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Skagway Train - difference in tours


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I am a train enthusiast and totally want to take a train trip in Skagway.

I'm overwhelmed with the choices and would like some input from those that have taken the different options on pros/cons...

If it matters - this would be late May 2021 (hopefully) Thank you.

 

1. White Pass Rail & Yukon Expedition - 8.5 hours -  motor coach to the top of the White Pass. A stop at Caribou Crossing Trading Post is an opportunity to satisfy your wilderness appetite with a delicious chicken barbecue lunch complete with Grandma's all-you-can-eat homemade donuts. Tour Yukon's most extensive Wildlife Museum. At the Dog Musher's Village, visit with Iditarod dog mushers and take pictures with sled dogs and husky puppies; or, for an extra fee, join them for a dog-cart ride with actual Iditarod and Yukon Quest dogs. Back at Fraser, British Columbia, you'll board the White Pass & Yukon Route Railroad for a truly unforgettable ride down this historic and breathtaking narrow-gauge track.

 

2.  White Pass Rail, Summit, Gold Panning & Barbecue Lunch - 5.75 hours - Follow the route from Skagway to the Klondike gold fields aboard the White Pass & Yukon Route Railroad beyond the summit of White Pass to Fraser, British Columbia.  At Fraser, board a motorcoach and journey down the west side of the White Pass Canyon. Your driver-guide shares tales of stampeders who traveled the pass in search of their fortune. Time Permitting, a stop at Tormented Valley and Pitchfork Falls provides picturesque valley views.  Your destination is Dredge Town, where you will enjoy an authentic barbecue lunch including ribs, chicken and various side-dishes. Experience a glimpse of the life of a prospector when you join a colorful cast of characters to learn the art of gold panning. Tour the 'living museum' to learn the fascinating history of the gold-rush days before the picturesque drive back to the port.

 

3. White Pass Summit Scenic Railroad - 2.75 hours -Take an unforgettable round trip journey aboard the White Pass & Yukon Route Railroad. Ride in a comfortable, restored or replica vintage rail car to the summit of the White Pass, through two tunnels, over sky-high trestles, and remote valleys. Pass Bridal Veil Falls, Inspiration Point and Dead Horse Gulch as your guide announces all points of interest and tells the story of the Klondike Gold Rush.

At the White Pass Summit at 2,865 feet, the train makes a loop and heads back down the pass, allowing everyone to experience the excellent views during this round trip rail journey.

 

3. White Pass Rail, Klondike Highway & Liarsville Gold Camp - 5 hours - Experience an unforgettable journey along the eastern side of White Pass aboard the world-famous narrow-gauge White Pass & Yukon Route Railroad, built more than 100 years ago. You'll pass through some of the North's most rugged terrain on board a comfortable, narrow-gauge rail car as you retrace the original route through breathtaking scenery beyond the summit of White Pass at 2,865 feet.

Upon reaching Fraser, British Columbia, board a motor coach for the journey down the west side of White Pass Canyon. Stop at historic Liarsville, a gold rush trail camp nestled beside a waterfall at the foot of White Pass. Browse the authentic camp exhibits, including antiques and garments left behind by the prospectors and those who profited from them. A cast of 'sourdoughs' and dance hall girls will entertain you with a hilarious melodrama and a poem by Robert Service, the Bard of the North. You'll also have a chance to try your hand at the art of gold panning in the Liarsville gold fields

 

Add to Wish List White Pass Rail, Summit, Gold Panning & Barbecue LunWhile I am a train enthusiast... I want to get the most of of my time in port.  Do you get more from taking a bus one way?  Is it better to take the bus up vs back? Is the gold camp totally cheesy tourist trap stuff?
 
I think I'm leaning towards 1 or 3....
Any input/feedback would be most appreciated!
Thank you.

 

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My hubby is also a train enthusiast.  We have ridden the train many times.  My favorite was #1 listed above—while I enjoy train travel, it was nice to do and experience other things.

 

Hubby’s favorite is riding on the train both directions.  As a train buff, he’s particular about what car and what engine is used.  He always tries to ride with the steam engine—I have to call every trip to see if there is a trip with that engine.  He will also choose the 3 hour excursion that is exclusively on the train while I go and do something else.
 
My advice is to do an excursion where you ride the train one way and pick the excursion that looks like the most fun for you.  What ever you decide, enjoy!  The train is spectacular!

 

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I have experienced all of the above excursions.  My favorite train excursion to Lake Bennett was not on your list but it has a private dining car that at the most is 50% filled, great food, and goes all the way to Lake Bennett after a bus ride to Cairncross.

 

#1 Caribou Crossing food was very good and the museum shows just how tall a grizzly can stand.  #2 Gold panning was truly a chilling adventure with the cold water and "spiked" gold pans.  My little piece of gold lasted until I sneezed and it flew away.  #3 Liarsville with the gold rush stories was really interesting.

 

The train leaves Skagway and stops in Fraser for the return trip on the same track.  Since the track runs through a valley it is important to sit on the left going to Fraser and on the right back to Skagway or you will be looking at a rock wall.  As a photographer, I spend a lot of my time on the platform between the cars taking photos of the passing scenery.

