10 Awesome Things to Do in Skagway Cruise Port (+ Port Info)

Skagway downtown - Skagway cruise port

Planning your Alaska cruise and wondering about the best things to do in Skagway cruise port?

Nestled in the northernmost point of the Inside Passage in Southeast Alaska, Skagway, the capital of Yukon (Canada), is one of the most popular Alaskan ports offering stunning landscapes and a wide variety of activities.

The Alaskan cruise itinerary normally includes stops at both Juneau (167 km/104 miles south of Skagway) and Skagway and then from Skagway, there is a ferry available over to Haines, another incredible city in Alaska. In this Skagway cruise travel guide, read about:

  • Skagway cruise port (Skagway cruise terminal, getting around the port)
  • 10 awesome things to do in Skagway port & popular Skagway shore excursions

Visit also our cruise port guides to Juneau, Halifax, Galveston, Boston, Vancouver

Skagway Cruise Port

The port of Skagway consists of three cruise terminals or docks: Broadway Dock (situated at the end of Broadway), Ore Dock (located at the end of Main Street), and Railroad Dock (at the southern edge of the town).

At the end of Broadway, there is also a ferry dock that can accommodate smaller ships. All the docks are located within a short walking distance from downtown Skagway.

The main Broadway dock can accommodate up to 3 large cruise ships simultaneously. In that case, if your ship docked the last, please consider a minimum of 10 minutes of walking to reach the end of the pier where the entrance to the port is located.

The pier is long and flat with nothing except for small cars offering free transportation (mainly for people with mobility issues) to the end of the pier based on a schedule with limited availability. Each car can accommodate between 2-4 passengers at a time.

Skagway cruise port - aerial view - Alaska
Skagway cruise port
Skagway cruise port (Alaska) - downtown area
Skagway downtown

Getting Around Skagway Port

  • Skagway is a small town with only 1100 inhabitants. The pier and downtown area are flat, making it accessible for people with walking difficulties/wheelchair users.
  • There is no taxi service in Skagway, as everything is within walking distance.
  • If you are into sightseeing, you can take the Street Car Tour which runs from a pier a few times daily for an extra fee.
  • Public S.M.A.R.T. shuttle buses are available at the end of the pier and they run on a specific schedule. They are white and blue, and you will find their bus stops all over town at the blue and white poles. These shuttle buses run in a loop every 20-30 minutes and include stops around the town, including Gold Rush Cemetery and Jewell Gardens. Wheelchair-accessible buses are available (with a ramp).
  • Keep in mind that the weather in Skagway may change so bring suitable clothing and be prepared for showers during the day.
  • A red booth is available at the end of the pier – this is the main tour booth for all cruise ships in port on that day. All guests from the cruise ship with a tour prepaid or booked onboard normally have their meeting time by the booth or at the end of the pier/entrance in the port (however, always double-check the tour’s meeting location/time indicated on your tour ticket).
  • Next to the red booth, one small shop sells souvenirs and a great Alaskan coffee not to be missed. There are no toilets available on the pier (they are only available downtown for an extra fee), and no free wi-fi available unless you purchase an item in specific locations downtown where you will receive code access.
  • The tourist information office that provides local maps is located on downtown’s main street, within a short walking distance from the end of the pier.
  • A few minutes’ walk from the end of the pier, you will spot White Pass & Yukon Route Railroad train station, offering the most incredible sightseeing train ride in the world. In case you book this tour on board, follow the instructions on your ticket as the train normally picks you up in front of the ship (so you don’t need to walk to the train station). 
  • Major cruise lines sailing to Skagway Alaska include Seabourn Cruise Line, Norwegian Cruise Line, Carnival Cruise Line, Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises, Princess Cruises, Holland America Line, Regent Seven Seas Cruises and Oceania Cruises.
  • Explore Skagway tours and activities
Skagway Alaska Street Car Tour
Street Car Tour
White Pass and Yukon Route train station, Skagway cruise port, Alaska
White Pass and Yukon Route train station

10 Awesome Things to Do in Skagway Cruise Port

1. Downtown Skagway

The downtown has one main street where you can find numerous souvenir shops, authentic handicrafts, jewelry stores (Tanzanite International, Effy Jewelry, Diamonds International..), liquor stores, shops selling winter outfits with brands like North Face, Colombia, and a few others.

