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Will we have enough time to get to Emerald Lake from Skagway???


Adian80
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We are planning on renting a car from Avis and driving to Emerald Lake and Caribou Crossing.  We arrive at 7AM and Depart at 5PM.  We plan on being one of the first off the ship and hustling to Avis.  Do those that have rented a car with Avis and have made the drive to Emerald Lake think we'll have enough time?  My plan is to hopefully have the rental car by 8, drive to Caribou Crossing (arriving around 10),  maybe pan for gold, and explore the town a little.  Then we'll have lunch at Caribou Coffee (might take it to go in the car to save time), head to Emerald Lake, take a short stop at the desert on out way back to Skagway, and possibly a stop at Tutshi Sled Dog camp to see the puppies (we are doing a sled dog experience on another day, but won't get to see puppies.) I plan on dropping the car between 3 and 3:30.  Approximately how long does it typically take at the boarder crossing?  Anyone see any issues with my plan? Will we have enough time for additional photo ops on the way?  I plan on purchasing Murray's Guide (http://*****/) for guide and route info. 

Edited by Adian80
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29 minutes ago, Adian80 said:

We are planning on renting a car from Avis and driving to Emerald Lake and Caribou Crossing.  We arrive at 7AM and Depart at 5PM.  We plan on being one of the first off the ship and hustling to Avis.  Do those that have rented a car with Avis and have made the drive to Emerald Lake think we'll have enough time?  My plan is to hopefully have the rental car by 8, drive to Caribou Crossing (arriving around 10),  maybe pan for gold, and explore the town a little.  Then we'll have lunch at Caribou Coffee (might take it to go in the car to save time), head to Emerald Lake, take a short stop at the desert on out way back to Skagway, and possibly a stop at Tutshi Sled Dog camp to see the puppies (we are doing a sled dog experience on another day, but won't get to see puppies.) I plan on dropping the car between 3 and 3:30.  Approximately how long does it typically take at the boarder crossing?  Anyone see any issues with my plan? Will we have enough time for additional photo ops on the way?  I plan on purchasing Murray's Guide (http://*****/) for guide and route info. 

 

Murray's Guide will answer some of your questions.  The main page of the Murray's Guide website says I recommend that a minimum of 5 hours be allowed for the trip from Skagway to Emerald Lake and back. We have rented 2 Jeeps from DIY Jeep Tours.  We expect to pick up the jeeps around 10 and let Murray show us the way,  We plan on lunch and photo stops but no gold panning or puppies.  The ship doesn't leave until 5.  

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I may differ from others, but I don't think Emerald Lake is that big of an attraction.  The drive to it is very scenic, but the lake itself is kind of ho-hum, IMO.  The Carcross Desert is kind of cool since it seems so out of place.  Walking around Carcross is pretty nice. 

I'm renting a car in June and hope to see bears munching on the dandelions alongside the highway.  Maybe also go to the suspension bridge this time.

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Just because your ship arrives at 7am doesn't necessarily mean that your going to be getting off at 7am, it'll be closer to about 8am, you and 3000 other people will be wanting to get off the ship. I'd beat feet over to Avis and be one of the first in line to get a car. A word of caution obey the speed limit all the way to the Canadian border, the city limits of Skagway go just about to the border and the police patrol that area speeders. The border crossings are pretty fast, just be sure you have your travel documents handy. It's about a 2 hour drive 170km - 105 miles from Skagway to Carcross with no stops. I would drive non stop, ahead of all the buses up to Caribou Crossing, it's a huge tourist trap. They do have a nice BBQ chicken lunch, museum and they also have a musher camp with puppies there. I also think Emerald lake is Ho-Hum, maybe because I've seen it so many times. Stop in the small town of Carcross and walk around and then start working your way back to Skagway stopping at the photo ops on the return to Skagway. This way you'll miss a lot of the buses.

Randy

Edited by Eaglecw
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Emerald Lake is worth seeing though if it is not of interest - it is a good turnaround to head home. I personally preferred Emerald Lake to the desert.

 

Yes - the OP has enough time. Most of the time, people are not rushing to get off the ship at 7 am. If I remember correctly, Avis probably doesn't open until 8. I would still walk off as soon as possible to get to Avis to be the first to get your car.

 

We have always stopped along the way and never had problems with the buses. It is easy to avoid them at the stops.

Edited by Coral
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I was unimpressed by Emerald Lake, but we went on a few miles to the Robinson Roadhouse ghost town, which we had pretty much to ourselves, except for a large number of ground squirrels or marmots, who noisily protested our every step.  We got back to Skagway with plenty of time (same schedule as yours.)

