Despite Skagway being the smallest and most desolate of all the ports we stopped at (in my opinion) it was hands down my favorite. Nestled at the base of endless mountains, this tiny town had the most history. Don’t expect to stop here and spend your day wandering the town, you’ll see most all of the central hub in about an hour.
Getting to land was a bit of an adventure, there were already two ships in port and our ship must have drawn the shortest stick because there wasn’t a spot left for us to port. Instead we got to ride in dinghy boats to the small boat harbor.
One of the many things I loved about the cruise ship, is that they offered multiple seminars of information regarding each port.
Skagway’s history stems back to the Gold Rush era, where in the late 1800’s a set of railroad tracks were built as a means of reaching the gold fields. The tracks are still standing, and are known as The While Pass and Yukon Route. These days, curious minds can ride a train and follow along the route listening to guided tours, which I admit looks and sounds EPIC, but we chose a different option.
We decided to be our own tour guides, and we rented a car.
We chose this option for a few reasons: it was cheaper than riding in a bus with a bunch of other people, it was cheaper than a train, it allowed complete flexibility to stop when and where we wanted, and it provided a better view from all angles. We stopped by the local ranger station for a map, learned about some hot stop spots, and were our own tour guides.
Err, my dad played tour guide and I got to drive. I only scared him a handful of times.
The last time I went for a drive that literally captivated every ounce of my soul was in Ireland. I never thought I’d find another route that came within even a decameter (and all these years I never thought I’d use any of the chemistry I learned) of The Ring of Kerry.
I struggle to put into words just how enamored I was by the drive, but I’ll try.
Starting in Alaska, the route slowly climbs upward. We started in overcast with comfortable temps, and almost without warning reached intense fog and temps near freezing. This route takes you into Canada, if you want to go that far, which we did, so be sure to bring your passport. Eventually you’ll come across a plot of land that I can’t describe other than looking like an alien moonscape.
Small pockets of lakes surrounded by sunken land and large boulders. I’d never seen anything like it. Visibility was a struggle at times, but thankfully my copilot wore a bright blue jacket.
Just as I was worrying whether my hands would ever thaw from the cold, we drove into some sun. In fact, it went from overcast, to snow, to rain, to sun, and then to S U N. The changes of weather were bizarre, and unlike anything I’d ever experienced in such a short period of time.
At this point, we’d crossed into Canada.
This is when the landscape really started to show off.
We decided our turn around would be Emerald Lake, about 74 miles from where we started. We stopped at a small Canadian coffee shop for some local brew, oogled the lake, and turned around to head back. Depending what angle you stand to view the lake, the colors (or colours, it was in Canada after all) are a beautiful green/blue.
If you want to see what real fall colors look like, go to Alaska in September and drive the White Pass/Yukon Route. You can thanks me later. Because we rented a car, we were able to also drive around and see Dyea, which was just a hop skip and jump away from Skagway. This area was once a booming town during the Gold Rush, but now it’s mostly deserted.
History is cool.
For dinner we nourished at Skagway Brewing Company, where my dad claims the best beer of the entire trip was served. I claimed it was the best salmon I was served (I’m very particular because #foodsensetivities) and I had zero complaints.
Disclaimer: I don’t eat much fish normally, but in Alaska I got enough Omega 3’s from salmon to last me the year.
What.A.Day. I spend a lot of my free time day dreaming about past vacations, and this day is at the forefront of my brain space. ❤
Q: Would you rather rent a car and do it yourself, or ride on a bus and let someone narrate for you?
43 thoughts on “Skagway, Alaska”
If you drive you have a better chance of meeting local people. So I vote car.
Exactly, and we did! 👍🏻
AWESOME! Can’t wait to visit myself.
So much beauty!
Rachael @ Catch Me If You Can
those pictures are STUNNING!!! Im so torn because i love tour guides they have so much knowledge but i also like the freedom of stopping whenever you want. on a cruise though im more likely to do something guided because im so paranoid about missing the boat. our alaskan cruise someone missed the board time and was left in that port city!!!!
Ahhhhahaha that was my only fear. 🙈
Definitely, rent a car and do it myself!
I like your style 👍🏻😎.
You should become a travel blogger and photographer.
Also hooray for omegas.
that waterfall looks amazing! who am I kidding – all the pics look amazing!
I want to go baaaack!
I’ll go w u! LOL 👍😂
What an incredible drive!
It was UNREAL!
RENT A CAR!!! Hands down, no questions asked. My family almost always does that on our vacations anyway! 😉 LOVE all of the history — and even your little chemistry bit! Such beautiful scenery too! You may have even convinced me, Renaud’s and all, that I need to go back to Alaska… 🙂
Smart family! And if I’ve learned anything the last couple years, it’s that I can’t let these body abnormalities stop me from exploring! Raynaud’s and all! Hahaha.
GOOD FOR YOU!!! I need to adopt that attitude… I’ve turned into a homebody. 🙈 And I’m a total hermit during the winter — I hate the cold!! 😂⛄️❄️
Welllll, you just bought a house soooo. HOMEBODY IT UP!
HAHAHA you’re the BEST for justifying my homebody-ness!!! 😂
Definitely a car but I’d want someone else to drive haha! These photos are STUNNING!!
My dads license was expired so I had to drive. 😂😂
I think this would be my favorite part too. I love small towns with few people. However, I think I would do it on a bus because being alone, I would get lost. I also love hearing all the interesting facts about different places, so I think I would appreciate the tour guide 🙂
Totally! Going alone there’s definitely a perk of sticking with a tour!
Looks absolutely stunning! I’d love to road trip out there some day. Definitely car so I can pull over for photo stops on a whim!
We pulled over SO many times!
Beautiful scenery there, nothing like it to soothe and revive!
So true my friend.
When we were in Iceland we used a car to get around. It gave us a lot of freedom to do whatever we wanted, but it may have been nice to have been part of a tour for some of the trip, since we were on our own trying to figure out where to go. I think that’s why we mostly ended up staying near the city haha!
I think after my trip to Ireland and driving around the entire country, I’m more apt to explore even without complete knowledge of where I’m going. HA.
Tiny towns are the best, there just aren’t enough tiny towns in the states, lol. OMG, you are on a cruise! I just came back from a cruise 2 weeks ago and loved loved loved it. We had to jump on one of those dinghy boats to get to the Cayman Islands and I got a little seasick. You are one brave person to drive, looks like a serious adventure. Alaska is truly breathtaking.
This was from back in September. I’m JUST getting around to blogging it. Ha! Our dinghy was super choppy, but thankfully I didn’t feel sick. More claustrophobic from all the people in it!
Beautiful scenery, pictures and memories. Thank you!
Megan and Lillian
BRITTTTTANYYYYY. Look what we started – so hopefully I can comment more often on the blog. UM so I an thinking Sloane turns a year in September and this TRIP looks ideal to celebrate. Might have to leave her home though xoxo Gorg scenery. Tempting to move there but i would most likely die with the winters.
Bahahaha celebrate your babies birthday without her, more like celebrate you surviving her birth?? I’M SO EXCITED FOR THIS BLOG!
Wow oh Wow those pictures!!! I’m with you for the most part – I like the flexibility of having my own car. The only drawback is you miss the narration of the tour guide and if you are driving you can’t relax as much –Kat
I made my dad narrate from the pamphlet we picked up ha! It was a self guided tour with information. 🙌🏻
Love it! Love the colours! I’d go both ways: My own self would be nice but I like the train option. I’m in no hurry.
I liked the train option, but not the price tag. Haha.
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