Nestled right in the heart of Alaska’s breathtaking landscapes and coastlines is Skagway Cruise Port. The cruise port’s ideal location along Alaska’s Inside Passage makes it one of the primary gateways to Alaskan adventure, history, and natural beauty. 

Due to this strategic location and its proximity to some of Alaska’s most alluring attractions, there is a good chance you will stop in Skagway if you have booked an Alaskan cruise. To help you get the most out of your time there, this comprehensive guide will explain everything you need to know. 

From exploring the port’s location and terminal facilities to a more general look at things to do and the region’s historic significance to the Gold Rush Era, this guide will ensure that your visit to the Last Frontier is the trip of a lifetime. 

So, whether you’re a history buff, an outdoor enthusiast, or just a curious traveler wanting to know more about a place before you visit, it’s time to explore everything the Skagway Cruise Port has to offer!

Skagway, Alaska, is situated along Alaska’s southeastern coast, nestled at the northernmost point of the Inside Passage. The town sits above the top of a glacier-fed fjord, with the Skagway Cruise Port sitting along its southern coast. 

While the cruise port is relatively small, it has several docks capable of handling full-sized cruise ships. Most cruise ships dock at the Broadway Dock, located at Broadway Street’s very edge. Two other docks are also used for cruise ships – Railroad Dock and Ore Dock, located at the southern edge of town at the end of Main Street. 

No matter which dock your cruise ship stops at, all three are just a short walk to Skagway’s shopping, dining, and the town’s Gold Rush Era historic sites. The distance from the port to the town’s downtown core is less than a mile, so cruise passengers can walk roughly 18 minutes or take one of the smart shuttle buses, which will take you anywhere in town in less than 10 minutes. 

If your cruise ship is departing from Skagway, rather than stopping there as part of its itinerary, there is a good chance that you will need to catch a commuter flight from one of Alaska’s larger cities.

Unlike those in Anchorage and Juneau, Alaska, the Skagway Airport does not have the runway facilities needed to deal with larger planes. This is one of the main reasons why most Alaskan cruises list Skagway Cruise Port as a port of call rather than their original departure point.

Airport at Skagway, Alaska (Photo Credit: Ramunas Bruzas / Shutterstock)

With that said, if you do depart from Skagway, the most popular way to travel to the town is to take a roughly 45-minute commuter flight from Juneau, Alaska. Some will also choose to fly into Whitehorse, Canada, then drive the 110-mile journey along the Alaska Highway.

If you fly into Skagway Airport, it is just one mile from the Port of Skagway via Alaska Street and Broadway Street. 

Because it is a fjord, the deep waters of Lynn Canal allow full-size cruise ships to visit Skagway. Since the town offers so much history and nearby natural beauty, it is a popular destination for some of the world’s most popular cruise lines.

In addition to others, several major cruise lines all have itineraries that involve stops at Skagway Cruise Port, including Norwegian Cruise Line, Princess Cruises, Royal Caribbean International, Holland America Line, Celebrity Cruises and Carnival Cruise Line.

Cruise Ships Docked in Skagway (Photo Credit: Dennis MacDonald / Shutterstock)

As mentioned, Skagway Cruise Port features three distinct docks, each with several terminals. The terminals across the entire port feature relatively limited facilities, but you can find several public restrooms and vending machines. Unfortunately, the port does not offer free Wi-Fi as of yet, but due to the port’s proximity to downtown Skagway, you shouldn’t have any problem finding an Internet connection if you need it. 

Each terminal and pier is also wheelchair accessible, so passengers with mobility needs will not encounter any issues navigating the port. Those needing assistance reaching the Skagway downtown area can take a round-trip shuttle service from the port’s drop-off and pick-up zone. The shuttle operates year-round and onlycosts five dollars for an all-day pass.

Like all of Alaska, Skagway is subject to some fairly harsh weather and significant seasonal fluctuations in temperature. To help you pack and prepare for a comfortable experience during your visit to Skagway, here’s a basic breakdown of seasonal considerations:

Cruise Ship Docked in Skagway (Photo Credit: Timothy L Barnes / Shutterstock)

Since Skagway is located more south than some of Alaska’s other towns and cities, temperatures are relatively mild. Average daytime summer temperatures range from 50° to 70°F. Expect long daylight hours, as well as occasional rainfall. Pack light, comfortable clothing, but make sure you bring a rain jacket just in case.