Also, Skagway Port is one of the best ports for dining ashore, so if you love seafood this is the perfect place for you! Downtown, you’ll find a variety of bars, restaurants, and takeout places offering delicious grilled salmon, King Crab legs, and other local dishes.

Coming to highlights of Skagway downtown, the most photographed building is located on the main street: Arctic Brotherhood Hall (A.B.Hall), a historic, unusual-looking building that housed a club formed in 1899 by a group of gold prospectors who arrived in Skagway to set off for the Klondike gold fields seeking fortune. The building is now home to the Skagway Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Arctic Brotherhood Hall in Skagway cruise port
Arctic Brotherhood Hall is one of the symbols of the Klondike gold rush. The hall is decorated with over 8,800 pieces of driftwood. 

There are also a few other museums, such as the Trail of ’98 Museum (Skagway Museum), a small museum housed in an 1898 building featuring a great collection of artifacts showcasing the history of Skagway and the everyday life of its first settlers.

Housed in a historic Golden North Hotel, Corrington’s Alaskan Ivory Museum is another museum worth your attention, as it contains one of Alaska’s best collections of ivory art. The entrance is free of charge.

Another popular downtown attraction is a very famous excursion called Ghost & Goodtime Girls, a historic walking tour of the downtown guided by professional actresses dressed up in Klondike-style clothing.

The tour normally starts at the end of the pier and finishes at Red Onion Brothel Museum, with a champagne toast and visits to the rooms of the ancient brothel. The tour guides are very informative and you get to learn about the history of the Gold Rush and how the Goodtime girls survived during the late 1890s. Get more information on the Red Onion Saloon website

2. Gold Panning at Alaska 360

Alaska 360, known as Dredge Town, is one of the most popular attractions near Skagway downtown located approximately 15 minutes drive from the end of the port Skagway.

This incredible place surrounded by mountains allows you to immerse yourself in the Klondike Gold Rush era, and learn the history of mining from the days of the Gold Rush up to the present day. You get to learn about modern sled dog racing, see Iditarod sled dogs and learn what it’s like to be a musher!

Visitors can experience the chill of being on the Iditarod trail in 40-below temperatures in the Museum below 40, see the Northern Lights simulation, and learn the art of gold panning after which you get a chance to pan for gold and keep everything you find (what a souvenir!).

You will tour the authentic gold dredge weighing 350 tons used for placer gold mining in the Yukon, and to top off your day, enjoy lunch and beer at the onsite restaurant and brewery. The staff are dressed up in traditional costumes which makes the whole experience unique and unforgettable!

Check out gold panning tours in Skagway downtown

Gold Panning at Alaska 360 - Skagway cruise port
Gold Panning at Alaska 360

3. Jewell Gardens

Jewell Gardens is located 10 minutes’ drive from the Skagway cruise port, on Klondike Highway, a little bit outside the downtown area.

The gardens boast an impressive selection of vegetables, blooming wildflowers, and inspiring glass garden installations. You can tour the garden on your own or a guided tour. To top off your day you can enjoy lunch and tea in the restaurant where the food is prepared fresh using organic ingredients from the garden!

Check out Jewell Gardens tours and activities

4. Klondike Gold Rush National Park

Skagway is known as the gateway to the Klondike, a region of the Yukon in northwest Canada lying east of the Alaskan border, a symbol of 1890’s gold rush days when over 100.000 fortune seekers came to pan for gold in Klondike Gold Fields.