 

PG-Robinson-Roadhouse-06.jpg

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Several years back, we did this, and had plenty of time. Took us about 5 hours round trip, and we stopped many times, including for danishes at a bakery in the small town on the Canadian side, the ‘desert’ and Emerald Lake. The attraction is the drive itself, which is fantastic. We are doing it again next year.

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The Yukon highway has two seasons;  winter and road construction where an entire lane could be closed for several miles causing some delays.

 

To eliminate the time worry, drive directly to Emerald Lake while making note of those places to stop on the way back and don't stop UNLESS you see some bears eating the dandelions next to the road.

 

Make all of your viewing stops on the return trip from Emerald Lake where you can be mindful of how much time to stop at each one and get back to Skagway on time.

 

Enjoy your cruise and excursion planning.

 

 

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On 4/6/2019 at 8:02 PM, Eaglecw said:

Just because your ship arrives at 7am doesn't necessarily mean that your going to be getting off at 7am, it'll be closer to about 8am, you and 3000 other people will be wanting to get off the ship. I'd beat feet over to Avis and be one of the first in line to get a car. A word of caution obey the speed limit all the way to the Canadian border, the city limits of Skagway go just about to the border and the police patrol that area speeders. The border crossings are pretty fast, just be sure you have your travel documents handy. It's about a 2 hour drive 170km - 105 miles from Skagway to Carcross with no stops. I would drive non stop, ahead of all the buses up to Caribou Crossing, it's a huge tourist trap. They do have a nice BBQ chicken lunch, museum and they also have a musher camp with puppies there. I also think Emerald lake is Ho-Hum, maybe because I've seen it so many times. Stop in the small town of Carcross and walk around and then start working your way back to Skagway stopping at the photo ops on the return to Skagway. This way you'll miss a lot of the buses.

Randy

 

On 4/7/2019 at 8:37 AM, Coral said:

Emerald Lake is worth seeing though if it is not of interest - it is a good turnaround to head home. I personally preferred Emerald Lake to the desert.

 

Yes - the OP has enough time. Most of the time, people are not rushing to get off the ship at 7 am. If I remember correctly, Avis probably doesn't open until 8. I would still walk off as soon as possible to get to Avis to be the first to get your car.

 

We have always stopped along the way and never had problems with the buses. It is easy to avoid them at the stops.

I agree with Coral....I have never seen a port stop that is docked where it's taken me an hour to get off the ship at 7am....at that time you should be walking right off the ship no problem. A tender port would be another story. 

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On 4/7/2019 at 8:37 AM, Coral said:

Emerald Lake is worth seeing though if it is not of interest - it is a good turnaround to head home. I personally preferred Emerald Lake to the desert.

 

Yes - the OP has enough time. Most of the time, people are not rushing to get off the ship at 7 am. If I remember correctly, Avis probably doesn't open until 8. I would still walk off as soon as possible to get to Avis to be the first to get your car.

 

We have always stopped along the way and never had problems with the buses. It is easy to avoid them at the stops.

 

Our reservation is at 7:30 and it says online that they open at 7, so we should be good to go. 

 

 

On 4/7/2019 at 9:30 AM, Gardyloo said:

I was unimpressed by Emerald Lake, but we went on a few miles to the Robinson Roadhouse ghost town, which we had pretty much to ourselves, except for a large number of ground squirrels or marmots, who noisily protested our every step.  We got back to Skagway with plenty of time (same schedule as yours.)

 

PG-Robinson-Roadhouse-06.jpg

 

This looks interesting!  Is it right off the main road?
 

 

Thank you all for the great tips!  Based on all you comments I think we'll have plenty of time.  We have several expensive ports, so we need this one to on the lower cost side and I think it will be an enjoyable day.  

 

 

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We didn't get our car until around 9, took about 4 hours driving to Emerald Lake because we stopped at literally every opportunity to take pictures, went to Carcross, saw the desert, ate lunch and got back in plenty of time to return the car and get back on the ship.

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2 hours ago, bajathree said:

Avis hours at Skagway:

Westmark Inn,AK8
3rd Street and Spring Street , (Open 4/29/19 - 10/03/19) 
Skagway, AK 99840 US
(1) 907-983-2247 
Sun - Sat 7:00 AM - 8:00 PM

That is great. I remember waiting outside for them to open.

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Every time I've done this I've taken 5-6 hours. I'm usually first in line at Avis and beat the buses to all the stops. You should be back in Skagway by 2-3 pm with some time to explore the town and shop.

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