Skagway - Rent a car or Train excursion??

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#41
Florida
46 Posts
Joined Apr 2012
We booked with a private tour company and did the train with an 18 passenger motorcoach rather than the big tour bus. It was a wonderful tour. We did the train up and came back on the coach, stopping at multiple points along the way. The driver of the motorcoach loved his job, and he told us so much history and local folklore on the trip. When someone spotted bears, the driver stopped and everyone got to see them. When someone needed something, the driver stopped at a small store on the route so they could get it. We stopped at the Yukon sign, the Alaska sign, and other places, and the driver used our cameras over and over again to take pictures of our total group. We had far more freedom than on the ship's big bus, but no one had to drive. I would do the same excursion again if back in the area.
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busyone

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#42
SC
343 Posts
Joined Feb 2013
Originally posted by big bro
Hello, First time Alaskan cruise for us. Is it better to rent a car and travel to whitehorse or Emerald Lake on our own or take the train / bus tour?? Thank you!
We rented a car and drove up to Emerald Lake. The day we went the weather was gorgeous. We stopped and explored the waterfalls along the side of the road and the views are amazing. I guess it really depends on what you want to see. Yes the experience of riding the train/bus is nice but I am so glad we rented the car. We were able to do things on our own & enjoy the whole region.
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Shannon

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#44
Windsor, Ontario, Canada
137 Posts
Joined Sep 2009
We are cruising on the NCL Sun and will be in Skagway on the 27th of June. We have booked a jeep with Alaska Green Jeep and plan to travel all the way to Emerald Lake. AGJ supplies either a two door or a four door jeep, an hour+ CD giving the history and lore of the area, maps, and a cooler with drinks and snacks. Like so many posters, we love to move at our own pace and are really looking forward to the drive.
#45
Syracuse, New York
50,125 Posts
Joined May 2000
Originally posted by pillow
In Carcross, is there other food to purchase (quick sandwiches, etc), or is the only option the buffet? Thx!

Jodie
Yes these are a few places. Spirit Lake Lodge has a restaurant- good pie. The Carcross gas station seems to change vendors at times, but, I've always had good food there.
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#46
374 Posts
Joined Dec 2012
Originally posted by pillow
In Carcross, is there other food to purchase (quick sandwiches, etc), or is the only option the buffet?
There are also several food vendors in downtown Carcross - a good-sized "bistro" with a big deck that got delayed by permits last year should be open this season. I quit going to the gas station cafe years ago - BQ has been lucky in never having bad food there.
#47
Syracuse, New York
50,125 Posts
Joined May 2000
Originally posted by huskyguy
There are also several food vendors in downtown Carcross - a good-sized "bistro" with a big deck that got delayed by permits last year should be open this season. I quit going to the gas station cafe years ago - BQ has been lucky in never having bad food there.
There have been vendor changes. But I seem to purchase the simple- easy prepared stuff. Fresh sandwiches that were fine.
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#48
2,221 Posts
Joined Jan 2013
Originally posted by pillow
In Carcross, is there other food to purchase (quick sandwiches, etc), or is the only option the buffet? Thx!
Someone on here recommended the new Chilkoot Trail Authentic Sourdough Bakery in Carcross for soup and sandwiches.

They have a website with some photos at

http://www.chilkootbakery.com/

I have not yet tried it myself but made a note of it for the next time I get up that way as yet another option for avoiding the hordes of bus passengers at the Caribou Crossing buffet.


#49
Mississauga, ON
7,047 Posts
Joined Feb 2006
Everyone keeps mentioning going to Emerald Lake but when I look at the train excursion, it refers to the White Pass. Is this the same? Would we see the same going by train or renting a car/ jeep?

There are 6 in our party. Would 6 fit in a jeep or will we have to rent a mini van?
Anyone know what the cost for a van would be?

Thanks for any info.
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Mary
#50
374 Posts
Joined Dec 2012
Originally posted by mississauga
Everyone keeps mentioning going to Emerald Lake but when I look at the train excursion, it refers to the White Pass. Is this the same? Would we see the same going by train or renting a car/ jeep?

There are 6 in our party. Would 6 fit in a jeep or will we have to rent a mini van?
Anyone know what the cost for a van would be?
The White Pass is 25 miles from Skagway, Emerald Lake is 75 miles. The views from the highway and train are different - both worth seeing, but to do that takes a train/bus excursion. Six people don't fit in a jeep, and even 4 are more comfortable in a normal vehicle. Vans are about $150.
#51
2,221 Posts
Joined Jan 2013
Originally posted by mississauga
Everyone keeps mentioning going to Emerald Lake but when I look at the train excursion, it refers to the White Pass. Is this the same? Would we see the same going by train or renting a car/ jeep?

There are 6 in our party. Would 6 fit in a jeep or will we have to rent a mini van?
Anyone know what the cost for a van would be?
We rented a minivan from Avis that held 6 very comfortably.
As I recall, it was around $150 when we did it a few years ago.

I just plugged in a random date in June and it showed $189 for a minivan on that day.

But you can try the Avis website yourself to see what they will charge for a minivan at their Skagway location for the date you actually want.
Prices can fluctuate with supply and demand.

If your party of 6 wants both the White Pass train excursion and the drive up into the Yukon to Emerald Lake, then the rental car + train combination would be ideal for you.

Any who don't want the train ride can ride up to Carcross in the rental car while the others ride the train, and then everybody gets the ride up to Emerald Lake.

