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Snow in Skagway end of May?


irene1127

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We want to rent a car in Skagway and drive to Carcross instead of taking the train, but are wondering if the roads are usually cleared of any snow. We'll be there the last week of May. We're both from FL and have never driven in snow. Might sound crazy to most, but it's a real concern to us.

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There will be no snow to worry about in late May on the Klondike Highway. There may still be some on the shoulders along the pass, but not on the road surface.

 

Dyea Dave or Murray should be able to confirm since they drive it more frequently than I do.

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Thanks for the advice - we are looking forward to the snow, but only on the side of the road as mentioned! Should we consider the drive to Emerald Lake etc, and then take the evening train for different views? We are in Skagway 14 hours - but would the driving and train ride be too similar?

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Yukon,

Would the 3 hr summit train trip be sufficient for the 'once in a lifetime', or should we just skip the drive and do the all day Yukon?

Thanks

 

Since you're driving to Carcross / Emerald Lake, the Summit return train trip would be perfect - that's the most impressive, and arguably the most historically significant section of the line.

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Since you're driving to Carcross / Emerald Lake, the Summit return train trip would be perfect - that's the most impressive, and arguably the most historically significant section of the line.

 

Hi Yukon.....appreciate the above response. My husband and I have been debating which tour to take out of Skagway. As a Canuk, I really want to get a glimpse of the Yukon and wish the tour did go as far as Whitehorse. To make a long story short, because of my husband's back, he would prefer to be on a bus for the trip to Carcross while I want to experience a wee bit of the train so the excursion we are looking at buses us to Carcross and back to Fraser, B.C. at which point we would board the train to travel through the White Pass Summit. I am reading into your message, that this would be just as enjoyable as taking the train all the way to Carcross. Is this correct? Would we miss anything significant by doing it this way? Thanks for your input.

 

Sandy:)

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I too have questions about this. I was thinking of renting a car and driving instead of doing the train, especially since our 2 kids will be with us so not only is it cheaper, it's also more convenient for stops along the way.

 

You mentioned driving up and taking the train back. Do you mean tehre is a way of dropping off the rental car up there and then just take the train back?

 

Thanks for the advice!

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I too have questions about this. I was thinking of renting a car and driving instead of doing the train, especially since our 2 kids will be with us so not only is it cheaper, it's also more convenient for stops along the way.

 

You mentioned driving up and taking the train back. Do you mean tehre is a way of dropping off the rental car up there and then just take the train back?

 

Thanks for the advice!

 

There are a couple of different ways. The most extensive would to do two trips: the roundtrip summit train and then the rental car to Emerald Lake and back by rental car.

 

Another option that might be more efficient would be to take a private tour one way and the train the other. There are a couple operators that specialize in this. My favorite is Dyea Dave. The other is Chilkoot Charters.

 

In my mind, doing at least a segment on the WPYRRR is essential. It's the whole reason the town still exists, and the primary reason your ship comes to Skagway IMO.

 

Good luck with your planning.

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You mentioned driving up and taking the train back. Do you mean there is a way of dropping off the rental car up there and then just take the train back?

 

No there isn't - the person I was answering is doing the drive to Carcross and then taking the train to the summit and back from Skagway after dropping the car off.

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... I want to experience a wee bit of the train so the excursion we are looking at buses us to Carcross and back to Fraser, B.C. at which point we would board the train to travel through the White Pass Summit. I am reading into your message, that this would be just as enjoyable as taking the train all the way to Carcross. Is this correct?

 

That's correct Sandy. To split hairs, I prefer to take the train up first and meet the bus in Fraser, but that's just a matter of it being historically correct that way and I'm sort of anal about that :) Taking the train all the way to Carcross is IMO for hard-core train nuts like me, or for those with a a strong interest in the Klondike Gold Rush, as you visit the ghost town of Bennett.

 

Murray

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I hate to be a pest, but here is another question - I've never cruised, so have no idea how long it takes to get off the boat at ports. I booked my car for 8:30 - if the boat docks at 7 am, will this time work?

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I hate to be a pest, but here is another question - I've never cruised, so have no idea how long it takes to get off the boat at ports. I booked my car for 8:30 - if the boat docks at 7 am, will this time work?

