Skagway – “Gateway to the Klondike Gold Rush of 1898″ – was the second port we visited on our Alaskan Cruise.
Definitely known as Gold Rush territory. Many people came here hoping to strike it rich after gold was found on August 17th, 1896.
Now, the gold wasn’t discovered in Skagway, but some 600 miles north of here on Rabbit Creek a tributary of the Klondike River! Skagway became the main port town for those coming in from the rest of the world hoping to make their millions.
Skagway was originally called Mooresville after being discovered by Captain William Moore, a member of Canada’s Ogilvie survey party, who returned here with his son to claim 160 acres to set up a port and build his homestead.
Very interesting to read and learn about those hard-living people who settled this area – talk about taking it back to basics.
After gold was discovered and the main trails (there were 2 decided upon as routes) were created to get people from Skagway to Rabbit Creek (later called Bonanza), the rush was on. Tens of thousands of people spent time in this town preparing for their journey along the trails. Luckily, the following year, construction to build the White Pass & Yukon Railroad began which would let even more people head off on their way north to strike it rich.
Truly, there is so much more history to read about pertaining to this little Alaskan town (too much for me to write it all here)!! If you’re interested in more, check out this Skagway History link.
So, what do you do nowadays in Skagway?
Well, you take a historic walk of the town visiting the stores, museums, and cafes that still exist in these “fancy” old-west looking buildings.
The Visitor’s Bureau (located at the end of town closest to the cruise ship port) can provide you with a great map of the area, including a historic walking tour and a map of a hike out to the Gold Rush Cemetery and Reid Falls (all of the above we decided we needed to see).
First the town…
Of course there’s always a big, fun saloon in these towns and also one (or more) brothels to provide entertainment, warmth, food and shelter for all the men making the long, treacherous journey north to claim their riches.
The stories of the struggles men went through to make it to the area of the Klondike where gold was discovered are simply incredible. Many men arrived after all the land was claimed. Having spent most of their money to get there, they stayed and worked the land for those who made it there first.
After our historic town walking tour, we headed out on the hike to the Gold Rush Cemetery and Reid Falls.
We headed North through the town (following alongside the railroad tracks).
We saw remnants of old gold rush railroad trains, maybe?…
Then finally arrived at the cemetery. I believe the walk here was about 45 minutes.
A little bit spooky wouldn’t you say??
You actually pass through the cemetery, across a little wooden bridge, to find the trail to Reid Falls.
YAY!!! We made it!!
After spending some time at the Falls, we headed back to the cruise ship…just in time to see the tourist train returning from taking people from the cruise up the mountain and into the Yukon.
As we headed back to the ship, the blue skies and sun came out – aaahhh!!
Such a great day out in the fresh, clean air! We loved the chance to take a nice hike and see the sites and town of Skagway!
My next Alaska post will be our visit to the Tracy Arm Fjord.
Hope everyone is well,
P.S. you can probably tell I was playing around with my photos quite a bit – just having some fun…hope you like them.