17 Awesome Things to Do in Skagway, Alaska

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Conveniently located along the Inside Passage, Skagway has become one of the most popular stops for Alaskan cruise ships. But it’s not just this city’s accessible port that draws in the crowds.

As one of Alaska’s oldest cities, Skagway has some of the state’s most impressive historical buildings and artifacts. As you pass by the city’s old parlors, saloons, and railroad stations, you can’t help but feel like you’ve traveled back to those Gold Rush days.

Almost all of the attractions on our list of the 17 BEST THINGS TO DO IN SKAGWAY are related to the city’s past or natural splendor.

To make it easy for you to find what you’re interested in, we’ve organized Skagway’s top sites into three categories: SIGHTS & LANDMARKS, MUSEUMS, and NATURE & WILDLIFE.

As you’ll soon see, Skagway has a great deal to offer both history buffs and outdoor enthusiasts. Whether just visiting for a day or a bit longer, you’ll learn how to make the most of your Skagway stay in this post.

On a personal note, while we visited nearby Haines, we preferred to avoid the ferry to Skagway that day and drove out of Haines and into Whitehorse in the Yukon instead.

So, this is on our to-do list for when we finally make it to Skagway. And yes, we plan on returning to the Last Frontier State.

Why You Should Visit Skagway, Alaska

People visit Skagway mainly to admire the city’s historic charm. Locals take great pride in preserving and sharing their Gold Rush heritage with guests.

Anyone interested in Alaskan history will find plenty to occupy them in Skagway’s many old homes, museums, and cemeteries.

Like every other major Alaskan city, Skagway is also a haven for nature lovers. Chances are you won’t be able to stop staring at all the towering mountains surrounding you.

Whether you’re into climbing steep trails, photographing glaciers, or hearing the thundering crash of waterfalls, there are many beautiful ways to commune with nature in Skagway.

Another attractive feature about visiting Skagway is the city’s proximity to other exciting tourist destinations.

For instance, you’re only a short drive from fascinating cities like Haines and Whitehorse. Of course, you could also hop on a ferry to see all the Alaskan capital Juneau has to offer.

For more information on when’s the best time to visit Alaska, don’t forget to check out our previous post on the subject.

17 Awesome Things To Do In Skagway, Alaska

As we already mentioned, you could split Skagway’s major sites into two main camps: historical and natural. Here are 17 iconic attractions everyone visiting Skagway should put on their itinerary.

Skagway Sights and Landmarks

1. Liarsville Gold Rush Trail Camp

Located at the base of White Pass, the Liarsville Gold Rush Trail Camp is the ultimate destination for foodies.

People who book a tour of this former campsite will be treated to an all-you-can-eat Alaskan feast featuring chicken, chowder, and wild-caught salmon.

Don’t forget to save some room for a mouthwatering slice of sweet blueberry cake!

While you’re getting your grub on, enjoy some Gold Rush-era comedies starring a troupe of enthusiastic performers. Plenty of authentic artifacts are sprinkled around the property to intrigue all you history buffs.

Laundry tent in Liarsville, a former boomtown created in the 19th century for journalists who came to cover the Klondike Gold Rush in southeast Alaska

Liarsville hosts its “Salmon Bake” between May 1 – September 30 every year. Check out Alaska’s official tourism webpage to learn more about this fun event.

2. Port of Skagway

Huge ship docked at Skagway, Alaska

Unless you’re traveling in on Klondike Highway, you’ll probably pass through the Port of Skagway at some point. At this port, you’ll find all the major tourism boats and helicopters ready to transport you around the area.

Unlike ports in many other cities, Skagway's port boasts marvelous mountain views that are well worth your time. Take a few moments to snap some pics before passing through this heavily trafficked port.

3. White Pass and Yukon Route Railroad

Train passing the White Pass

Soon after gold was discovered in the Klondike region, engineers started work on one of the most impressive railroads in North America: the White Pass & Yukon Route.

This railway has survived over 100 years and operates a fantastic scenic line.

You’ll travel up some 3,000 feet on your journey, enjoying stunning views of the surrounding wilderness. Plus, you might meet St. Nick on your snowy voyage if you're visiting during winter.

Be sure to visit the White Pass & Yukon Route’s website to book your excursion well in advance.

4. State Street

Cutting through the heart of Skagway, State Street is the city’s main drag and eventually turns into the Klondike Highway.

Most pictures of opulent Victorian-style buildings on Skagway tourism booklets were taken along this street or nearby Broadway.

Many tourists enjoy strolling along State Street to enjoy the lovely period architecture and visit the charming shops and restaurants. Even if you’re window-shopping, you will surely get beautiful photos of the Old Town Skagway on State and Broadway.

