during this time and you’ll be able to enjoy the peace and tranquility of the wilderness.
Things to do in Skagway
Once you’re in town, there are plenty of things to do in Skagway to keep you busy. If you love the outdoors, we recommend taking a hike on one of the many trails in the area or going for a scenic drive. For those who prefer to stay indoors, there are several museums and art galleries to explore. And of course, no trip to Skagway would be complete without a visit to the infamous Red Light District!
Hiking with beautiful scenery
Skagway is a beautiful town and what makes it even more gorgeous are the mountains that surround it. There are many different hiking trails available for those who want to explore the area.
The most popular hike is probably the Chilkoot Trail which is 33 miles long and takes about three days to complete. This trail was used by prospectors during the Klondike Gold Rush and is now a popular trail for both tourists and locals.
Another option is the Dewey Lake Trail which is an easy two-mile hike that takes you through the woods to a pretty lake. This is a great hike for families or those who want to take it easy.
For those looking for a challenge, the Lower Reid Falls Trail is a difficult four-mile hike that includes crossing a river. This hike is not for the faint of heart but the views are definitely worth it!
White Pass & Yukon Railway
Skagway is home to the White Pass & Yukon Railway which is a scenic train ride that takes you through the mountains. This is a great activity for those who want to sit back and relax while taking in the beautiful scenery. The train ride lasts about three hours and there are several different things to see along the way.
Skagway history museums and tours
If you’re interested in learning about Skagway’s history, but want an adventurous way to do it, try an E-Bike Tour with Gold Panning and Museum Visit. You can hop on an e-bike, and ride through the historic streets of Skagway. Go panning for gold and then visit the Skagway Museum to learn about the rich Klondike Gold Rush history.
While we were in Skagway, we found a unique historical walking tour led by a local guide, called the “Ghosts and Goodtime Girls“. This was one of the highlights of our trip as we learned so much about the town’s history, but also about the darker history of the women during the gold rush who had to resort to prostitution to make ends meet while the men were away looking for gold. If you’re interested in learning more about the history of Skagway, this is a tour we highly recommend. Bonus, it ends at the Red Onion Saloon with a toast!
Where to stay in Skagway
When it comes to accommodations, there are plenty of options to choose from depending on your budget and preferences. There are several hotels and bed and breakfasts in town, or you can camp if you’re looking to save some money.
The Historic Skagway Inn is a quaint lodging located in the heart of downtown. This Inn is a great option for those looking for convenient access to all the shops and restaurants. There are also several bed and breakfasts in town, such as Mile Zero B&B and At The White House Inn. These are both great options if you’re looking for a more intimate setting.
If you are looking for low-budget and no frills, the Westmark Inn is an option. We met a couple who was staying there and said it was safe, had a comfy bed, but don’t expect turn-down service.
If you’re looking for something more rustic, the Dyea Campground is located about 20 minutes outside of Skagway. This campground is open from mid-May to mid-September and has tent sites as well as RV sites. It’s part of the National Park Service so there is a fee to stay here, but it’s much cheaper than staying in a hotel. If you set up an account over at Hipcamp, you can use promo code: ARNERADVENTURES for a $10 credit towards your stay.
Where to eat in Skagway
When it comes to food, Skagway has plenty of options to choose from whether you’re looking for a casual meal or something more upscale. There are several restaurants and cafes downtown, as well as a few grocery stores if you’re looking to cook your own meals. Here are some good spots that we recommend.
One of our favorite places to eat in Skagway was the Red Onion Saloon. This restaurant is located in the historic Red Light District and has a fun, Wild West atmosphere. The food was great and we loved the live music. It’s actually where the walking tour ended, and we learned that it was a brothel back in the day.
If you’re looking for a casual place to eat, Bites on Broadway is a great option. It is in the original Skagway Social House-Nome Saloon, which was erected in 1897. The Saloon was one of 80 bars in Skagway during its existence. This cafe has both indoor and outdoor seating and offers a variety of sandwiches, salads, and soups. They also have a small grocery store attached if you need to pick up any snacks or drinks.
If you’re looking for something a little more casual, the Skagway Brewing Company is a great option. This brewery has a relaxed atmosphere and offers a variety of beers brewed on-site. They also have a menu with burgers, sandwiches, and salads.
For those interested in trying some local seafood, the Skagway Fish Co. is definitely worth checking out. This restaurant is located right on the docks and has great views of the harbor. They have a wide selection of seafood dishes, as well as some vegetarian options.
There are tons of things to do in Skagway
Whether you’re looking to learn about the town’s history, enjoy the outdoors, or just relax and take in the scenery, Skagway is a great place to visit. With so much to see and do, you’ll definitely want to add this stop to your next Alaskan adventure. We loved this little town. We described it as looking like the scene of an old western film set, but it is real!
Have you ever been to this fun Alaskan town? What are some of your favorite things to do in Skagway? Let us know in the comments below!
If you want to know more about other places we have visited in Alaska, you can read our other Alaskan content.
Most definitely! There are transportation options available, should you need them but if you are capable of walking, do it and save your money. It’s not that far and it is scenic. Maybe a 5-10 minute walk from the cruise ship to town. You walk more than that around the ship.
You can get a lot done in one full day, but you won’t get everything in. If you are visiting from a cruise ship, pick a few things this time, and plan to revisit. A week in Skagway is not necessary unless you use it as your home base- which is also great! There is plenty to do around Skagway for day trips. Bonus, you can get to know the people in the town while you are staying.
It was the stop just before most men went to search for gold during the Klondike Gold Rush in 1896. Skagway was a violent town during those days due to aggression and jealousy. It was also a time when women resorted to prostitution as their only means of surviving.