Tagish Lake, Yukon Territory Skagway, AK
Photo by: Alan Vernon, Creative Commons

The US government’s purchase of Alaska from the Russian Empire in 1867 was a much ballyhooed transaction. People couldn’t believe that the government, under the auspices of then-US Secretary of State William H. Seward, plunked down $7.2 million for what was deemed by even the Russians themselves as a liability. When gold was eventually discovered, especially in the nearby Yukon Territory, the US government had the last laugh. One area in particular that greatly experienced the mad Alaska Gold Rush was Skagway which was deemed as the “Gateway to the Klondike” in the Yukon region.

The Skagway of today is a far cry from how it used to be back in the mining days. Prospectors flocked by the dozens to Skagway because they believed that it was the best way to reach the rumored goldfields in the area. When gold was indeed discovered in the neighboring Yukon Territory, the number of prospectors increased. Some, however, decided to stay back due to the difficult trek and they were the ones who established the first stores, offices, and saloons of Skagway.

Today, it’s a first-class borough, a popular cruise ship stop, and one of the busiest towns during summer visitor season. There are a variety of tours to choose from if you want to explore Skagway. If you want to encounter the forest and marine wildlife of Skagway, cruise down the Lynn Canal corridor, or even witness for yourself the sights seen by the prospectors during their sojourn, Skagway can accommodate you. Aside from the tours, there are also numerous museums, show gardens, shopping centers, and hiking trails.

Other attractions include “Days of ‘98/Soapy Smith Show,” which reenacts the life of Skagway’s most infamous outlaw Jefferson Randolph “Soapy” Smith, and the Liarsville Gold Rush Trail Camp and Salmon Bake, where you can learn how to pan for gold and actually try it out for yourself in the Liarsville gold fields.

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