Skagway and the White Pass & Yukon Route

-2009

We first visited Skagway Alaska while on a Royal Caribbean Inside Passage cruise in 1998.  The entire town is a National Park Historic Site, the Klondike Gold Rush.  The day we arrived was exactly the 100th anniversary of the death of Soapy Smith the legendary outlaw sheriff of the town.  The White Pass & Yukon Route railroad is a historic narrow gauge train running excursions with vintage steam and diesel locomotives.  History and trains, we were enthralled and knew we would return.

The road to Skagway

The road to Skagway

Skagway cruiseport

Skagway cruiseport

We arrived in our motorhome July 1st, 2015.  The drive from the Yukon towns of  Tagish and Carcross was beautiful.  We traveled through the coastal mountain pass in dense fog and dropping temps, then rain.  Skagway is still the National Historic Park which preserves and presents much of the history.  On the other hand the cruise industry has taken over much of the shopping with the usual zillion jewelry stores.  The good news is that their success feeds the National Park Service efforts to restore and preserve the history.  A percentage of store sales goes directly to the local NPS efforts.

Arctic Brotherhood built 1889

Arctic Brotherhood built 1889

Founder Moore's homestead

Founder Moore’s homestead

The White Pass & Yukon Route does a great job running many trains daily and a steam train several times per week.  We rode the train to Lake Bennet and chased the steam train up toward White Pass.  The railroad was built in 1899-1900 to serve the mines of the Klondike near Dawson City Yukon.  The Klondike Gold Rush was worldwide sensation drawing stampeders to the shortest route to the goldfields.  Skagway sits at the end of a long fjord, the Lynn Canal, in Southeast Alaska still accessible only by ship or the one highway from the Yukon.

-1739

GE Diesels built 1954

Alco Diesels built in 1969, retrieved from Columbia

Alco Diesels built in 1969, retrieved from Columbia

1947 Baldwin built Mikado 2-8-2

1947 Baldwin built Mikado 2-8-2

WP&YR Passenger Car

WP&YR Passenger Car

Ferroeqinologist chasing trains

Ferroeqinologist chasing trains

While staying in Skagway we took the fast ferry to visit the town of Haines Alaska.  Haines also has an interesting history and gorgeous location.  We also toured the historic site of Dyea, a town eclipsed by Skagway with the advent of the railroad.  There are many great hiking trails around Skagway and NPS ranger led hikes.  Skagway is a great tourist destination with a story to tell.

Lynn Canal

Lynn Canal

Haines Alaska

Haines Alaska

Native Tlingit building-Haines

Native Tlingit building-Haines

 

 

 

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5 Responses to Skagway and the White Pass & Yukon Route

  1. I remember Skagway from our trip there several years ago. (I think we have our photo in front of that same “Welcome” sign. Fun to see your photos – looks like your having a good time. What the heck is a ferroeqinologist? (Are you one?)

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  2. tjbeached1 says:

    Love reading about your adventures! I actually looked up “Ferroeqinologist” and the dictionary didn’t know what it was either! I have to assume it would be a train aficionado (like yourself) who is also a photographer (like yourself) who likes to take photos of trains. Do I get a cookie?
    Keep enjoying your trip! I hope Dianne is getting along ok with her broken bone! Travel safe!

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    • Kings On the Road says:

      Ferro fr. the latin word for iron. equine fr. the latin horse. ologist studier(?) iron horse student = train nut. Yes you guessed right or had some latin training (I had 3 years of Latin in high school and I went to public shool). Thanks for playing along.

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  3. Linda Davids says:

    Your trip on narrow railway from Skagway to Bennet Lake and on to Carcross in Yukon by road brought back great memories of our trip also that exact excursion on Cruise Ship side trip we took, along with Salmon Fishing trip and Plane ride over Glaciers, Denali and on to Fairbanks. Same time of year. I am sure you took in as much as possible Dianne even with Cast. You are a real trooper. stay safe and Well. Linda Davids

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  4. Enjoyed the photos and narration, Randy. New territory for me, open and panoramic.

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