Tucked between the mountains and the sea, Skagway became an entry port and home to over 20.000 prospectors who made Skagway their home in the following years.

Yukon Territory (Canada) - Klondike Gold Rush National Park
Yukon Territory (Canada)

Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park covers a large area that protects the memory of these days, preserving the trails (a 33-mile long Chilkoot Trail, known as the “meanest” one, is among the most popular ones), towns (Skagway, Dawson City), and buildings of the gold rush era.

There are two ways to reach the White Pass Summit (aka Klondike Summit): by train and by motorcoach.

If you choose to go by motorcoach/car, you get to ride along Klondike Highway that runs parallel to the “White Pass and Yukon Route Rail Road” up to the 3,290-foot-high White Pass Summit in St. Elias Range.

Along the way, you will take in awe-inspiring sceneries of snow-capped mountains and glaciers, scenic vistas, and incredible sights including Dead Horse Trail, the old Brackett Wagon Road, Pitchfork Falls, and Moore Bridge. You’ll make stops at stunning viewpoints allowing you to take unique pictures, while your tour guide tells you about the history of the region and the Klondike Gold Rush era.

To reach Klondike Summit it will take approximately 90 minutes driving each way. An original passport is required as you’ll be crossing into Canada. This experience is not wheelchair friendly; it is considered moderate to strenuous, and walking shoes and a wind/water-resistant jacket are recommended.

Explore Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park tours

5. White Pass and Yukon Route Scenic Railway

The epic train ride is a must-do for those coming to Skagway for the first time! This spectacular journey combines history and nature, as you get to discover Alaska’s stunning sceneries while learning about the Klondike gold rush that took place here on the border of Canada and the United States at the end of the 19th century.

In 1898, one year after the gold was found in Yukon, the investors started the construction of the narrow-gauge railroad to build the route from Skagway to Yukon’s goldfields. Built within three years, the iron trail was an engineering marvel as the route led through the region’s dramatic, rugged mountainous terrain.

White Pass and Yukon Route Railroad
White Pass and Yukon Route Railroad
Yukon Suspension Bridge
Yukon Suspension Bridge

Today, visitors can travel back in time by taking a train ride up to the 3,290-foot-high White Pass Summit and admire the fascinating glaciers, waterfalls, mountains, suspension bridges, rivers, lakes, and wildlife sightings.

The train ride lasts around 1 hour and 45 minutes and depending on the tour you choose, you get to see famous attractions such as the breathtaking Bridal Veil Falls, the Gold Rush Cemetery, Tormented Valley, the Skagway Scenic Overlook, and Yukon Suspension Bridge.

The train ride is suitable for guests using a wheelchair, walker, or motorized scooter.  The restrooms are available onboard the train. For this excursion, the original passport is required as the tour crosses into Canada and back into the U.S.

Explore White Pass & Yukon Route Railway tours and activities 

6. Musher’s Camp and Dog Sledding Adventure

Dog Sledding is one of the most unique experiences that you can get in Alaska! You can choose between a land excursion that normally goes to one of the musher’s camps in either Yukon or the historic town of Dyea, or you can choose a dog sledding experience by flight to Denver/Norris Glacier.

If you opt for a land dog sledding experience, you will join a ride through the beautiful Alaskan goldfields, countryside, and forests before heading to Musher’s Camp where a professional Musher teaches you about the history of this famous Alaskan sport and dogsledding techniques.

At the end of the experience, you get to cuddle adorable huskies willing to pose for a photo with you!

Explore Musher’s Camp and Dog Sledding tours and activities

Musher's Camp in Skagway, Alaska
Musher’s Camp

7. Dog Sledding and Denver Glacier Flightseeing

If your budget allows you, get ready for the spectacular helicopter ride across endless snow-blanketed fields, ice-capped mountain peaks, dense Alaskan forests, and breathtaking glaciers!