5. Gold Rush Cemetery

Gold Rush Cemetery, Skagway, Alaska, USA | Photo by Diego Delso

Skagway’s oldest (and most crowded) cemetery is near the lovely Lower Reid Falls. Named after the Klondike Gold Rush, this cemetery reveals many secrets about Skagway’s sensational past.

Whether or not you go on a guided tour, you’ll learn much about the laborers, outlaws, and priests who once called this city home.

Using the resources on the National Park Service’s (NPS) webpage is a good idea to get the most out of your visit. Please remember that this cemetery is a popular destination, so plan to arrive early if you want privacy.

6. Captain William Moore Cabin

A fantastic way to learn about the early days of the Klondike Gold Rush is to go on a tour of the Moore Cabin. Built between 1887 and 1888, this log cabin is considered the first building ever constructed in Skagway.

Skagway, Alaska -June 1, 2023: Moore Homestead part of Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park. Capt William Moore settled in Skagway to capitalize on future gold rush. Log cabin oldest building.

On your tour, you’ll learn how Captain William Moore and his son Ben made their fortunes in the budding town of Skagway. Guests will also hear the brave and tragic story of Klinget-sai-yet Shotridge, who left her Tlingit tribe out of love for Ben.

7. Arctic Brotherhood Camp No. 1

Arctic Brotherhood building
Shot of the Arctic Brotherhood Hall (Camp Skagway) from Skagway, Alaska | Photo by Stacy Farley

At 245 Broadway, you’ll find the former headquarters of the Arctic Brotherhood, once Alaska’s most powerful fraternal organization.

Created at the turn of the century, this secret society played a significant role in building ties within the gold mining community until the 1920s.

Although the Arctic Brotherhood is no more, this striking building still bears signs of those pioneer days with its rugged driftwood exterior and gold pan symbol. Today, this building serves as Skagway’s Convention and Visitors Bureau, so be sure to walk inside if you have any questions.

8. Caribou Crossing Trading Post

If you’ve got your passport handy, then don't pass on a visit to the Canadian Yukon’s Caribou Crossing Trading Post. Famous for its BBQ lunch specials, this exciting attraction hosts regular gold panning excursions, dog cart rides, and even a cute petting farm.

There are also two major museums—the Wildlife Museum and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Museum—and a huge souvenir shop on Caribou Crossing’s premises. Anyone traveling with kids can rest assured there are plenty of things to do here.

For more detailed information about ticket packages, visit Caribou Crossing’s website.

Skagway Museums

9. Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park

Railroad building in Skagway
Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park in Skagway | Photo by Reywas92

Created in the mid-1970s, the Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park encompasses a few areas that played a key role in those gold mining days. In addition to Skagway, the NPS protects places of historical value in Seattle and Dyea.

For those in Skagway, most of the Klondike Gold Rush National Park is on State Street and Broadway. According to the NPS, more than 20 Gold Rush-era buildings are on the park’s property and open to visitors.

It’s a great idea to visit the park’s official Visitor Center at 2nd and Broadway to learn more about the area and schedule a few ranger-led tours. This center is usually open between 8:30 AM – 5:30 PM every day of the week during the summer season.

10. Skagway Museum and Archives

The Skagway Museum and Archives isn’t just a great place to learn about the city’s past; it’s also a fabulous photo op. Made out of Canadian granite, this imposing City Hall was completed in 1898, making it the oldest stone structure in The Last Frontier.

Skaway Museum and Archives in Skagway, Alaska

After taking a few selfies outside, explore the diverse array of artifacts housed inside the museum. Not only does the Skagway Museum highlight Gold Rush goodies, but it also has many precious artworks by the indigenous Tlingit tribe.

11. Red Onion Saloon Brothel Museum

For those interested in the seedier side of Skagway, head over to 2nd and Broadway for a tour of the Red Onion Saloon. Competed in 1897, this building once served as the city’s premier destination for “wine, women, and song.”

Today, the upper floor of the Red Onion has been converted into a museum housing important artifacts…and a few ghosts. Be sure to join one of the bordello’s lovely ladies to better appreciate the history of this saloon.

12. Corrington's Museum of Alaska History

Corrington’s Museum of Alaska History isn’t the biggest museum in town, but it’s got a lot going for it. First off, this museum is conveniently located on Broadway.

Second, it features some pretty incredible ivory sculptures. Third, and perhaps most important, who could refuse a complimentary admission fee?

Although reviewing this private collection won’t take more than an hour, it’s still well worth your time. Before leaving, look through the goods offered in Corrington’s for a unique souvenir.

Skagway Parks, Nature, and Wildlife

13. Kluane National Park and Reserve

Mountain range in Kluane National Park
Kluane National Park and Reserve of Canada, Canada | Photo by kalenemsley

Canada’s Kluane National Park and Reserve have many claims to fame, but Mount Logan is undeniably the star attraction. At over 19,500 feet tall, this mighty mountain is the tallest in the Great White North.