 

If wildlife is spotted by any of the bus passengers, the driver may stop for photos.

 

Here are links to my train photos:

 

http://www.rogerjett-photography.com/place/alaska-2/skagway-2/white-pass-yukon-railroad

 

http://www.rogerjett-photography.com/place/canada/yukon-territory/caribou-crossing

Edited by Crew News
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We enjoyed excursion #1. Getting into the Yukon was a major point for me. Carcross Crossing was a cheesy tourist trap, but the donuts were good and plentiful. The bus also stopped in Carcross proper, which was less cheesy. The bus stopped three times to watch bears eating dandelions on the side of the road.

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15 hours ago, Crew News said:

I have experienced all of the above excursions.  My favorite train excursion to Lake Bennett was not on your list but it has a private dining car that at the most is 50% filled, great food, and goes all the way to Lake Bennett after a bus ride to Cairncross.

 

#1 Caribou Crossing food was very good and the museum shows just how tall a grizzly can stand.  #2 Gold panning was truly a chilling adventure with the cold water and "spiked" gold pans.  My little piece of gold lasted until I sneezed and it flew away.  #3 Liarsville with the gold rush stories was really interesting.

 

The train leaves Skagway and stops in Fraser for the return trip on the same track.  Since the track runs through a valley it is important to sit on the left going to Fraser and on the right back to Skagway or you will be looking at a rock wall.  As a photographer, I spend a lot of my time on the platform between the cars taking photos of the passing scenery.

 

If wildlife is spotted by any of the bus passengers, the driver may stop for photos.

 

Here are links to my train photos:

 

http://www.rogerjett-photography.com/place/alaska-2/skagway-2/white-pass-yukon-railroad

 

http://www.rogerjett-photography.com/place/canada/yukon-territory/caribou-crossing

 

Thank you for sharing.

This might be my favorite.

http://www.rogerjett-photography.com/here/wp-content/gallery/white-pass-yukon-railroad/P5190220.jpg

 

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My choice would be Lake Bennett.  Truly amazing scenery and lots of Gold Rush history.  We’ve stopped there three times as part of a Yukon land tour over the years.  The only way to get to Lake Bennett is by train or by foot.  It is at the Canadian terminus of the Chikoot Trail where the prospectors built their boats and rafts to continue their journey to the Klondike gold fields.

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On 11/13/2020 at 3:43 PM, VermeulT said:

I am a train enthusiast and totally want to take a train trip in Skagway.

I'm overwhelmed with the choices and would like some input from those that have taken the different options on pros/cons...

If it matters - this would be late May 2021 (hopefully) Thank you.

 

.....

 

While I am a train enthusiast... I want to get the most of of my time in port.  Do you get more from taking a bus one way?  Is it better to take the bus up vs back? Is the gold camp totally cheesy tourist trap stuff?

 
I think I'm leaning towards 1 or 3....
Any input/feedback would be most appreciated!
Thank you.

 

 

I am not a train enthusiast, but am highly interested in history.  We have done the 3 hour White Pass trip several times (purchasing tickets directly from the WP & YRR).  But I am almost positive that the other two excursions you are considering have been discussed in the trip reports (organized by year) found at the top of this forum page.  

 

Skagway is part of the Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park.  While I don't know how long you will be in port, If you are interested in history the National Park Service operates a number of museums/historical displays in the historic structures.

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On 11/13/2020 at 7:43 PM, VermeulT said:

1. White Pass Rail & Yukon Expedition - 8.5 hours -

 

Another vote for #1; I have done that exact tour on a HAL Shore Excursion and really enjoyed it.  The guides were excellent and provided informative, interesting commentary.  The lunch at Carcross was very good; I hadn't expected much, but, it really was well prepared and exceeded my expectations.  The Museum had some displays that interested me.  The experience at Carcross was not as "touristy" as I expected.  

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We have done #1 twice! Once on our first trip to Alaska in 2008 (we have been back 6 times and are going again). We were scheduled to do it a third time with friends but they didn't get tickets (thought they had clicked the right button) so we gave them ours.

Definitely sit on the right side of the train if you are taking it down to Skagway. Best views.

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2 hours ago, adstz said:

We have done #1 twice! Once on our first trip to Alaska in 2008 (we have been back 6 times and are going again). We were scheduled to do it a third time with friends but they didn't get tickets (thought they had clicked the right button) so we gave them ours.

Definitely sit on the right side of the train if you are taking it down to Skagway. Best views.

 

Or stand between cars with your camera 🙂

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

I only do Lake Bennett.  It's one of the best tours in Alaska! I hate the food at Caribou Crossing and it has turned into an overcrowded tourist trap over the years. Liar's Camp and Dredge Town are fun in a touristy sort of way.  I say this having ridden the train maybe 30-40 times and having done all of these tours.

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  • 4 months later...
On 11/13/2020 at 4:43 PM, VermeulT said:

I am a train enthusiast and totally want to take a train trip in Skagway.

I'm overwhelmed with the choices and would like some input from those that have taken the different options on pros/cons...

If it matters - this would be late May 2021 (hopefully) Thank you.

