During the 1898 Klondike Gold Rush, thousands rolled into the port town of Skagway on their way up to Canada. While the tiny port town’s population today is only about 995 people, Skagway’s colorful history attracts up to a million visitors annually.
Begin your 4-hour shore excursion with a coach tour of Skagway’s historical district. Travel in and around the downtown area, part of the Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park, and note the well-preserved wooden buildings from the late 1800s, such as the Moore House and Cabin and the Mascot Saloon.
Next, speed along Klondike Highway up to White Pass Summit, a route that parallels the narrow-gauge tracks of the White Pass Railroad.
Ascend an elevation of 3,292 feet (1,003 meters) and marvel at views of Tormented Valley, a subarctic alpine tundra with glaciers, waterfalls, snowcapped peaks, and Summit Lake. At the US and Canadian border, take a commemorative photo of the ‘Welcome to Alaska’ sign.
Return to Skagway for lunch at a historic Victorian inn, which started as a brothel during the Gold Rush before becoming a family residence and then a boarding house. During your meal (see a sample menu below), enjoy live music and art, and learn about the Tlingit, the indigenous people of the region around Skagway.
After your meal, walk through the nearby gardens before enjoying transport back to port.