Welcome to Skagway, and to this adventurous program. Get acquainted with your fellow hikers at orientation and learn about the upcoming week.
Dinner: At a local restaurant.Evening: Presentation: Gold Rush HistoryLodging: Westmark Inn SkagwayMeals Included: Dinner
Step back a century in time at the Skagway Museum to get an inside view of the famous, rowdy days of the Gold Rush. Skagways most treasured artifacts, memorabilia, photographs and historical records are held here. It is renowned for its fine Alaska Native heritage collections as well as it Gold Rush collection of artifacts and tools used by the gold seekers.
The quaint streets of Skagway are perfect for strolling; wooden boardwalks, saloons with batwing doors and false-fronted buildings provide plenty of ‘colour’ for your snapshots. Some free time this afternoon to explore on your own.
Dinner: At the hotel.Evening: Perfect night and perfect strolling town! You’ll feel like you went back in time to the Old West and tonight you’ll have a little time to wander, explore, or rest and relax before our great adventure begins on the trail tomorrow.Lodging: Westmark Inn SkagwayMeals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Today we’ll hike to Finnegan’s Point (approx. 3 hours hiking time). The first part of the trail climbs steadily along the Taiya River. Spruce trees tower above the trail and house eagle nests and the occasional black bear. Spawning salmon can be seen in the river in late summer. Yet, signs of the Klondike Gold Rush are also evident; from remnants of the old telephone line, built in 1898 to connect Skagway with Bennett and Log Cabin and the 1950’s era logging road that forms the trail near our campsite.
Lunch: On the trail.Afternoon: Hike on to Finnegan’s Point, named for a fellow who built a bridge and for a short time collected a toll from passersby. The thousands of miners soon over-ran the bridge and his efforts to hold them back were futile. You’ll end your day in view of the beautiful Irene Glacier across the river.Dinner: At our campsite – whip up a great hardy, full-of-flavor meal with your fellow hikers.Evening: Stories as we gather together for a refreshing evening.Lodging: U.S. Chilkoot TrailMeals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
A little further ahead, we’ll reach Canyon City. Once a thriving town servicing the thousands of miners on their way to Dawson, all that remains today are the foundations of a few buildings, a stove and some pots and pans, and the old boiler that powered the tramway. In 1898 you could save a lot of time and effort by using the tramway to get your goods over the pass for 7.5 cents/pound…or $5 in today’s money!
Lunch: On the trail.Afternoon: Continuing on, we’ll encounter “Bent Tree”; miners would often mark a trail by tying a loop in a young sapling that would usually die as a result. This one has defied the odds by continuing to grow all these long years. We’ll soon arrive at Pleasant Camp where we’ll rest for the night.Dinner: Our own tasty creation at our overnight camping site.Evening: Our group leader leads informal discussion about wildlife, First Nations (native) history and culture, or other topics that have arisen on our travels today.Lodging: U.S. Chilkoot TrailMeals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
You’ll see many Gold Rush era artifacts littering the trail as it begins to climb towards the Scales. After weeks of hauling a ton of goods up from Skagway, 110 lbs (50 kilos) at a time, the miners of the Klondike Gold Rush began to toss aside the non-essentials. Surprisingly the Treeline Sign is surrounded by trees, demonstrating the weather was colder in 1898 than today. But not much further along, the last tree appears, and then disappears, and soon there is nothing but rock in all directions.
This is where the avalanche that claimed the lives of many gold miners in the spring of 1898 occurred, and the victims are buried nearby.
Lunch: On the trail.Afternoon: A little further and we arrive at the Scales, where the Canadian Mounties weighed the goods of each person entering the Yukon to ensure they had their mandatory 1 ton of provisions before being allowed to continue. This precipitous climb goes almost vertical as you travel up the Golden Stairs. This is where the famous photos of the long lines of men and women bent over from their toil, were taken in 1898. It’s a tough climb, scrambling over and around large boulders, but we’ll soon reach the top and cross the border between Alaska and Canada, at over 3700 feet (1100 meters) above sea level!
From here we’ll descend over snowfields, passing small lakes, creeks and rock outcrops to reach “Happy Camp,” the only campground on the Trail in the alpine, in the late afternoon.
Dinner: At our campsite - a welcome repast!Evening: Our group leader leads informal discussion about wildlife, First Nations (native) history and culture, or other topics that have arisen on our travels today.Lodging: Canadian Chilkoot TrailMeals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Some of the most stunning vistas in British Columbia are found here, overlooking Lake Bennett. As we approach Bennett Lake, we catch glimpses of the old Gold Rush era church and rail station, all that remains of the community that once was home to over 15,000 people.
Lunch: Hot lunch at the WP&YR Bennett Station.Afternoon: After some time exploring the old townsite, we’ll board the historic White Pass & Yukon Route Railroad from Fraser to Skagway. Now a UNESCO International Civil Engineering Landmark, the White Pass Railroad was built in 1899 to assist in the transport of goods and people to the gold fields at Dawson City.
The narrow gauge railroad takes a circuitous route from 3200ft to sea level in just 20 miles. The mood on board the train is bound to be pensive as you reflect on your journey as the train passes by the azure waters and green-sided, snow-capped mountains.
On arrival in Skagway, we’ll take you to your hotel, where you’ll enjoy a welcome hot shower!
Dinner: Our Chilkoot Trail Celebration dinner at a local restaurant (cooked by someone else for a change!) with your new friends!
Evening: Time to share highlights of our adventures and to say farewell to our “comrades of the Trail!”
Lodging: Westmark Inn SkagwayMeals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner