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  #1  
Old January 29th, 2013, 09:16 PM
fireflymd fireflymd is offline
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Default White Pass Summit Rail & Bus

I decided to cancel the excursion originally booked through our cruiseline, since reading on here and over at TripAdvisor that taking a bus/rail excursion might be preferable to taking the train both up and down the mountain, for a variety of reasons.

I booked with Chilkoot for the above-captioned excursion, taking the bus first and then the rail back.

Which side should we sit on for the ride back? I believe I remember reading we should sit on the right side of the train for the ride back.

Thanks, people! I felt very uncomfortable not booking through the cruiseline--don't mind the extra expense and really prefer the convenience and peace of mind, but we're in Skagway so long and they do pick you up and drop you off at the pier, so that's helpful to me.
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  #2  
Old January 29th, 2013, 09:22 PM
1025cruise 1025cruise is offline
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I did the cruiseline version of this. Just one thing to consider, it is a LONG day. An enjoyable day, but a LONG day.
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  #3  
Old January 29th, 2013, 09:47 PM
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To answer your question you sit on the right for the downhill run.

I think that you will enjoy Chilkoot's tours - you might have as few as 5 or 6 pax or as many as 12 - the buses hold a max of 14. These smaller coaches make touring much easier than the larger cruise line busses. You will also have your own car on the train so your chances of getting a right side seat are greatly improved.

I did the even longer Bennet Explorer trip where you train all the way to Carcross via Bennett - with van return via Emerald Lake. I had a wonderful time. Great lunch in Bennett and excellent van ride back to the ship.

You don't have to worry about any of the independent tour operators in AK as they all know the cruise ship schedules and do everything in their power to get you back before they sail - all it takes is one or two slip ups and they would soon be out of business.
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  #4  
Old January 29th, 2013, 10:01 PM
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Don't forget to bring your passport . Canada requires a passport for entry on this tour . It will also be required get back into the US.
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  #5  
Old January 29th, 2013, 11:26 PM
fireflymd fireflymd is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 1025cruise View Post
I did the cruiseline version of this. Just one thing to consider, it is a LONG day. An enjoyable day, but a LONG day.
This particular trip is only 3.5 hours. I like the idea of splitting that between the bus and rail.
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Old January 29th, 2013, 11:48 PM
Richard K. Richard K. is offline
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I am looking at the Chilkoot tour as well but I can't decide between the 3.5 hr. tour that goes to the summit or the 7.5 hr. tour that continues on into the Yukon. 7.5 hours on a train and bus seems like an aweful long day to me. Is it worth it?
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Old January 30th, 2013, 01:11 AM
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bonvoyagie bonvoyagie is offline
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The 3.5 Hr trip goes between Fraser BC and Skagway and either train or bus first. There are very few things to see on the road between the two. An earthquake proof bridge, the 40 below buildings, a suspension bridge that you pay to walk accross etc.

The 7.5 hr tour goes from all the way to Carcross YT, you will see Emerald Lake, the Carcross Desert and more glacial lakes. Again the trip between Skagway and Fraser portion will be the same.

I already described the 9 hr tour that goes through Bennett.

Double the time means double the scenic wonder.
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  #8  
Old January 30th, 2013, 06:46 PM
fireflymd fireflymd is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bonvoyagie View Post
The 3.5 Hr trip goes between Fraser BC and Skagway and either train or bus first. There are very few things to see on the road between the two. An earthquake proof bridge, the 40 below buildings, a suspension bridge that you pay to walk accross etc.

The 7.5 hr tour goes from all the way to Carcross YT, you will see Emerald Lake, the Carcross Desert and more glacial lakes. Again the trip between Skagway and Fraser portion will be the same.

I already described the 9 hr tour that goes through Bennett.

Double the time means double the scenic wonder.
I just booked the 3 1/2 hour trip based on glowing reviews from others. I hope it's better than you just described.
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Old January 30th, 2013, 07:03 PM
DragonOfTheSeas DragonOfTheSeas is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fireflymd View Post
This particular trip is only 3.5 hours. I like the idea of splitting that between the bus and rail.
We did this tour with Chilcoot. Bus up and train down. Sat on the right in the bus and on the right coming down on the train. [they go on opposite sides of the valley.]
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  #10  
Old January 30th, 2013, 09:28 PM
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bonvoyagie bonvoyagie is offline
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Sorry if I burst your bubble . Yes I know that Chilkoot in general gets good reviews here - but I think it is more for the 7 and 9 hr tours that include the trip to Carcross. I suggest that you look at Google Maps and find Fraser lake, and then find Hy 2 and follow it back to Skagway.You will not find all that much in the way of lakes except for Summit Lake. Unless they decide to head further north to see some of the other lakes. You do not make it up to Carcross or Emerald Lake. However if you do plan on doing another tour in Skagway this will give you a nice sample of the scenery above Skagway as well as a quick tour of the town.

