Shorter Day Hikes
Skagway is a good starting point for several interesting day hikes. Stop by the Visitor Center to pick up maps and further information. The only National Park Service hiking trail in Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park is the Chilkoot trail. Our listed hikes below are on Forest Service or other public lands, but are neither maintained nor patrolled by NPS personnel. Descriptions of trails courtesy of City of Skagway and are duplicated from the Skagway Trail Map. Distance and time are round trip (return) estimates from the NPS Visitor Center at 2nd and Broadway except where indicated.
Click here for a printable brochure on short day hikes!
Gold Rush Cemetery and Lower Reid Falls
Follow Main St. or Alaska St. north to 23rd Ave. and the railroad yards. Cross over 23rd Ave. and follow the gravel road around and behind the railroad yards. Continue to follow the road and across the railroad tracks. The cemetery is located in the woods just past the parking area. A short forest trail behind the cemetery leads to spectacular Lower Reid Falls. Beware of vehicles and trains when walking to the cemetery! There is a privy located in the parking area.
Climb to Lower Dewey Lake turning right at the junctions sign and follow the trail to the south end of the lake. Here follow the trail to the right (south) through a mixed stand of spruce, hemlock, and lodgepole pine. Just before reaching the stream, the trail splits. Follow the arrow sign to the right for great views and a rocky, but safer descent than the old trail that continues beyond the arrow sign. As you near the water, follow the trail to the right leading toward a picnic table and privy. From here, the trail continues south to the rocky beach. Remains of the sawmill can be seen across the creek.
Lower Dewey Lake
Go east on 2nd Ave. past the railroad depot. Where the railroad tracks cross the road turn left and follow the tracks 120 meters north to the trailhead (beware of trains when crossing the tracks!) A short distance up the hill the trail branches off to the right (continuing straight up the hill is a steep power company maintenance road). Descend the wooden staircase, duck under the water pipe, and continue up the hill. The trail jogs left and crosses a short footbridge. Here the trail continues on a steep main uphill for about 100 meters. There is a clearing and rock bench at the top of this incline with a view of town and the harbor. Continue up the steep switchback trail staying generally to the right at intersections. Notice where the trail appears to be going straight ahead but actually turns sharply right. Going straight here leads to a reservoir and trail to the north end of the lake. It is advised to take the sharp right to access the lake. Shortly ahead at the junction sign the terrain levels out. Turn right to walk along the west shore of the lake. Follow the rolling trail to the south end of the lake. Turn left here across the earthen levy and spillway to hike the rougher trail around the east side of the lake, where you will have to scramble over a few rocks before bearing left to rejoin the main trail and return to the trailhead.
Icy Lake and Upper Reid Falls
At Lower Dewey Lake, turn left at the junction sign and follow the trail north. Cross several wooden footbridges, continuing north through spruce and hemlock forest, past the intersection with the trail to Upper Dewey Lake. Expect muddy places along the shore of Icy Lake, because the north end of the lake is filling with glacial silt. For the last 1/4 mile the trail parallels a pipe diverting water into Icy Lake from Reid Falls. At the falls, use extreme caution around the power company equipment shack and service catwalk. There is no safe way to descend from this point to Lower Reid Falls.
Walk west along 1st Ave., turn left at Main St. and travel south two blocks. Follow the sidewalk west past the airport terminal. Cross the Skagway River on the footbridge and turn left, following the trail through alders and past the exercise stations. Past exercise station #4 the footpath narrows and ascends rock steps. Continue along past the privy and down more rock steps, past the picnic shelter where rock outcroppings provide a view looking down the Lynn Canal toward the Chilkat Mountains. There is a covered picnic shelter and privy at this site.
Did You Know?
The White Pass Trail of Klondike Gold Rush NHP earned infamy as the "Dead Horse Trail." Over 3,000 horses died there as inexperienced gold seekers struggled to reach the Klondike. "The horses died like mosquitoes in the first frost, and from Skagway to Bennett they rotted in heaps." -Jack London