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Alaska r/r compared to Yukon train

Discussion in 'Alaska & Pacific Northwest Ports' started by mabella, Aug 3, 2003.

  1. mabella

    mabella Guest

    Hello! We aren't sure what excursion to take in Skagway. Seems everyone recommends the White Pass Yukon train, since we are also taking the alaska r/r from Anchorage to Seward will these two train rides be similar as far as scenary? Would I be better of renting a car & driving to Emerald lake and/or Carcross do I have time to do both the train & the car ride? Also, if we do go with the Yukon train, one way, how do I make arrangements to get back into town so that we don't have to do the round trip. There will be 5 seniors in our group all in their 80's + one infant. We are in Skagway from 7:00 am until 7:00 pm. Thanks in advance for your help.!
  2. AnnW

    AnnW Guest

    The two train rides are quite different. The Yukon train essentially goes along the very edge of a mountain -- one side of the train is smack against the side of the mountain, the other side of the train you can see the "drop off" down the cliff, and see where you've been! (see the tracks behind you, and in front of you, and so on.) And the vegetation changes dramatically, from "regular" sized trees at the bottom, where you board the train, to the same aged trees -- but VERY much smaller, at the top! The train is climbing the mountain -- not going on a more horizontal path from point A to B, like the Alaskan trip from Anchorage to Seward.

    I don't know that you can take the Yukon train one way! We were not permitted to get off the train at the top. When the train reached the summit it stopped and some folks got off and took pictures, but then re-boarded and did the return trip.

    We didn't rent a car, so can't offer any thoughts about that..
  3. mabella

    mabella Guest

    Thanks for your reply. I thought I read on one of these boards recommendations to take an alternate route down from the Railroad as it's the same sites coming down as going up & lots of people were bored and/or fell asleep. Maybe I'm confusing it with some other excursion. If anyone recalls something about this would appreciate your imput. Thanks!!
  4. I believe there are two different excursions. One takes you round trip on the White Pass Yukon Train, and the other takes you 3,000 up into the mountains and then you take a motorcoach back down to town. For your information, the train begins and ends at the pier where the ships dock, so this is very convenient. For your information, we really enjoyed the Days of '98 show. It is a theatrical production in town and I believe it is also offered as an excursion. It is not necessary, however, to purchase the excursion when you can simply walk into town yourself and purchase a ticket at a nominal fee. The production is all about Soapy Smith -- the town bully -- back in the gold rush days. As a matter of fact, he is buried in the cemetary you will see as you pull out on the train. The production is very "up close" and "personal" -- a very nice and lively show, and they service kettle popcorn in brown paper bags. Very nice and "intimate". Skagway is not that big, so shopping is what the town has to offer -- with the exception of excursions outside of the immediate area.
  5. Laura E.

    Laura E. Guest

    The White Pass Yukon Train in Skagway is a very popular excursion. My viewpoint is probably in the minority but my family found this excursion very boring. The view was nice but 3 1/2 hours was considerably long and you see the same thing on the way down as you did up. My two children slept most of the way. After reboarding the ship, some of the other passengers said that they took a motorcoach tour up to the Pass and they really enjoyed it. They were able to stop and get out at certain points to look around and take pictures and the entire trip lasted 1 1/2 hours ($34) versus 3 1/2 hours ($95). After the tour we spent the remaining hours in town walking around the shops, which was nice. The town is very small and can easily be walked by any age group. So, as a summary, I feel that the Train was just okay but not worth the price and the tour was too long. If I had to do it again, I would choose the motorcoach. All of the passengers on the motorcoach said that they loved it. As an additional point, when we stopped in Juneau we did a whale watching and wildlife cruise which also included a salmon bake lunch. It was spectacular and we saw so many whales and other wildlife including a bald eagle nest. I would highly recommend that excursion if you are going to Juneau.
  6. mabella

    mabella Guest

    Thanks for your replies, I think we will go ahead & pass on the Yukon train, even though I'm sure the views are spectacular. I'm going to find out a little more about that drive to Emerald lake as I'm leaning towards that. Thanks for all your help!
  7. Evergrn

    Evergrn Guest

    If you really want to see some diverse scenery then the trip to Emerald Lake in the Yukon is a sure bet. The scenery is spectacular - and is different as night and day. You will go from the lushness of the coastal mountains into the very rugged and barren mountainous terrain into some very beautiful and pristine wilderness of British Columbia and tthe Yukon. Renting a car I think is the best way to go because that will give you the flexibility. Otherwise there are some tour operator''s that do take their clients into the Yukon. South East Tours is the one I took that has a horseback riding component. Their guides are very pleasant and informative. They took us past Carcross and past Emerald Lake to the Caribou Mtn Corrals. Their tour operator, Joni MacKinnon was most excellent and took us on the horseback riding. Oh, I got some fabulous photos of Emerald Lake with the Montana mountains in Carcross in the background. You absolutely do not get this view from the pull off at Emerald Lake. The little ranch is beautifully setup as a little western town. The main cabin is rustic with a unique burled porch. At the end of the horseback ride, they provided cold and hot refreshments and a snack. They gave us a whitehorse pin and some magazines about the Yukon and Alaska and their business cards. It was well worth the bucks. Hope that helps..
  8. mabella

    mabella Guest

    Thanks for your reply. I have decided to go ahead with just the car rental and driving to Emerald lake and maybe whitehorse if time permits. The horseback riding sounds wonderful, but at 4 months pregnant & with 5 seniors coming along, I don't think it'll be a very good idea. We like to explore on our own, so maybe we'll come across some wonderful sights like you've described. We leave tomorrow for Anchorage! Can't wait!

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