Everyone we spoke to prior to our Alaska cruise said we must take the train in Skagway and they were so right. It was a terrific excursion and we loved every minute of it.
Skagway was incorporated in 1900 when the population was 3,117. Thanks to the Gold Rush, it was the second largest settlement in Alaska. When the Gold Rush ended, Skagway would have become a ghost town if it wasn’t for the White Pass & Yukon Railroad, which was constructed in 1898. The first railroad in Alaska, it served the Anvil Gold Mines in the Yukon. The mines closed in 1982.
The views at every juncture are phenomenal. The train climbs from sea level to 3,000 feet in just 20 miles. It’s astounding to think how this railway was built! The northernmost railway in the Western hemisphere, there are 110 miles of track.
Above is a photo of the old rail bridge. Scary, isn’t it?
We were really fortunate to see a big brown bear trundling off into the forest as we rode past. Sorry I didn’t get a photo in time. He was so beautiful!
Bottom line: If you ever go an Alaska cruise, do not miss this train ride out of Skagway.
– Paula Rath