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Skagway, Alaska has an unique climate. It is sandwiched between the wet, temperate rainforest and the dry Yukon Interior. Tucked away at the northern end of the Lynn Canal Skagway is considerably drier than its Southeast Alaska neighbors with only 26.1 inches of precipitation. In comparison, most communities in the region get 50+ inches of precipitation annually. Summer high temperatures in Skagway, AK are in the 50s and 60s. Winter temperatures are in the 20s and 30s.
While others areas in the southeast are known for their damp climate Skagway is famous for its winds. In fact, the word Skagway derives from the Tlingit word which means, "Where the water bunches up." This is referring to the white caps that are frequently seen in the Northern Lynn Canal. The same transportation corridors that the stampeders traveled along also carry strong winds through the valleys of Skagway and Dyea. The low lying passes, such as the Chilkoot trail and the White Pass, which became historic routes to the Klondike gold fields, are unique breaks in the coastal mountain range. While these gaps allowed for the people to move between the coast and the interior, they are also the only path for the howling winds to move over the mountains. Windy days with sustained winds of 15-20 mph are common, and gusts of 40 mph are not infrequent.
It is important to note that Klondike Gold Rush NHP has 3 unit. Each units include diverse areas with varying elevation and climates. For example the weather at Sheep Camp on the Chilkoot trail is often dramatically different from the weather experienced at sea level in Dyea or Skagway. Please be aware of this during trip planning.
Did You Know?
No gold was ever found in the Skagway River valley. The actual gold fields were approximately 550 miles north, near the junction of the Klondike and Yukon Rivers in Dawson City. Skagway became known as the gateway to the Klondike gold fields, a bustling supply town.