Coloring the Void

living nomadically

To Skagway or not to Skagway?

A Very Important Question.

We have been to Skagway twice, though only for about 8 hours each time.  We were on cruise ships, passing through the Inside Passage. And, both times, we really didn’t stay in Skagway; we rented a car to Emerald Lake once and took a tour the other time. So, we really saw the area around Skagway but not the town itself. And of course, what we saw of the town was thousands of tourists debarking from cruise ships, overwhelming the town and us. According to Cruise Lines Agency of Alaska, there will be four ships in port on Mondays through Thursdays, and one to three the other days of the week. That would mean a potential of up to 12,000 more people in the tiny town each day. Yikes!

If we go to Skagway, we can hop on the ferry to get to Haines. It takes about three hours, if you include embarking and waiting and crossing and debarking. It also costs about $260 for our rig, jeep, and us.

Alternatively, we could drive the long way around. It would take at least nine hours (352 miles) and cost about $235 in gas, when estimating worst possible gas mileage.

Or, we could pass Skagway by and go straight to Haines from Jake’s Crossing (294 miles) and maybe take a day trip to Skagway from Haines on a day with less cruise ships in port. But, the fast ferry goes to Skagway at 12:30 and comes back at 3PM. With a cost of $124, an hour and a half just doesn’t seem worth it.

We will probably wait until the last minute to decide. I would love to see Skagway again but the thought of thousands of people squished into that tiny area makes my claustrophobia kick in.

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2 thoughts on “To Skagway or not to Skagway?

  1. The idea of facing the cruise ship crowds in Skagway is indeed daunting. We will be taking the ferry up the Inside Passage from Prince Rupert with a final stop in Haines on June 16. Our plan is to take the fast ferry to Skagway, and it seems like there are quite a few departures, especially on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, with several on Thursdays.

    Although I’ve been to Skagway before, I’m a National Park junkie and want to revisit Klondike Gold Rush National Park. I also hope to ride the White Pass and Yukon Route railroad once again, which was my favorite part of my visit to Skagway. Even if you are not a train buff, this ride is worth it just for the scenery along the Chilkoot Trail.

    Good luck with your decision.

    • Thanks for the information! I was looking at a Friday in May – maybe I was limited by that or by the size of our rig. I will check again. I agree about visiting Klondike and we haven’t done the train – geez, now I have to add that in! We were thinking of just parking in Carcross and making a day trip down to Skagway. But then I think, what if you never come back? Do it all now!! And so we really don’t know what to do, yet…

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