Looking for things to do in Skagway and Glacier Bay Alaska? Here’s what to see and do. The beauty of Alaska’s wilderness awaits!
Two rugged, beautiful places stole our hearts this year: Utah and Alaska. Neither were originally on our radar, but we’re now singing the praises of both. Our last post on Juneau showed our time in the Juneau area. We took two day trips from there, one to Glacier Bay National Park and the other to the tiny town of Skagway. Here are the things to do in Skagway and Glacier Bay Alaska!
Glacier Bay National Park | Glacier Bay Alaska
Glacier Bay Alaska was a one-of-a-kind adventure! We took a boat ride through Glacier Bay National Park, which has glacier and wildlife sightings at every turn. It almost feels unreal, like a Disney World ride. But this is absolutely real. Puffins, seals, whales (!), and glaciers are all visible from the boat, and it’s narrated by really informative park guides. It’s pretty expensive to take this boat ride through the national park, but if you’ve come all the way to Alaska, it’s absolutely worth the splurge! Here’s the Glacier Bay National Park day tour that we took.
Within minutes, we saw our first whale flukes! Alex nabbed this picture. It was one of the highlights of the day, for sure. We also saw seals, puffins, orcas (killer whales), mountain goats, grizzly bears, and all sorts of birds, all in their natural habitat. It was a bit surreal!
Snack time was salmon chowder! It was perfect after standing out on the chilly upper deck watching out for wildlife.
And then after the wildlife came the actual glaciers! It was amazing to be up close and in person with the frosty blue towering ice mountains. The glacier in this photo is mile-wide Margerie Glacier. As we sat and stared, chunks of the glacier would break off and fall into the water, making a loud cracking sound (called “calving”). This was as up close and personal as we’d get with the glaciers that gave Glacier Bay Alaska its name.
After an incredible day in Glacier Bay Alaska, we were ready for another adventure! This time we were off to the mining town of Skagway Alaska, with my family and my sister’s fiancé’s family, who are Juneau natives. And how better to get there than a chartered private propeller plane! As a special request, the pilot of our tiny plane flew directly over the glaciers and ice fields to get to Skagway. We looked down on amazing IMAX-style views of the snowy mountain peaks and glaciers that few humans have probably ever seen from that perspective. What a special ride. If you ever have the chance to take a plane ride over the mountains from Juneau to Skagway Alaska: take it!
The amazing view filled plane ride took us to Skagway, a quaint little mining mountain town. Skagway is tiny (population around 1000), but it has an influx of tourists in the summer months. It’s a cruise ship stop, so it’s used to accommodating visitors! During the time of the Gold Rush, Skagway was a thriving Alaska city, but now it’s main industry is tourism.
We spent a relaxing few days in Skagway Alaska: our main goals were to go hiking and spend time with our family! We also took a ride on the old train that carried gold-rushers to the Klondike in the 1890’s.
And the last in our things to do in Skagway: ride the historic train! This was the train that the Gold Rushers used back in the 1890’s to get to Skagway to look for gold. The train ride we went on was pretty epic. It’s called the White Pass Summit Excursion on the White Pass & Yukon Route Railway.
Finally after all that hiking and train riding, some food was in order! We didn’t eat at many Skagway restaurants, but we did check out The Skagway Fish Company and loved it! The fish and chips was top notch: this halibut was delicately-breaded perfection.
The way home to Juneau was a bit harried, jumbled about by the turbulence of a rainstorm in a tiny 5-seater plane. Luckily we made it back to solid ground and I still had time to catch my fish! Though during that flight I’d already decided my life had been long and fulfilling and I was ready, if need be!
Skagway and Glacier Bay Alaska are truly gems and we couldn’t have asked for more. Make sure to check out our post on Juneau Alaska as well. Let us know if you have any questions about the area! There is so much more of Alaska to explore.
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About the Authors
Sonja Overhiser is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best healthy cookbooks of 2018. She’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food blog A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Sonja seeks to inspire adventurous eating to make the world a better place one bite at a time.
Alex Overhiser is an acclaimed food photographer and author based in Indianapolis. He’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the recipe website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Alex is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best vegetarian cookbooks by Epicurious.