Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park
More than a dozen historic downtown buildings are owned and managed by the National Park Service as Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park in commemoration of the 1898 stampede of miners to Canada’s Yukon. Most of the restored structures are leased to private businesses. (The park is actually split into two pieces, with one visitors center in Skagway, and a second in Seattle, where nearly all the miners began their journey.)
The old White Pass & Yukon administration building houses the Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park Visitors Center (907/983-2921, www.nps.gov/klgo, daily 8 a.m.–6 p.m. early May–late Sept., closed late Sept.–early May). Don’t miss Days of Adventure, Dreams of Gold, a 30-minute film shown hourly. Ranger talks typically take place at 10 a.m. and 3 p.m., and 45-minute walking tours of old Skagway are offered five times a day—sign up early in the day to be sure of a space.
Additional programs and daily tours to Dyea are also offered; see the event schedule for details. There’s no charge for any of these talks. Personnel behind the desk have the latest weather and transportation information, and they can probably answer that burning question you’ve been carrying around all day.
Across Broadway and next to the tracks, the historic Martin Itjen House contains the Chilkoot Trail Center, where rangers can provide details on hiking in the footsteps of the miners. The 32-mile Chilkoot Trail starts from the old Dyea town site, nine miles from Skagway, and climbs over Chilkoot Pass (3,535 feet) before dropping down to Bennett, British Columbia.
Just up 2nd Street is Soapy Smith’s Parlor (www.soapysmith.net), the saloon from which the infamous blackguard supervised his various nefarious offenses. The building is now owned by the National Park Service but is not yet open to the public.
The original Captain William Moore cabin (5th Ave. and Spring St., daily 10 a.m.–5 p.m. summer, free), which was moved under pressure from the early stampeders to its present location, has been completely refurbished by the Park Service. Its interior walls are papered with newspapers from the 1880s.
Be sure to step inside another Park Service building, the old Mascot Saloon (3rd Ave. and Broadway, open daily summer, free) with exhibits depicting the saloon and life in the Days of ’98.
© Don Pitcher from Moon Alaska, 10th Edition