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What to do in Skagway for the day??

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This will be our first time visiting Skagway.

 

I was wondering what is their not to miss in Skagway??

 

and what would you recommend doing here for the day for a first time visitor?

 

I was reading there is a railway trip from Skagway, Can you do the trip your self or do you have to do it with the ship?

 

Any ideas / suggestions are very welcome clear.png?emoji-smile-1742

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Do not miss going into the NPS visitors center!Yes, you can book the train on your own and even save a couple of sheckels.....

What day??????

Happy to have you here:)

DD

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We're in Skagway Memorial Day 2019. If we could, we would take this tour https://skagwayshoretours.com/tour/bennett-lake-scenic-journey/ but unfortunately, they do not run Sunday and Monday. Of all the train tours we've looked at, I think this is the better of them. We opted instead, for a DIY Jeep rental at half the cost. http://www.diyjeeptours.com/

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Lots options ... depends on your interests and budget.

The train is certainly a popular option. Although some folks prefer renting a car for the day and following a similar route into the Yukon. Or you can take the train one way, and a guided bus trip the other.

Skagway is known for the GoldRush ... do a guided tour with a ranger, then hike or take the bus to the edge of town to see the Goldrush Cemetery where some of the characters are buried.

The town web site provides lots of info, including a self guided walking tour, hiking maps, and a Visitor Guide to download:

http://skagway.com/

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This will be our first time visiting Skagway.

 

I was wondering what is their not to miss in Skagway??

 

and what would you recommend doing here for the day for a first time visitor?

 

I was reading there is a railway trip from Skagway, Can you do the trip your self or do you have to do it with the ship?

 

Any ideas / suggestions are very welcome clear.png?emoji-smile-1742

Our ship has several train tours on their excursions page that look similar to the one I suggested https://skagwayshoretours.com/tour/bennett-lake-scenic-journey/ but they are really not. Comparing all of them indicates that this one is train out and beyond the pass, then bus back. it's not on our ships excursion lists. Yet. You can book yourself but be wary of times so you get back to ship on time. The advantage of booking from your ships lists is that they will hold the ship if late as others have said. We have booked non through our ship.

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We rented a car through Avis and drove up the hwy. to Emerald Lake. Stopped for lunch at Spirt Lake. It was ok. On the way back we drove over to the cemetery and walked up to Reid Falls .

 

We could see the fire that was going on and watched through binoculars as trees ignited. Sad. There is Murray's guide that can be downloaded for $5. The free version is fine. Unless you want a bunch of pictures and is about 32/33 pages.

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I would do a bus/train combination similar to this: https://chilkootcharters.com

 

Rumor is DyeaDave does a great tour also! :) Google dyeadave tours.

 

The National Park Service does do a good tour also. I did this on a 2nd trip after I did train and bus into the Yukon.

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I assume from your name that you are from New Zealand. If this assumption is not correct and you are a US citizen, be aware that if a tour goes into Canada. you need a passport.

 

DON

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We just created a photobook of our Explorer of the Seas Alaskan cruise in August 2018. I had to use SEVERAL pages for the Skagway port because our excursion was very picturesque. We took the Dyea Dave tour from Scagway's port to Emerald Lake. Dani was our tour guide and she was great. You can see my review of Dyea Dave under Trip Advisor. The motorcoach tour lasted from 8 am until 2:30. Dani then dropped us off and we went on the White Pass Yukon rail from Fraser to Scagway. Arrived back in Scagway at 4:30. It was a great way to spend the day and we still had time to walk through all the touristy shops in Scagway.

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I assume from your name that you are from New Zealand. If this assumption is not correct and you are a US citizen, be aware that if a tour goes into Canada. you need a passport.

 

Everyone needs a passport, even Canadians.

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We rented a car from Avis and drove to Emerald Lake. Skagway ended up being our absolute favorite port because of this. We discussed that next time we might take the train, just because it gives you a different view point, however, you couldn't have paid me a million dollars to take a bus or even a small van tour. By driving ourselves, we stopped where we wanted, when we wanted, and for as long as we wanted. We took a few side roads, and drove down so we were on the shore of emerald Lake, instead of on the road with everyone else. My husband spotted a moose and whipped a u-turn in the road and headed back so we could watch it. I'd do the self tour in your own car again in a heartbeat. We also had Murray's Guide to give us some info about where we were and places to watch for along the way.

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Another vote for the car, with two destinations not mentioned yet. First is the Carcross "Desert," a subarctic sand dune area (not really a desert) that's quite striking, and the second is a ghost town a few km past Emerald Lake (nice, but not earth-shattering.) Map - https://goo.gl/maps/sGxAbbmpSHy (only the grid coordinates on the map for the Robinson Roadhouse ghost town site.) You'll probably have the roadhouse site to yourselves, except for the marmots and ground squirrels who will protest your every step, loudly. It's a fun day away from the crowds in Skagway.

 

Carcross desert -

 

bb952dbb91779875f6afe2afdc9d5d41.jpg

 

Robinson Roadhouse -

 

PG-Robinson-Roadhouse-06.jpg

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Skagway was my favorite port call. We spent the morning walking around the town and seeing the film at the ranger station. Then we had an excursion (booked through the ship) to the dog sled camp. The ride out to the camp was beautiful. We could have spent the entire day in the town, but the dogs were worth the trip. It was such a long stop for our ship, that some people booked two excursions - one in the morning and one in the afternoon. I think it would have been possible to ride the train and still do the dog sledding, but that would not have left much time for the town. And I really enjoyed that.

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Another vote for the car, with two destinations not mentioned yet. First is the Carcross "Desert," a subarctic sand dune area (not really a desert) that's quite striking, and the second is a ghost town a few km past Emerald Lake (nice, but not earth-shattering.) Map - https://goo.gl/maps/sGxAbbmpSHy (only the grid coordinates on the map for the Robinson Roadhouse ghost town site.) You'll probably have the roadhouse site to yourselves, except for the marmots and ground squirrels who will protest your every step, loudly. It's a fun day away from the crowds in Skagway.

 

Carcross desert -

 

bb952dbb91779875f6afe2afdc9d5d41.jpg

 

 

Awesome picture!

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We rented a car from Avis and drove to Emerald Lake. Skagway ended up being our absolute favorite port because of this. We discussed that next time we might take the train, just because it gives you a different view point, however, you couldn't have paid me a million dollars to take a bus or even a small van tour. By driving ourselves, we stopped where we wanted, when we wanted, and for as long as we wanted. We took a few side roads, and drove down so we were on the shore of emerald Lake, instead of on the road with everyone else. My husband spotted a moose and whipped a u-turn in the road and headed back so we could watch it. I'd do the self tour in your own car again in a heartbeat. We also had Murray's Guide to give us some info about where we were and places to watch for along the way.

 

We rented a car the first time and did the train / bus tour the second time. Hands down...rent the car. Almost the same views and you can stop whenever / where ever you want. Both were great days but the car rental was better than the train.

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We did our first Alaska in early Sept 18. We are both 65, not as active as we once were but in good health.

 

In Skagway, we did a trip through the cruise line, Best of Skagway-Rail Summit, Trail Camp, Salmon Bake.

 

We boarded a bus right at the ship. A short Skagway tour with lots of bad jokes/puns ("Here is the Skagway financial district" as we passed a Wells Fargo Bank) along with good historical commentary. The bus took us through Skagway and up into the mountains and Canada. Several photo stops, one quick bear sighting (it crossed the road and disappeared), and we arrived at Canadian Customs. Everyone had to show their passport to the agent as she walked through the bus, then off to the railroad siding.

 

Bus driver checked with railroad people, and we were assigned to a car. Everyone from our bus was on one rail car for the trip back down. We had about 20-30 minutes to transfer from bus to rail, take pics, etc. Then we started down. Great commentary on both geographic vistas and historical sites. Lots of info on how the rail line was built, financed, etc. All built around the gold rush into Canada. Train stopped at one point to pick up hikers, then back into Skagway.

 

Our bus driver was right there to pick us up and take us to Liarsville Gold Camp. Cheesy show but a good salmon bake. Good beer for purchase. Maybe too long there, then back on the same bus to the Red Onion in Skagway. Quick stop at a great overlook on the way, a spot our driver said should be on the tour but wasn't. Red Onion is an old brothel, moved and changed somewhat from the gold rush days, but a good overview of that "business" of the day.

 

From the Red Onion, we had a choice of riding the bus back (with a very short time at the Onion), or walking back to the pier. We walked to the NPS offices and visitors center (Great spot, should have spent more time there), the rail car area (great rotary snowplow) then back to the ship.

 

Not much shopping in the downtown area. Normal cruise ship shops (DI, Del Sol, etc), but I didn't see much "real Alaska". We did shop more in Ketchakan.

 

One warning - Pay attention to the signs. We were one of 3 ships in port that day. The closest ship to downtown, therefore the easiest to head towards, is not where we were berthed. We had to do a little backtracking. Railcars to ship was about a 20 minute walk, not including our detour.

 

Would I do it again? Yes, it was a great tour, good overview of the area, etc. More interesting, I might opt for the train up in the morning to the hiking area, a 3-4 mile hike, and train back down. My wife would prefer to avoid the hike.

 

Hope this helps your decisions. Ship trips or non, was my biggest concern heading into Alaska for the first time.

 

Dave

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Google Murray's Guide to the south Yukon Hiway, the guide is great if you want to drive.  We used it several years back and will do so again on our cruise.  The car is so much cheaper than the bus or train and you control the schedule and where you stop for photos.

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Thank You everyone for the replays and information 🙂

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Posted (edited)

Just back from our Solstice trip.  We had been to Skagway twice before and basically just walked around the town, so this time around, I booked a hour trip with Beyond Skagway for seven of us.  Everyone loved it! We drove up to the Suspension Bridge, got our passports stamped, and then made some stops along the way to see all the beautiful scenery. Finished with a stop at the Gold Rush Cemetary. I didn't realize how much we had missed by staying in town!  We would have done the train, but for us, it would have been too much sitting for our teenage boys. They were happy to get out of the van and climb around a bit at each stop.

Edited by Belle5129

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Here is a short video interview I did with Murray Lunberg who is a retired Alaska tour guide and author of Murray's Guide to the South Klondike Highway.  He also lived in Carcross and now lives in Whitehorse.  https://youtu.be/M0SoEqRPemY

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It has been nine years since our Alaska trip but DyeaDave did an absolute fantastic tour and was cheaper and went farther than the train does.

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