Alaskan Cruise: Skagway

Port view at Skagway

We got a call right before we were ready to disembark at Skagway that our excursion was cancelled. We were supposed to drive into the Yukon with numerous stops to see the beauty of the area as well as some wildlife. It was a six hour excursion. We had a lot of time on our hands and we were up early, so we decided to head into town to check it out.

Old trains

The biggest draw in Skagway is the railroad. The railroad was constructed a few years after gold rush was at its peak and was completed in 1900. Before the railroad the trails to reach gold were very treacherous. Now you can take a scenic ride through White Pass on the railroad. The stop to get on the railroad is minutes after stepping off the ship. We walked into town, which took maybe 10 minutes. It is a beautiful town surrounded by mountains with some cute shops and museums. We stopped at the railroad station to see how much a train ticket cost. It was $134 each person. Although Jef is a big train fan, he was not interested in this train because it was just a regular diesel engine. The ride is only about two hours round trip and that price seemed very expensive to me, so we decided to explore the town.

Main Street in Skagway

The town was pretty quiet. There were a lot of open shops, but as you neared the end of the street quite a few were closed. We wanted to check out the brewery, but it was also closed. We stopped at a tour station and they told us that all the Yukon trips were cancelled because there were not enough people, but we could rent a car if we wanted. Skagway had some issues with rock slides earlier in the season and many cruise ships did not stop at this port. The town lost a lot of tourist dollars and since September is also late in the season I’m sure that it was why many places closed up.

Arctic Brotherhood Hall (made of driftwood)

After some window shopping, we stopped at Corrington’s Alaskan Ivory Museum and Gift Shop. I thought it was just a small addition to the gift shop, but if you walk to the back there is a neat museum with a lot of ivory art. It also had Alaskan history including native folk tales and a story about a native Alaskan movie star. There was also an exhibition at the Visitor Center which took you through the history of the gold rush and what it was like for people who ended up in Skagway during that time. It was simple, but easy to read and had a lot of information. We walked by the Jeff Smiths Parlor Museum, but it was closed. We peeked in the window.

The Red Onion is a popular stop in Skagway. We thought about eating there, but it was basic bar food. They also offer brothel tours for $10. In town, there was a BBQ place that got really good reviews, but it was also closed. As you can tell, we did not have a lot of luck with Skagway. There were a number of hiking trails that we could have tried and we did miss a couple of museums we could have explored. Instead, we went back to the ship, had lunch, went in the hot tub, and I finally won something at one of the games I played.

Encore in Skagway port

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