 

Most ships get to Skagway very early - between 4 and 6 am - but in any case you have lots of time. Depending on which dock you're at, Avis is a 5-10 minute walk and Sourdough is a bit further.

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Reading these comments about taking the train and then driving the highway has me re-thinking whether we should do both. We're there in early June, from 7 am - 5 pm. We booked the steam train trip at noon because we've truly enjoyed a few steam trains in other parts of the country. I'd have loved to have gone on to Emerald Lake, and driving is always appealing to us so I can stop and take pictures whenever I want, but because the train trip pretty much chops up the day, I figured that's as much as we'd get to see.

 

Reading this thread, and comments like Yukon's "the drive and the train are so different that it's rather hard to believe that you're in the same valley" and the comment on Anchorage1977's blog that "the first hour out of Skagway on the Klondike Highway is my favorite drive anywhere on the planet so far" have me re-thinking our strategy. I still think I'd stick with the steam train trip, but I'm wondering whether we'd get much out of renting a car for the morning. If we got off the ship and picked up a car by 8 am, would 3.5 hours of driving time be worthwhile, or is that just too little to be worth it?

 

-- Eric

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I still think I'd stick with the steam train trip, but I'm wondering whether we'd get much out of renting a car for the morning. If we got off the ship and picked up a car by 8 am, would 3.5 hours of driving time be worthwhile, or is that just too little to be worth it?

 

I think you'd just find it frustrating, Eric. I recommend 5 hours for the trip to Emerald Lake and back, and although you could do it in 3+ hours (it's 150 miles total), it would be more of a marathon than en enjoyable look at the country. You're going to love the steam trip! http://www.railsnorth.com/steamex.html was my last one.....

 

Murray

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I think you'd just find it frustrating, Eric. I recommend 5 hours for the trip to Emerald Lake and back, and although you could do it in 3+ hours (it's 150 miles total), it would be more of a marathon than en enjoyable look at the country. You're going to love the steam trip!

 

Thanks, Murray. I was assuming that if we rented a car, we wouldn't make it to Emerald Lake -- I'm sure I'd be stopping for photo opportunities too much to drive straight through! So I was thinking if we did this we'd just drive as far as we get for just under two hours, then turn around and come back. And you think that this wouldn't be too worthwhile in addition to the steam train trip? I was really fine with not renting the car until I read a couple of those comments which made me think it might be a missed opportunity even if we couldn't go as far as we'd like. Thanks again for all the great advice!

 

-- Eric

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Thanks, Murray. I was assuming that if we rented a car, we wouldn't make it to Emerald Lake -- I'm sure I'd be stopping for photo opportunities too much to drive straight through! So I was thinking if we did this we'd just drive as far as we get for just under two hours, then turn around and come back.

 

If you go with that attitude it could be a great trip (most folks seem to have "Emerald Lake" firmly in their minds) - that will get you to Tutshi Lake, perhaps the Yukon border (and the welcome sign), perhaps even the historic Venus Mine. Great photo ops for sure.

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Thanks a bunch for the info, Murray. It sounds to me like we have made the right tour choice. It is such a help when comments are put forth from residents in the Yukon and Alaska for touring consideration. This continent we live on is one very awesome place and we can hardly wait to experience this portion of it.

 

Sandy

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If you go with that attitude it could be a great trip (most folks seem to have "Emerald Lake" firmly in their minds)

 

I'd love to go further to Emerald Lake, but we've decided that the steam train trip is the higher priority for us, so I have to be realistic -- as hard as that can be when you want to see and do everything! ;)

 

I just looked on the Avis web site and found they don't open until 9 am on Sundays (we'll be in Skagway on June 7), and that clearly won't work to pull off this plan. If the earliest we could get a car is 9 am, and we have to be back by 11:30 for the train trip, well, I think I'd have to give up on the car idea. But if we could get a car by 8 am (our ship is listed as arriving at 7), then it might be doable. Does anyone know if Sourdough is open earlier? Their web site doesn't seem to indicate hours. They're the only other option in Skagway, right?

 

-- Eric

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