Temperatures in Skagway begin to cool as summer turns to fall. Expect daytime temperatures between 40° and 55°F, as well as fairly frequent showers and fog. Pack warm but breathable clothing. Don’t forget waterproof clothing if you plan on spending most of your time outdoors.

Unsurprisingly, winter brings ice-cold weather to Skagway. Daytime temperatures average between 20° and 35°F. Daylight hours are shorter, with the sun setting as early as 3:00 PM. Expect snow accumulation to impact travel plans. Pack plenty of warm clothing, especially water and windproof outerwear. 

Spring is warmer, but it can still be quite chilly. Temperatures can range from 25° to 45°F, but you can also expect a mix of rain and snow. While this time of year brings the great thaw and a rise in wildlife activity and wildflower blooms, you still need to pack appropriately. Pack warm clothes, as well as breathable hiking gear. You will need waterproof outerwear, as well as winter gloves. 

Despite its small size and population, Skagway has plenty to offer visitors. Since Skagway once served as the main gateway to the gold deposits of the Klondike region of Yukon, Canada, the town has a very noticeable link to the Klondike Gold Rush. 

In fact, all of downtown Skagway has been designated part of the Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park, so many of the original buildings and artifacts have been preserved. As such, the entire town almost feels like a functioning museum.

Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park (Photo Credit: Jiri Vondrous / Shutterstock)

This means that cruise passengers can use their visit as an opportunity to view Gold Rush Era architecture and enjoy interactive exhibits. Why not take the time to explore some of the very same buildings used by prospectors on their way to find fame and fortune? 

For those looking to take in Alaska’s stunning natural landscapes, hiking some of the famous Chilkoot Trail can be incredibly memorable. Luckily, some of the main trailheads are located just steps from Skagway cruise port. You can also visit Gold Rush Cemetery, where many famous prospectors and town residents are buried. 

For those with more time to work with, hopping aboard the White Pass and Yukon Route Railroad is an incredible experience. The historic train can even pick up passengers at their cruise ship terminal.

Luckily, Skagway is a very walkable destination. Many popular attractions are just a short walk from the town’s cruise port. The town’s historic streets are also pedestrian-friendly, so you can simply stroll the town on foot.

Downtown Skagway (Photo Credit: Alexandre.ROSA / Shutterstock)

For those with limited time or looking to explore further afield, shuttle services and taxis are available from the cruise port. As we will explore in greater detail, many cruise lines also partner with local excursion providers, including transportation to and from the port.

Read Also: Whittier Cruise Port – Terminal, Directions and Info

Given the town’s small size, do not expect to be able to summon rideshare services like Uber and Lyft.

Visiting Skagway offers cruise passengersa wide range of outdoor adventure and exploration opportunities. Beyond Skagway’s small-town charm and famed ties to the Gold Rush Era, the surrounding area offers breathtaking views of the rugged Alaskan wilderness.

As always, we recommend booking excursions ahead of time through your cruise line. This will ensure that you have timely transportation to and from the cruise port, plus the excursion provider will have been vetted by the cruise line ahead of time.

Skagway Station of the White Pass and Yukon Route (Photo Credit: EWY Media / Shutterstock)

If enjoying the great outdoors is high on your list of things to do in Alaska, use your time in Alaska to enjoy some of the following activities:

This 200-foot suspension bridge sits above the rapids of the Tutshi River, offering stunning views of the surrounding scenery. Crossing it is perfectly safe, but it will get your adrenaline pumping. Since the bridge crosses into Canada, you will need a passport or passport ID card. 

The bridge takes about one hour to drive on the Klondike Highway, so most cruise passengers will visit by booking a tour excursion. These guided excursions are filled with other stops and offer plenty of opportunities to see Alaska’s iconic wildlife. 

