Skagway - Drive or Tour?

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#1
Kent, WA
115 Posts
Joined Jan 2013
I would like to go up to the top of White Pass.

I am trying to decide between renting a car & driving ourselves, and taking a bus tour of some sort. We will have 2 kids with us, age 7 & 9. (Train tour is not an option due to cost.)

I think the information the tour guide provides would be interesting. Not sure which option would be better for the kids though.

Suggestions of tour operators welcome. Thanks!
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#2
Canton, Georgia
309 Posts
Joined Nov 2006
With kids that small, rent a car and drive. You can not believe the scenery and you will be able to stop all along and get out. We went on the train on our first trip and then drove the second. I loved the train, but the drive was wonderful! Just do it!
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Ann

#3
Melbourne, FL
285 Posts
Joined Dec 2005
We drove to Emerald lake 6 years ago and are going back next month with daughters 11 and 17. There was snow last time so since we are from Florida the girls are looking forward to seeing snow. Very nice and easy drive. Bring snacks
#4
Oahu
94 Posts
Joined Sep 2012
we, too, are doing the drive. in doing my research, i have found quite a few people recommend murray's travel guide ($5).
we downloaded it from murraysguide dot com
there's a sample on the site that you can look at and see if it interests you. i looked at the sample and decided it would be more than worth the $5. downloaded it to a kindle and am ready to go.
i can't wait to do the drive
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#5
Issaquah, WA
3,910 Posts
Joined Aug 2000
Originally posted by smalltownmomwa
I would like to go up to the top of White Pass.

I am trying to decide between renting a car & driving ourselves, and taking a bus tour of some sort. We will have 2 kids with us, age 7 & 9. (Train tour is not an option due to cost.)

I think the information the tour guide provides would be interesting. Not sure which option would be better for the kids though.

Suggestions of tour operators welcome. Thanks!
If you aren't going to take the train, you might as well drive yourselves. It will give you a lot more flexibility to stop when you want, stay at each stop as long (or short) as you like, eat when and where you want, etc. I don't think kids that age would appreciate being cooped up in a tour bus all day.
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#6
Minnesota
623 Posts
Joined Aug 2006
Most definately drive, Avis will take reservations and one of you can go early in the am and get the car and come back to the boat to pick up the rest if need be. Stop and get some snacks for the kids, give the oldest one Murrays guide to tell you where to stop. Keep them looking for bears,and sheep etc. You can stop at Carcross and visit the little farm they have, but the most important is if the kids want to stay just a bit longer you are not on a schedule so you can do that. Someone here maybe able to help me but there is a section on the way up where they have rocks that are stacked on top of each other and there are many, not sure what it is called but pretty cool to look at and take pictures of. You can download Murrays guide and print it out if you want and the kids can highlight areas they may think is interesting to stop. We went in May and than one year in Aug both times we saw bears, in may we saw a mom and 2 cubs near the side of the road. Good Luck!
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#7
170 Posts
Joined Jan 2012
I am driving with my 4 & 8 year olds in July. I plan on downloading Murray's guide as well as copying a few pages off the Milepost guide from the library.

But I am not one for doing organized tours when I can easily do it on my own and with information I can easily find through the internet & books. Some people enjoy organized tours (my parents) but they are not for me!
#8
Tampa, Florida
616 Posts
Joined Jul 2012
I booked a tour that does a train one way, bus the other with a stop at dog sled camp place. I have never been on a train before so this will give me the chance to ride one while seeing amazing scenery. The bus is supposed to stop for picture ops along the way. I'm looking forward to it. Hubby didn't care either way, he told me to book whatever I wanted except he does not want to do any whale watching or fishing or snorkeling or kayaking. So I figured this would be a safe bet for both of us lol.
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#9
Syracuse, New York
50,125 Posts
Joined May 2000
Originally posted by smalltownmomwa
I would like to go up to the top of White Pass.

I am trying to decide between renting a car & driving ourselves, and taking a bus tour of some sort. We will have 2 kids with us, age 7 & 9. (Train tour is not an option due to cost.)

I think the information the tour guide provides would be interesting. Not sure which option would be better for the kids though.

Suggestions of tour operators welcome. Thanks!
You only mention "White Pass", so not sure what "tour" you are considering? With a car rental, AND passports, you could drive to Emerald Lake. IF you are just looking at a "summit" tour, this is 40++ miles further. You also have the opportunity for a stop in a desert, and Caribou Crossing- which has a dog kennel.

This would be your most "cost" effective, since that is mentioned in your post.
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#10
Portland Oregon
2,775 Posts
Joined Apr 2006
The summit of White Pass is not all that big of a deal. I would highly suggest mushing onward to Carcross and Emerald Lake - be sure to have your passports for both entry into Canada and getting back into the US.
#12
Syracuse, New York
50,125 Posts
Joined May 2000
Originally posted by smalltownmomwa
Thanks for all the replies! Looks like renting is the consensus.
If you haven't you need to book that car NOW. There is only one major company and one independent. Third there is a costly "jeep" option.
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#13
Michigan
145 Posts
Joined Aug 2011
if for some reason you find the rentals are booked...Beyond Skagway Tours will create your own custom tour and they charge by the hour not per person.
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#14
25 Posts
Joined Oct 2010
Originally posted by Budget Queen
You only mention "White Pass", so not sure what "tour" you are considering? With a car rental, AND passports, you could drive to Emerald Lake. IF you are just looking at a "summit" tour, this is 40++ miles further. You also have the opportunity for a stop in a desert, and Caribou Crossing- which has a dog kennel.

This would be your most "cost" effective, since that is mentioned in your post.
Do you know if you could book dog cart rides at Caribou Crossing if you drove on your own?
#15
Syracuse, New York
50,125 Posts
Joined May 2000
Originally posted by peachygreen
Do you know if you could book dog cart rides at Caribou Crossing if you drove on your own?
http://cariboucrossing.ca/dog-cart.html

We have never had any problem getting walk up rides. Some wait, but never significant.

You likely will have to wait if you book ahead, so I don't suggest it. You really don't want to be tied to a timeframe with this drive, in my opinion. Being that this is the "meal stop" area, you could have a good amount of flexibility, even if you need to take a later dog cart ride.
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#16
4,344 Posts
Joined Jun 2009
Caribou Crossing is where all the cruise ship tours stop for lunch. Just keep that in mind. Personally, if it wasn't for the lunch stop, I could have easily skipped it.

Also, as was said, you will be crossing into Canada (and back). You must have passports (or other appropriate ID, passport is best) for everyone.
#17
Syracuse, New York
50,125 Posts
Joined May 2000
Originally posted by 1025cruise
Caribou Crossing is where all the cruise ship tours stop for lunch. Just keep that in mind. Personally, if it wasn't for the lunch stop, I could have easily skipped it.

Also, as was said, you will be crossing into Canada (and back). You must have passports (or other appropriate ID, passport is best) for everyone.
This is only an ok meal stop, for independents. Few of the ship tour people do the cart rides, which the question involved.

If you see buses, then pass by and stop on the return. Pretty easy to hit a fewer crowds timeframe. Especially simple to hit, IF you leave, shortly after picking up an 8am car rental. (you do need to be in line by about 7:30a if using Avis.
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#18
Glendale, AZ
1,295 Posts
Joined Aug 2000
Originally posted by kamac56
Most definately drive, Avis will take reservations .......
How far in advance does Avis take reservations in Skagway? Is it best to call the Avis office in Skagway directly, or do it online through avis dot com? Thanks.
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