#52
Southernmost Ontario
933 Posts
Joined Feb 2010
If you want to book a van I would book it now. Avis is the only new car rental agency in Skagway. There is another car rental place that rents reliable older vehicles. I just booked a car the other day for our day in Skagway on June 4 through Avis. You don't need to pay anything now, you pay when you pick up the vehicle. So otherwords, if you are currently undecided, I would at least book something with the option of cancelling. The smaller cars were already sold out for our day of June 4!
#53
Syracuse, New York
50,125 Posts
Joined May 2000
Originally posted by Ontario cruise duo
If you want to book a van I would book it now. Avis is the only new car rental agency in Skagway. There is another car rental place that rents reliable older vehicles. I just booked a car the other day for our day in Skagway on June 4 through Avis. You don't need to pay anything now, you pay when you pick up the vehicle. So otherwords, if you are currently undecided, I would at least book something with the option of cancelling. The smaller cars were already sold out for our day of June 4!
I always recommend this as well. IF even a remote chance of wanting a rental car, then make a reservation. BUT do cancel, if you change your mind.

Avis cars, always sell out. You will see people off to the side waiting for no shows, and then more people showing up, expecting to get a car walk up. It is a big mistake, thinking this, but, it never changes, there are always those walk up people. In the past Avis, did release "no shows" a couple hours after the reserved pick up time. SO if anyone is going to be late, call them directly and let them know you are still coming to get the car.
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#54
Mississauga, ON
7,047 Posts
Joined Feb 2006
Originally posted by huskyguy
The White Pass is 25 miles from Skagway, Emerald Lake is 75 miles. The views from the highway and train are different - both worth seeing, but to do that takes a train/bus excursion. Six people don't fit in a jeep, and even 4 are more comfortable in a normal vehicle. Vans are about $150.
Originally posted by varoo
We rented a minivan from Avis that held 6 very comfortably.
As I recall, it was around $150 when we did it a few years ago.

I just plugged in a random date in June and it showed $189 for a minivan on that day.

But you can try the Avis website yourself to see what they will charge for a minivan at their Skagway location for the date you actually want.
Prices can fluctuate with supply and demand.

If your party of 6 wants both the White Pass train excursion and the drive up into the Yukon to Emerald Lake, then the rental car + train combination would be ideal for you.

Any who don't want the train ride can ride up to Carcross in the rental car while the others ride the train, and then everybody gets the ride up to Emerald Lake.


Thank you for your responses and informative help..
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Mary
#55
Mississauga, ON
7,047 Posts
Joined Feb 2006
Originally posted by Ontario cruise duo
If you want to book a van I would book it now. Avis is the only new car rental agency in Skagway. There is another car rental place that rents reliable older vehicles. I just booked a car the other day for our day in Skagway on June 4 through Avis. You don't need to pay anything now, you pay when you pick up the vehicle. So otherwords, if you are currently undecided, I would at least book something with the option of cancelling. The smaller cars were already sold out for our day of June 4!
Good idea!

Can we no longer quote 3 posts? Tried and only 2 got quoted in one post?
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Mary
#56
Ohio
83 Posts
Joined Nov 2013
We did the train up and the bus back. We loved the trip. It allowed us to enjoy the scenery and sites, especially on the train. They do a pretty good job at telling you about the area and you can take some great pictures on the platforms between railcars.

The bus trip stops a few times for pictures and our stopped for eating and a gold pan excursion also. It really just shows you another view of the train trip from the other side of the passes.

These eliminate the hassle of the driver concentrating on the road and traffic instead of seeing the sites and enjoying the family time.
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#57
California
253 Posts
Joined Mar 2010
Originally posted by varoo
Someone on here recommended the new Chilkoot Trail Authentic Sourdough Bakery in Carcross for soup and sandwiches.

They have a website with some photos at

http://www.chilkootbakery.com/

I have not yet tried it myself but made a note of it for the next time I get up that way as yet another option for avoiding the hordes of bus passengers at the Caribou Crossing buffet.

We ate here in May 2013, and it was great. Delicious soups and sandwiches, and yummy pie and other desserts, even some things appropriate for the two of us in our group who are vegetarian (which was a very pleasant surprise). Nice people run the place and work there. Very reasonably priced.

We also rented a minivan (some sort of Toyota) from Avis - we had 5 adults and it worked well (tho someone had to sit in the very back seat). As others have said, reserve ahead if you think you might want one, otherwise you might be out of luck.
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#58
Milford,Ct.
831 Posts
Joined Jun 2006
My questions: Do the Murray Guide come in the form of a CD, does Avis have CD player in car? I am very techno impaired. Any chance of buying this kind of audio guide in Skagway. We will be there in 5 weeks.
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#59
Middle of the Sahara Desert
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Joined Aug 2006
Originally posted by carribbeanmic
My questions: Do the Murray Guide come in the form of a CD, does Avis have CD player in car? I am very techno impaired. Any chance of buying this kind of audio guide in Skagway. We will be there in 5 weeks.
Probably not , many of these type of guides are self published by the author .
As to Avis can't answer that question.
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#60
Kansas USA
1,149 Posts
Joined Mar 2004
Originally posted by carribbeanmic
My questions: Do the Murray Guide come in the form of a CD, does Avis have CD player in car? I am very techno impaired. Any chance of buying this kind of audio guide in Skagway. We will be there in 5 weeks.
Here's what it says on Murray's Website:

If you have an iPod, there is now an MP3 audio guide to Skagway and the highway (with excellent musical accompaniment, and geocaching information), for $8.99
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I've also read reviews from the Alaska Green Jeep tours that they provide a CD audio tour with their rentals, so there must be somebody providing this service.
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