Things to Do in Skagway & Glacier Bay Alaska

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!

What to Do in Skagway & Glacier Bay Alaska | Glacier Bay National Park

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!

Related: 8 Secrets: How to Take Better Pictures on Vacation

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!

What to Do in Skagway & Glacier Bay Alaska | Glacier Bay National Park
Things to Do in Skagway & Glacier Bay Alaska | Glacier Bay National Park
Things to Do in Skagway & Glacier Bay Alaska | Glacier Bay National Park
Things to Do in Skagway & Glacier Bay Alaska | Glacier Bay National Park

Snack time was salmon chowder! It was perfect after standing out on the chilly upper deck watching out for wildlife.

Things to Do in Skagway & Glacier Bay Alaska | Glacier Bay National Park

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.

Glaciers in Alaska | Glacier Bay Alaska
Glaciers | Glacier Bay Alaska | Glacier Bay National Park
Glacier Bay Alaska | Glacier Bay National Park

Skagway Alaska

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!

Things to Do in Skagway | Skagway Alaska
Things to Do in Skagway | Skagway Alaska
What to Do in Skagway | Skagway Alaska | Glaciers mountains
Flying | Glaciers | Skagway Alaska
Skagway Alaska | Things to Do in Skagway
Mountains in Alaska | Skagway Alaska
Skagway Alaska | Glaciers in Alaska

Skagway Alaska

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.

Things to do in Skagway Alaska
Things to do in Skagway Alaska
Things to do in Skagway Alaska
The hike we went on is called Dewey Lake Trails. It’s easy to access from the main town center. We hiked on moss covered trails, came upon several waterfalls, and a beautiful green lake. It’s a must visit if you’re in Skagway. Here’s how to access Dewey Lake Trails.
Things to do in Skagway Alaska
Things to do in Skagway Alaska
Things to do in Skagway Alaska
Things to do in Skagway Alaska
Things to do in Skagway Alaska

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.

Train ride | Train in Alaska | Skagway Alaska
Things to do in Skagway Alaska | Train ride | Alaska | Gold rush
White Pass Summit Excursion | Skagway Alaska

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.

Things to do in Skagway Alaska | Fish and chips
Things to do in Skagway & Glacier Bay Alaska | Plane

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

Cookbook Author and writer

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

Cookbook Author and photographer

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.

8 Comments

  • Reply
    Summer
    August 5, 2015 at 2:38 am

    It’s so lucky to find and read your blog. I’m from China and check your lovely couple’s blog often. My fiance and I will get married in Oct15. We all love photography and cooking and travel. We have our own apartment now and look forward to have a beautiful life together going farward. Your photos and words are inspired me a lot. Thanks so much to share us your fabulous life and wonderful travelling experience.

  • Reply
    joanna // jojotastic
    August 5, 2015 at 2:16 pm

    i LOVE this!! i’m dating a salmon fisherman and he’s up there for the summer…. i might go up to visit soon and this was all the inspiration i needed!

    • Reply
      Alex
      August 6, 2015 at 8:25 am

      Go! It’s just a quick jaunt for you. Where is he fishing out of? We have some good friends documenting life of some fishers in Sitka right now.

      • Reply
        joanna // jojotastic
        August 6, 2015 at 1:48 pm

        wow – your friend is super close to where he is – he’s just off the coast of in craig! i’m checking out flights ;)

  • Reply
    Katie @ Whole Nourishment
    August 5, 2015 at 2:37 pm

    Alaska has just been bumped to the top of my places-to-visit-list. Amazing pictures you guys! Loved hearing about all the wildlife you got to see. Who needs safaris when you’ve got Alaska?! Okay, they’re two very different experiences, but still. ;-)

    • Reply
      Alex
      August 6, 2015 at 8:20 am

      It’s a good haul away from Swizerland–but you should do it! We were blown away by the wildlife. One morning there were about 10 bald eagles right outside our window while we were drinking our coffee.

  • Reply
    Joanna
    August 6, 2015 at 5:34 am

    I love the calmness in all these pictures…stunning! Plus such a trip is much better than staying on the beach all day! :)

  • Reply
    Cady | Wild Heart of Life
    August 6, 2015 at 4:24 pm

    The beauty of these photos surpasses breathtaking. That train, those mountains, and not to mention that WHALE shot! Ugh. I have always wanted to visit. Wanderlust to the next level. Beautiful.

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