While mountaineering in Kluane’s vast icefields is a popular draw, this park also attracts people interested in fishing, boating, mountain biking, and camping. Indeed, there’s even an area called oTENTik that is explicitly designed for camping newbies.

The official season lasts between April and June for those interested in mountaineering. Also, you must register your climbing party with park officials before beginning your expedition. For more information, check out Kluane National Park’s official website.

14. Atlin Provincial Park

British Columbia’s Atlin Provincial Park is probably best known for its glaciers. How could it not be when one-third of the parkland is covered with them?

Of the four hiking trails open in Atlin, the most famous starts at the Llewellyn Inlet and leads to a fabulous viewing spot for the park’s largest glacier (also named Llewellyn).

Other popular activities in Atlin include hunting, kayaking on Atlin Lake, and fishing for trout. If you’re visiting in winter, remember that snowmobiling is only legal across Atlin Lake.

Atlin Mountain, Atlin Provincial ParkAtlin Mountain, Atlin Provincial Park

For more info on the park’s rules and restrictions, consider visiting Atlin Provincial Park’s webpage.

15. Davidson Glacier

Huge Davidson Glacier view at a distance
Davidson glacier | Photo by Patrick Connelly

Tourists who are dead set on seeing a glacier while in Skagway should consider visiting nearby Davidson Glacier. Although officially located in Haines County, booking a tour out of the Port of Skagway to this impressive glacier is easy.

One of the best-reviewed guided tours of the Davidson Glacier is known as Glacier Point Wilderness Safari.

Veteran guides on this tour will lead you on a boat ride, rainforest hike, and kayaking journey to the glacier area. Just be sure to reserve your spot early, as this tour group fills up pretty fast.

16. Upper and Lower Dewey Lake

Regarding hiking trails in Skagway, it's impossible not to mention the two Dewey Lake paths. No matter which of these trails you choose, you’ll be rewarded for your efforts with enchanting views of the surrounding mountains and pristine lake.

The Lower Dewey Trail is shorter, less strenuous, and more popular of the two paths. It typically takes hikers with intermediate experience about 2 hours to complete this trail’s 3.5-mile loop.

The Upper Dewey Trail, however, is only recommended for experienced hikers. This arduous 6-mile round-trip hike will take you up a staggering 3,100 feet.

17. Yukon Suspension Bridge

Experience the thrill of the Yukon Suspension Bridge, dangling 65 feet above the Tutshi River rapids.

This awe-inspiring journey offers breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains and glaciers and immerses you in the area's rich history through an outdoor museum featuring actual Mammoth artifacts. Refresh at the Assayers Café, nestled in nature, and possibly spot wildlife like bears and moose.

Canada travel hiker walking across Yukon River Suspension bridge. Explore the Canadian North.Cruise tour from Skagway, Alaska.

Don't leave without picking up unique souvenirs, making your visit to the bridge a memorable part of your Skagway adventure.

Best Excursions From Skagway, Alaska

Skagway is a great tourist destination in its own right, but it’s also a good home base for exploring the many wonders of southeastern Alaska. You’ll find many excursion tours offered once you arrive in Skagway.

Here are two nature-themed excursion ideas that are great for the whole family.

Kroschel Films Wildlife Center

Animal lovers with extra time to spare should stop by this wildly popular Haines zoo. Sorry, “zoo” isn’t the word for the Kroschel Films Wildlife Center. It’s better to call this center an “experience.”

On your guided tour of Kroschel Films, you’ll see (and potentially pet) many of Alaska’s most famous critters, including foxes, wolverines, and grizzlies. Although it’s a 2-hour drive from Skagway, most online reviewers say you won’t regret the car ride.

Note: you must schedule a reservation to visit the Kroschel Wildlife Center. For more details, check out the official Kroshel Wildlife Center website.

Whale Watching Tours

Thanks to Skagway’s location on the Taiya Inlet, it’s quite easy to catch a glimpse of migrating whales in the region. You won’t have any difficulty finding tour boat operators willing to take you to all the locations where these majestic creatures have been spotted.

Alaska whale watching boat excursion. Inside passage mountain range landscape luxury travel cruise concept.

Humpbacks are the most popularly spotted whale in the area, but killer whales (aka orcas) aren’t unheard of. Also, please keep your eyes peeled for black bears, bald eagles, and sea otters, as they are common around the inlet.

Need more tips on Alaska’s whale-watching season? If so, check out our previous post detailing the best times to see whales in Alaska.

That's it!

If you're not taking a cruise and plan on hitting the road to visit Skagway, read my detailed guide about driving to Alaska, too! And however you get there, this post about the cost of travel to Alaska would also probably come in handy. Safe travels!

17 Awesome Things To Do In Skagway, Alaska

17 Awesome Things To Do In Skagway, Alaska

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