 

1. White Pass Rail & Yukon Expedition - 8.5 hours -  motor coach to the top of the White Pass. A stop at Caribou Crossing Trading Post is an opportunity to satisfy your wilderness appetite with a delicious chicken barbecue lunch complete with Grandma's all-you-can-eat homemade donuts. Tour Yukon's most extensive Wildlife Museum. At the Dog Musher's Village, visit with Iditarod dog mushers and take pictures with sled dogs and husky puppies; or, for an extra fee, join them for a dog-cart ride with actual Iditarod and Yukon Quest dogs. Back at Fraser, British Columbia, you'll board the White Pass & Yukon Route Railroad for a truly unforgettable ride down this historic and breathtaking narrow-gauge track.

 

2.  White Pass Rail, Summit, Gold Panning & Barbecue Lunch - 5.75 hours - Follow the route from Skagway to the Klondike gold fields aboard the White Pass & Yukon Route Railroad beyond the summit of White Pass to Fraser, British Columbia.  At Fraser, board a motorcoach and journey down the west side of the White Pass Canyon. Your driver-guide shares tales of stampeders who traveled the pass in search of their fortune. Time Permitting, a stop at Tormented Valley and Pitchfork Falls provides picturesque valley views.  Your destination is Dredge Town, where you will enjoy an authentic barbecue lunch including ribs, chicken and various side-dishes. Experience a glimpse of the life of a prospector when you join a colorful cast of characters to learn the art of gold panning. Tour the 'living museum' to learn the fascinating history of the gold-rush days before the picturesque drive back to the port.

 

3. White Pass Summit Scenic Railroad - 2.75 hours -Take an unforgettable round trip journey aboard the White Pass & Yukon Route Railroad. Ride in a comfortable, restored or replica vintage rail car to the summit of the White Pass, through two tunnels, over sky-high trestles, and remote valleys. Pass Bridal Veil Falls, Inspiration Point and Dead Horse Gulch as your guide announces all points of interest and tells the story of the Klondike Gold Rush.

At the White Pass Summit at 2,865 feet, the train makes a loop and heads back down the pass, allowing everyone to experience the excellent views during this round trip rail journey.

 

3. White Pass Rail, Klondike Highway & Liarsville Gold Camp - 5 hours - Experience an unforgettable journey along the eastern side of White Pass aboard the world-famous narrow-gauge White Pass & Yukon Route Railroad, built more than 100 years ago. You'll pass through some of the North's most rugged terrain on board a comfortable, narrow-gauge rail car as you retrace the original route through breathtaking scenery beyond the summit of White Pass at 2,865 feet.

Upon reaching Fraser, British Columbia, board a motor coach for the journey down the west side of White Pass Canyon. Stop at historic Liarsville, a gold rush trail camp nestled beside a waterfall at the foot of White Pass. Browse the authentic camp exhibits, including antiques and garments left behind by the prospectors and those who profited from them. A cast of 'sourdoughs' and dance hall girls will entertain you with a hilarious melodrama and a poem by Robert Service, the Bard of the North. You'll also have a chance to try your hand at the art of gold panning in the Liarsville gold fields

 

Add to Wish List White Pass Rail, Summit, Gold Panning & Barbecue LunWhile I am a train enthusiast... I want to get the most of of my time in port.  Do you get more from taking a bus one way?  Is it better to take the bus up vs back? Is the gold camp totally cheesy tourist trap stuff?
 
I think I'm leaning towards 1 or 3....
Any input/feedback would be most appreciated!
Thank you.

 

We did #5 and thoroughly enjoyed it. The train ride was beautiful and the salmon BBQ and show in Liarsville was a great end to our day. I did not care for the tour of the Red Onion Saloon which was the last stop on our excursion after Liarsville. 

 

 

 

 

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23 hours ago, Coral said:

I would not do Liarsville or Gold panning. I found them both hokey.

We did Larsville on our 1st Alaskan cruise. I agree on it being hokey. However, it was allegedly the last stop for supplies as the early prospectors headed up into the Yukon, so what can you expect? As for the gold panning, it is very hokey indeed. The pans are seeded (That means they've already put a few flakes of gold in the "ore") and the majority of the soil in the pan consists of a few course pieces of sand. You don't really need to work hard to get the flakes out into your sample bag.

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9 hours ago, Schlepporello said:

We did Larsville on our 1st Alaskan cruise. I agree on it being hokey. However, it was allegedly the last stop for supplies as the early prospectors headed up into the Yukon, so what can you expect? As for the gold panning, it is very hokey indeed. The pans are seeded (That means they've already put a few flakes of gold in the "ore") and the majority of the soil in the pan consists of a few course pieces of sand. You don't really need to work hard to get the flakes out into your sample bag.

There are better places to spend the day in the Yukon than these 2 places.

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The simple round trip to the summit and back is made real easy - the WPYRR boards on the same

pier the cruise ship docks. You stay on the train round trip.

 

The other tours are at the Ticket Office a short walk from the piers.

The train trips to the Canada interior Carcross Lake Bennett etc. are train one-way

and bus return or v-v.

 

 

 

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