Alaska Bear by SLG
What to visit?
Whether you arrive by Alaska Marine Highway ferry, Cruise ship, plane or car, Skagway, Alaska is where it begins. The northernmost port on the Inside Passage is the gateway to the interior. The Tlingit and Tagish natives have inhabited the region for thousands of years and continue to make up a quarter of the population of the Yukon. Their trade routes over the mountain passes here were utilized in the 1890's as the major Gold Rush route to the gold fields where the Yukon and Klondike rivers join near present day Dawson. The rapid development changed the area forever. Skagway grew from a tiny outpost to a boomtown with many purveyors of necessary services and supplies for the miners, hotels, 80 saloons, three breweries, and many brothels. A railroad was built to more easily cross the mountains and eventually a highway was built. Today Skagway still has many of the original gold rush era buildings in the downtown. Much of Broadway forms part of the National Historic Park here.
This is a great destination whether you stay for a day, or end up living in Skagway for a month, spending your days hanging out with friendly park rangers, reading and making art at the library, hiking beautiful trails, and swigging beer and eating pizza at what used to be the local brothel— The Red Onion Saloon.
Where to stay?
For Camping in town, there are two RV parks: Garden City and Mountainview. Or for a rougher and more exciting time, you can hike up to Lower Dewey Lake and (with permission) pitch your tent in one of the campsites. There is one outhouse. Be prepared for bears!! I didn’t see any while I was there but it’s a good idea to carry bear spray (the local hardware store sells it) and keep your food in a bear box (you can get one at another local place— The Mountain Shop) or in a bag hanging at least 12 feet from the ground.
How to get to the park?
Access: Via Skagway by Alaska Marine Highway System and many cruise ships. Once in Skagway you can proceed via the Klondike highway over the mountains to Whitehorse by car. Road connections can be made to continue on toward Anchorage or to the lower 48 States via the Alaska-Canadian Highway. Alternative travel includes rail/bus via the White Pass & Yukon Route Railroad in Skagway with connections to Whitehorse, Yukon and Fraser, British Columbia.
Parks Canada has its own Klondike National Historic Sites. Many take this route to reach Denali National Park.