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Skagway Alaska Cruise Port Tips

Skagway Alaska downtown
Town of Skagway. Credit: Pixabay Creative Commons license
Nearly 1 million people visit the Skagway Alaska cruise port every year, according to the Skagway Convention & Visitors Bureau.

Yet the town has a year-round population of only 900 people. Despite its small size, it can host more than 10,000 people a day, the bureau says.

This small town, 100 miles north of Juneau, is nestled among the hills and mountains of Haines State Forest. Ships reach it by traveling through the long Chilkat Inlet, often after stopping at Juneau. Skagway also is near Glacier Bay.

Attractions and Shore Excursions

The main attractions are natural and outside of town, but the town itself has several points of interest. They include the Arctic Brotherhood Hall, the visitor center for the Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park and the “haunted” Golden North Hotel.

All of them are on Broadway street, which is accessible right by the cruise docks. Simply walk about three tenths of a mile northeast toward the town to reach them.

The Arctic Brotherhood Hall, 245 Broadway, has nearly 9,000 driftwood sticks nailed to it. The visitors bureau says it may be the most photographed building in Alaska. The building at 245 Broadway is three tenths of a mile northeast of the cruise port.

The visitor center for the Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park at 2nd and Broadway has hourly showings of historic films, Ranger presentations, guided walking tours of the Skagway Historic District; and special evening presentations.

Owners of the “haunted” Golden North Hotel, just beyond the Klondike visitor center, claimed it was the oldest operating hotel in Alaska. But the hotel part of the business recently closed, and it now has a bar and restaurant.

The 33-mile Chilkoot Trail begins the route to the Yukon Goldfields. Hikers can go from tidewater at Dyea to Bennett Lake in Canada (17 trail miles in US; 16 miles in Canada). Anyone thinking about going on the trail should first visit the Trail Center on Broadway, between 5th and 6th Avenues, open from May to September.

Weather / Best Times to Go

The U.S. National Weather Service doesn’t have any historical records for Skagway weather patterns. But it does for Juneau, which will give visitors some ideas about what to expect.

For good reason, cruise ships usually limit their visits to the months of May through September. May and September have average high temperatures in the upper 50s Fahrenheit. June through July have average highs in the low 60s Fahrenheit.

May and June are the driest months with average precipitation (snow, rain or both) of nearly five inches a month. July climbs to more than five inches, August leaps to eight inches and September leads even more to nearly 13 inches.

Other Tips

  • Skagway’s original name, Skagua, means “Home of the North Wind” in Tlingit.
  • Skagway is one of only three cities in Southeast Alaska accessible by road.
  • The Lynn Canal is the deepest and longest fjord in North America.
  • Visitors can hike to Harding Glacier.
    Scott S. Bateman is a professional journalist who has traveled widely throughout the Caribbean and the Americas.

     > Category: Cruise Ports   

    July 13, 2018

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