After a 20-minute flight, you will visit Dog Sled Camp, standing atop Denver Glacier, where you’ll be welcomed by professional Iditarod Dog Racing mushers and the beautiful huskies waiting to take you on a thrilling ride across the snowfields surrounded by mountains and glaciers of stunning beauty.

The base for the flight is located approximately 5 to 7 minutes walk from the end of the pier. The flight can accommodate a maximum of 4 passengers at a time depending on their weight, one person may stay in the middle back seat.

Wear closed-toe shoes, a warm rain jacket and bring binoculars. No bags are allowed on a ride (there are lockers available). Make sure you have your camera on you, as you will want to capture this unique moment.

Denver Glacier Dog Sledding - Skagway cruise port
Denver Glacier Dog Sledding

8. Grizzly Falls Zipline

Located around a 35-minute drive from Skagway cruise port each way, in the town of Dyea, this fantastic adventure park offers thrilling rides, unforgettable fun, and spectacular views!

Upon arriving at a base camp, you’ll board a shuttle truck that will take you on a bumpy ride to the zipline starting point. After you receive a briefing and safety gear, you’ll start your race through gigantic spruce and cedars of the Alaskan rainforest, while admiring the awe-inspiring views of the Tongass National Forest, glacially-fed waterfalls, mountain peaks, and surrounding wilderness.

Skagway Grizzly Falls Zipline - Suspension bridge
Grizzly Falls Zipline Adventure Park

Walk on raised balance beams, enjoy eleven ziplines across waterfalls, and cross four suspension bridges on this adrenaline-packed outdoor activity.

Tips: Make sure you check the availability and specific requirements before booking, as weight restrictions apply. Lockers are available for an extra fee (cash only). The helmet and all the equipment will be provided, however, make sure you dress comfortably and bring bug repellent.

Explore Grizzly Falls Zipline tours and activities 

9. Kroschel Wildlife Refuge

This fascinating wildlife refuge is located approximately a 1-hour drive from Heines, known for its breathtaking natural sceneries, wildlife, and a wide variety of outdoor activities.

To get to the Kroschel Wildlife Refuge, you need to catch an early morning ferry from Skagway to Haines and ride approximately 45 minutes each way. Once in Haines, tourists will board an organized bus for their tour and ride approximately 1 hour each way to Kroschel Park.

Kroschel Wildlife Refuge in Heines, Skagway (Alaska)
Kroschel Wildlife Refuge

The refuge offers unique and incredible opportunities for up-close and personal experiences with over 15 species of Alaskan wildlife, including moose, grizzly bear, wolf, lynx, fox, reindeer, porcupine, snowy owl, wolverine, and more!

The tours of the refuge are guided and the visit usually lasts up to two hours. You get the chance to touch animals, kiss a moose, or watch a Kodiak bear play in her pool. The location has facilities and a souvenir shop.

If you are visiting the refuge independently, make sure you make the reservation in advance, but if you are coming on a tour, everything (including transfer) is normally organized for you. Read more about the refuge on the Kroschel Wildlife Refuge website.

10. Ocean Raft & Wildlife Sightings

Get ready for a beautiful, scenic boat ride through the 90-mile-long Lynn Canal, the deepest fjord in North America and one of the longest fjords in the world. On this spectacular journey, you’ll be able to see waterfalls, secluded coves, rocky beaches, eagles, harbor seals, maybe even whales, and other Alaskan wildlife! 

Of course, you need to consider your medical background for this activity, and no pregnant women are allowed to participate as it is a speed boat and it could be partially bumpy.

This activity is running in small groups and has very limited availability, so make sure you book a tour in advance.  Keep in mind that the weather changes a lot, so make sure you bring warm clothes or a rain jacket.

Explore Skagway ocean raft and boat tours 

Read more in detail about how to prepare for Alaskan cruise in Alaskan Cruise Guide

You may also like our cruise port guides to the Mediterranean, Caribbean, Western Europe, Baltic & Scandinavia, USA & Canada, Australia & New Zealand

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