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Skagway, Alaska: 5 Things We Love

From an eerie ghost town to a garden abloom in begonias, Skagway has lots to love.

a building in Skagway's historic district, image
Photo caption
The town’s historic district was a hub during the gold rush.

Every week during the spring of 1898, some 1,000 prospectors hoping to strike it rich in the Klondike goldfields passed through Skagway, Alaska. Today the town, with a population of 995, is one-tenth its former size but entertains 1 million visitors each summer, most arriving by cruise ship. Area code is 907.

1  Go to Bites on Broadway for a crusty-on-top bacon-cheddar biscuit. Stay for stories from Mississippi natives Nils Davis and Skipper Stovall, who moved to Alaska having never seen snow or cooked professionally. “Our moms helped us with the recipes,” Davis says. 983-2166.

2  Take a free walking tour of the Skagway Historic District, starting at the Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park’s visitor center, and marvel at the 9,000 driftwood pieces nailed to Arctic Brotherhood Hall. 983-9200,

3  Along the Dewey Lake Trail System, breaks in the mass of spruces and hemlocks allow for views over the harbor. 983-2854,

4  Wander forested trails in the ghost town of Dyea, keeping an eye out for eagles and bears. On a tour, you’ll learn about the Klondike gold rush’s deadliest event, an avalanche that killed more than 70 prospectors. Forty-five of them are buried in Slide Cemetery. 983-9200,

5  A 1988 governor’s proclamation made Skagway the Garden City of Alaska. At Jewell Gardens, 250 red, yellow, orange, pink, and white begonias vie for attention with seven-foottall blue delphiniums in the three-acre organic spread. 983-2111,

Photography by WilsonsTravels Stock/Alamy

This article was first published in July 2014. Some facts my have aged gracelessly. Please call ahead to verify information.