What else are you planning?
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  #11  
Old January 30th, 2013, 10:48 PM
fireflymd fireflymd is offline
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Default question about timing

I think I'd also like to do Dog Sledding & Glacier Flightseeing the same day out of Skagway.

What timing would be better? The White Pass Summit Rail & Bus excursion in the morning or afternoon? Dog Sledding/Glacier Flightseeing morning or afternoon?

I already booked the White Pass Summit excursion through Chilkoot for 8:30 am, returning at noon, and then the Dog Sledding at 12:45. It just seems like there is too little time between the two.

If I opt for the White Pass Summit excursion at 1:00pm, we could do the Dog Sledding/Glacier Flightseeing from 7:45 am to 9:45 am.

Just not sure if morning or afternoon is preferable for either one.
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  #12  
Old January 30th, 2013, 11:44 PM
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bonvoyagie bonvoyagie is offline
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Skagway is a funny town weather wise. Sometimes the town is fogged in during the morning and the mountian summit areas are clear. The fog usually burns off by noon - and sometimes it just lifts into the mountains - you just never know. The flightseeing helicopters leave from the airport next to the ore and broadway docks - they will not take off without proper visability, knowing all of this I would leave things as they are - do the AM train and PM flight - your chances of getting to do both are far greater.

If you ard doing the heli through your ship, you will need to get back there to catch the shuttle to the airport. If you are doing it on your own, then I would suggest that you reverse your Chilkoot tour and take the train up and bus back - that way if you are running close you can ask the driver to drop you at the airport.
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  #13  
Old January 31st, 2013, 01:44 PM
fireflymd fireflymd is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bonvoyagie View Post
Skagway is a funny town weather wise. Sometimes the town is fogged in during the morning and the mountian summit areas are clear. The fog usually burns off by noon - and sometimes it just lifts into the mountains - you just never know. The flightseeing helicopters leave from the airport next to the ore and broadway docks - they will not take off without proper visability, knowing all of this I would leave things as they are - do the AM train and PM flight - your chances of getting to do both are far greater.

If you ard doing the heli through your ship, you will need to get back there to catch the shuttle to the airport. If you are doing it on your own, then I would suggest that you reverse your Chilkoot tour and take the train up and bus back - that way if you are running close you can ask the driver to drop you at the airport.
Thanks so much--I appreciate your advice.

I booked this tour because DH absolutely negated the longer excursion (haven't told him about the Tundra Wilderness Tour yet ) and I've read reviews online that this was preferable to what we originally booked through the ship--which was the rail up and back. Also, if we did the longer tour, there would be no chance to do the dog sledding.

We plan to do the Dog Sledding through the ship. I'm hoping the 8:30 am Chilkoot tour (which states it is 3.5 hours long), means that we will be back at the ship at 12:00, so we have time to grab something to eat, then be picked up at the ship for the Dog Sledding at 12:45.

I just hope I haven't booked these things too close together.

One other question: the Chilkoot tour we have presently booked leaves at 8:30 am with the bus first, rail last. There is also a tour that is the rail first, bus last which leaves at 7:30 am. I chose the later tour because I had read most people preferred taking the bus up and the rail back.

Honestly, I don't mind the cramped time issue and we have been known to eat candy bars when pressed for time for lunch! (One of our party has Celiac, so eating quickly gets a little more complicated.) Just hoping DH has so much fun with the dog sledding that he forgets the time pressure issue.
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  #14  
Old January 31st, 2013, 02:02 PM
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bonvoyagie bonvoyagie is offline
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Here is the company that does all of the Heli tours in Skagway- even through the cruise ship. When the weather is good you can watch them take off and land from the cruise ships - it is like being at a major airport .

http://www.temscoair.com/

Also on the WP RR I prefer the train up as it is a slower ride with less jerking. Most photos I have seen published are from uphill trains.

In my three visits to Skagway I have done the AM summit RT train, the PM summit RT train and the train to Carcross via Bennett. We saw more animals on the PM trip, we also had better weather. This last summer on the Carcross trip the weather from the Summit on up was great.
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  #15  
Old February 2nd, 2013, 01:24 PM
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lois1112 lois1112 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fireflymd View Post
I decided to cancel the excursion originally booked through our cruiseline, since reading on here and over at TripAdvisor that taking a bus/rail excursion might be preferable to taking the train both up and down the mountain, for a variety of reasons.

I booked with Chilkoot for the above-captioned excursion, taking the bus first and then the rail back.

Which side should we sit on for the ride back? I believe I remember reading we should sit on the right side of the train for the ride back.

Thanks, people! I felt very uncomfortable not booking through the cruiseline--don't mind the extra expense and really prefer the convenience and peace of mind, but we're in Skagway so long and they do pick you up and drop you off at the pier, so that's helpful to me.
we did this trip (up to emerald lake) with chilkoot tours in September and loved it. with the early moring trip it was very cool and foggy out...but we still enjoyed it greatly. The afternoon (late) bus ride back was the best. Our guide stopped several places and lets us get out and take pictures...view the sites etc.
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