Skagway sits on the Lynn Canal, North America’s longest and deepest fjord. On top of that, the town is surrounded by flowing rivers. Numerous tour operators can provide safe and guided rafting experiences. 

These experiences are incredibly memorable and offer plenty of opportunities to take photographs of eagles, bears, glaciers, and other Alaskan icons. 

Fishing enthusiasts will already be aware of Alaska’s reputation for having some of the world’s best salmon and trout fishing. As you would expect, there is no shortage of tour operators willing to take eager cruise passengers out for a multi-hour fishing experience.

Fishing Boats in Skagway, Alaska (Photo Credit: Darryl Brooks / Shutterstock)

Learn how to fly fish on the rivers surrounding Skagway, or try your hand at fishing from a boat on the deeper waters of the Lynn Canal. Both options are easily accessible from Skagway and require little more than a short walk to an excursion operator. No matter what type of fishing you choose, you’ll enjoy the pristine backdrop of Alaska’s rugged and untamed wilderness. 

Skagway has numerous options for bike rentals and cycling tours. One of the best options is to cycle through the surrounding rainforest. While it may seem strange to think of such a notoriously cold area with a rainforest, the dense forests surrounding the town are classified as temperate rainforests. 

Trails take you alongside the forest, as well as the nearby Taiya River and various historic sites. While we encourage you to take a cycling tour to maximize the experience, self-guided trips along the trails can be just as fun! 

Viewing Skagway and the surrounding landscape from the air is an experience unlike any other. Plenty of helicopter tours are ideal for cruise ship passengers, as they allow you to take in an incredible amount of scenery in a limited time. Save time and view the mountains, glaciers, fjords, and forests from above.

Temsco Helicopter Tours (Photo Credit: EWY Media / Shutterstock)

Helicopters depart right along Skagway’s waterfront, so, depending on which of the three piers your cruise ship docks at, reaching the heliport will only involve a 5-to-15-minute walk from Skagway cruise port.

While the official currency is the American dollar, most vendors are used to Canadian tourists and will accept Canadian dollars at a flat exchange rate. We recommend using US currency to get the best deal, but most establishments accept the major credit cards. The town has plenty to offer, so you won’t want to forget your wallet on the ship!

Despite the town’s small size, its booming tourism industry means that a diverse array of dining options are available to visitors. From cozy cafés that serve warm beverages and comfort food to more upscale restaurants that take advantage of Alaskan seafood and other locally sourced ingredients, you will have plenty of options.

Red Onion Saloon in Skagway, Alaska (Photo Credit: Alexandre.ROSA / Shutterstock)

No trip to Skagway is complete without a visit to the iconic Red Onion Saloon. This local landmark has been around since the Gold Rush Era. Today, it serves classic American dishes, has a fully stocked bar, and even has a brothel museum. Located on the corner of 2nd and Broadway, it’s just an 11-minute walk from the cruise port.

If seafood is your thing, don’t miss the Skagway Fish Company. Order all the Alaskan classics, like Alaskan crab legs, fish and chips, wild-caught salmon, and more. Plus, it’s located just outside the cruise port, so it couldn’t be easier to get to.

You could also sample the beers at Skagway Brewing Company, grab a slice at Northern Lights Pizzeria, or enjoy a caribou burger at Skagway BBQ Shack. All three are just a short walk from the piers!

Skagway also offers shopping enthusiasts an opportunity to browse a wide variety of unique souvenirs and hand-made goods. Handcrafted jewelry and authentic Native Alaskan artwork both make unique and stunning keepsakes. Plenty of stores offer the latest outdoor gear and clothing, which can come in handy if you forget anything.

Gift Stores in Skagway (Photo Credit: Alexandre.ROSA / Shutterstock)

Yes, Skagway is very walkable. Most of the town’s main attractions and amenities are easily walkable from the cruise port. 

Absolutely! Skagway itself offers a rich history and a stunning natural backdrop. There are also plenty of exciting outdoor activities just a short distance from Skagway’s downtown core. 

Many of North America’s top cruise lines include a port of call stop in Skagway as part of their Alaskan itineraries. Since the town has so much to offer and travel to and from the cruise port is so scenic, it is an incredibly popular cruise destination.

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