In 1898, work began on the White Pass & Yukon Route railway in Skagway, Alaska. Upon its completion in 1899, the landscape of the Gateway to the North and the Klondike region would be forever changed. Today, visitors to Skagway have the rare opportunity of stepping back in time as they board the White Pass train for a Skagway train tour over the White Pass Summit. If you plan on riding the train during your visit, this is what you can expect.
Train tours are offered in the morning and early afternoon. During the busier days of the week in the middle of the summer, train tours are also offered in the evening. If you’re visiting Skagway on a cruise ship for the day, you likely have the option of taking any of these train tours, but which one is the best?
While the cruise ships all offer Skagway train tours during these different departure times, there are some valid reasons to wait until you arrive in Skagway before booking your tour. Weather sometimes influences visibility on morning train tours, so if you pre-book the train in the morning, you may not be able to see through the fog. This becomes even more of an issue during the fall.
Another reason to wait until you’re in port to book your train tour is because you can often find it cheaper when you get off of your cruise ship. While it’s common for cruise ship companies to tell passengers that they will miss the boat if they book tours independently, this doesn’t happen in Alaska. This is why we recommend waiting until you’re in port, check out the weather, and then find a vendor to purchase your tour from once you get off of your ship.
Which Skagway train tour is the best one to take?
Like any good company, White Pass understands that tourists want options. There are a variety of train tours to choose from, so let’s break them all down.
Fraser Train/Bus Combination – This is arguably the most popular offering, because at 3 hours it’s the shortest of the train tours offered in Skagway. On this tour you take the train to/from Fraser, B.C. 28 miles one way, and then take a bus the other direction. You also have some times to get off of the train at Fraser and explore. You can find this tour both online and when you depart your cruise ship. Passport Required.
Fraser Train/Bus with Stops – This tour is only offered through local vendors. It is exatly like the tour above, but the bus portion of the tour includes a series of stops for amazing photo opportunities. This may be the best value of all the train tours. Passport Required.
Fraser Round Trip Train Tour – This train tour in Skagway features the train up to Fraser and back again. Passport Required.
Bennett Scenic Journey – This tour is mush longer at 8 hours, and departure is early in the morning. The tour features a one way train ride to Carcross, Yukon Territory, with a stop at Bennett, and a one way bus tour the other direction. Passport Required.
Summit Train – This train tour travels 20 miles to the White Pass Summit and back. Nobody gets off of the train on this tour.
No matter which train tour you choose, you’re going to be blown away by the experience. Be sure to check out future blogs featuring highlights from the journey.