Skagway Secrets, Hot Spots, Hikes, and More
“Staying in Skagway for your Alaska summer job? Skagway is the Gateway to the Klondike, a small town flanked by high peaks and steeped in gold rush history. Just like the gold miners who staked their claim here centuries ago, when you leave you’ll have great stories to tell.
Where to Wet the Line
Pullen Creek: Pullen Creek is a favorite for Pink Salmon fishing. They may not be as popular as their Wild Alaskan brethren, but they’re super tasty when prepared correctly. Try it barbecued for a delicious day-off meal, Alaskan style.
Taiya River: Hello Dolly! During the spring and fall, the Taiya River is the best place to see Dolly Varden trout in acrobatic action. The river is home to a small population of fishy “residents” year round, so cast your line.
Lots of Lakes: Dewey Lakes, Lost Lake, Goat Lake, and Devil’s Punchbowl are swimming with trout and grayling. Spend your next day off at a high-elevation lake and wind down while reeling in
“Wherever the employees decide is the hot spot. Sometimes it is a BBQ, night games, or a bonfire. You can have fun anywhere in Skagway.” – Casey
Glacial Smoothie: After a long day, Holland America-Princess employees flock to Glacial Smoothie and after your first visit, you’ll know why. Tasty smoothies, fantastic breakfast fare, and bottomless Raven’s Brew coffee make Glacial Smoothie the perfect place to grab a bite and mingle while waiting in line.
Red Onion Saloon: Quench your thirst for beverages and history at the Red Onion Saloon. Skagway’s historic Red Onion Saloon boasts an expansive selection of local beers, the “best pizza in town” (according to some), and a brothel museum upstairs.
The Red Onion gets busy when the cruise ships pull up to port, so get there early and beat swarms of tourists.
Sweet Tooth Café: Pop into the Sweet Tooth Café to get your sugar fix and mix with locals. Perfect for that grab-and-go breakfast or lunch before you hit the rail or the road.
Skagway Secret: Skip the Sweet Tooth’s notorious line and call in your order ahead of time.
The Rec Center: A good game is always going on at the Rec Center. Socialize with your HAP pals while working your way up the rock climbing wall.
Get Out of Town
“Many people enjoy hanging out in Dyea. Whether they’re hiking around, laying in the sun or playing a friendly game of capture the flag, it is definitely a favorite.” – Sara
Nestled within the Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park, Dyea was once a bustling town and hub for prospectors. The town was abandoned when treasure seekers started using the White Pass Trail in Skagway. Today Holland America-Princess employees gather in the ghost town to play capture the flag, camp out, or go bear spotting.
The Great Outdoors
Skagway is a coastal town near a river, which means ample opportunities for rafting, kayaking, and hiking.
Hikes to Write Home About
Roaring rivers, vertigo-inducing views, ice falls that knock the air right out of you. Skagway offers some of the state’s best trails, so lace up those boots and get out there. Happy hiking!
Laughton Glacier: Day trippers, set your sights on the Laughton Glacier. It’s one of the only opportunities for an earth-shattering boots-on-ice experience without taking a helicopter tour or dog sled. Watch your step!
Smuggler’s Cove: Don’t let the name scare you. On this relatively easy hike, you’ll take in majestic mountain peaks and wonderful water views. It’s a 2.5 mile trail and just perfect for a leisurely stroll on your day off.
Sturgill’s Landing: Sturgill’s Landing is a hike with history. Dating back to the early, like 1800s early – it’s a small rocky cove that was once the site of a woodcutter’s camp. The coastal views, seal spotting, and “magic” forest make the half-day or overnight hike well worth any huffing and puffing.
Chilkoot Trail: Once one of only two routes leading to the Klondike, Chilkoot Trail is a sought-after hike by both international adventurers and every single Skagway employee in Holland America-Princess history. Follow the footsteps of prospectors and gold rush stampeders up 33 miles of trail from Dyea townsite to Lake Bennett. Bring a tent – this is no day hike.
“Laughton Glacier is the best. It’s a trail that is a little out of the way (you have to ride the train up and get let off) but it’s beautiful and you can get really close to the glacier.” – Megan
Where to Bring Friends and Family
“As this is my first year in Skagway my parents came to visit in mid-June. I took them to some of my favorite restaurants including the Sweet Tooth Café, The Red Onion, Brew Co., Fish Co. and the Stowaway Café. We also went for a train ride up to Fraser, took the ferry over to Haines, took a drive in Dyea and they also went on a tour to Liarsville.” – Sara
Liarsville: Dine on fresh salmon at Liarsville and afterwards, mosey on over to their trail camp. Sure, it’s a bit touristy, but it’s definitely a parent-friendly place packed with fun and history.
Skagway Secret: Liarsville is nicknamed for the journalists dispatched to the area during the Gold Rush.
Fraser: Take in Skagway’s beautiful scenery from the comfort of a railcar on a day trip to Fraser, British Columbia. We promise you won’t hear a peep of “Are we there yet” from your parents.
With so much to see and do in Skagway, you’ll feel spent after just a week. When it comes to relaxing, we’ve got you covered:
“Back home to rest and make dinner, then out to hang out with other employees or with local friends.” – Megan
“After a long day, I prefer to spend an evening at home cooking dinner and watching movies with friends.” – Sara
“On a walk anywhere in Skagway, the nature close by is very calming.” – Casey