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White Pass RR: to take or not to take, that is the ?

san diego
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White Pass RR: to take or not to take, that is the ?

Going to be in Skagway late AUgust. Have been reading all the advice about the RR, but friends who visited said they "hated" the RR and to skip it. THey said to rent a car and drive up mountain instead.

ANy thoughts about this? Especially locals' advice.

thanks!

Yukon, Canada
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1. Re: White Pass RR: to take or not to take, that is the ?

Your friends who hated it are in a very tiny minority. It's been the best selling excursion in Alaska for most of the last century with good reason - the combination of scenery, history and engineering is unbeatable. I've been on it more than a dozen times, and will be on it again in a few weeks (I live 100 feet from the tracks at Mile 67.2).

Murray

Southern New...
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2. Re: White Pass RR: to take or not to take, that is the ?

i took it in early June. The WPRR is a must do when in Skagway. I added it with another side trip that Norwegian offered called the Ultimate Yukon and White Pass RR. Here's a review with photos from that trip.

tripadvisor.com/ShowUserReviews-g60877-d1043…

Florida, Daytona
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3. Re: White Pass RR: to take or not to take, that is the ?

Why not do an excursion with taking the train up there and a bus back. that way you can see the sights of the train up there and then have a personalized tour on the way back with stops for pictures. this is what we were going to do but their was an avalanche on the train track so it was cancelled. so we stayed in town and it was kind of boring.

san diego
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4. Re: White Pass RR: to take or not to take, that is the ?

thanks for the advice! Sounds like RR is preferred to renting a car and driving along the route to Yukon area. Friends said they felt "trapped" on RR and would have preferred to be able to hike around if had rented a car. If anyone did prefer the car mode, please let us know.

This site is terrific to get trip advice!! thanks again to all who help!!

Orlando, Florida
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5. Re: White Pass RR: to take or not to take, that is the ?

After viewing the photos posted by dif in nh, I've made up my mind to do the RR...at least halfway.

naperville il
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6. Re: White Pass RR: to take or not to take, that is the ?

I just returned from skagway last week. WE did the princess cruise. Half of my family (6) did the train and the other half rented a car and drove to emerald lake. They liked the train-we liked the car.

I thought the train looked uncomfortable and would have only liked to be on it an hour. also renting a car is much cheaper and I really don't feel I missed a thing sight seeing wise. The scenery was beautiful after the train stopped. The chilhoot buses looked comfortable (smaller) I would not get on one of those big cruise buses. Too boring and alot of old people! The new suspension bridge part way up is a bust. 18.00 and they won't let you look at it. Just get to a platform on the orther side. We had a great time. hope this is helpful because i really struggled with the same thing.

san diego
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7. Re: White Pass RR: to take or not to take, that is the ?

thanks jgourley! (also, you others!)

We are on Princess end of August...

we'll take the car: we are active and like reading about 1/2 of your party did each! Yeah, the suspension bridge sounded too touristy

Prescott, Arizona
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8. Re: White Pass RR: to take or not to take, that is the ?

I'm confused. If you're active, why rent a car!!! I lived in Skagway for years and used my car roughly once a month to go to Whitehorse to shop.

There's plenty to do other than drive up the pass. A couple things to know about the pass - On a busy day it can be pretty congested with tour busses, vans, cars, bikes....lot's of traffic. Plus, it isn't as if you can just pull over and hike. You can at the top of the pass, but not really in the valley proper. Maybe I'm a nut case, but I never understood people filing off a crowded ship in the middle of the wilderness to drive up the one and only heavily trafficed highway! Save that for your trip to LA.

If you're active minded and want to get into the sticks there's ample opportunity. The free adventure is a hike up to Lower Lake (easy) or Upper Lake (not remotely easy but fun) and the trail head is 100 yards from the docks. Or sign up with one of the more adventuresome tours that will give you access to gear and terrain off the beaten path. Sometimes that's the real perk to booking a tour on board. They have the gear. They have the transportation. They know where to go to get you away from the other lemmings. Chilkat Guides has a Glacier Point trip that is totally awesome. Rent a mountain bike and ride over to Dyea. That road gets some traffic but nothing serious. Or take a helicopter ride. As a resident of Skagway, I still think that particular adventure is a pricey tour and worth every penny. Small group size, and views no train, bus, bike or raft could ever provide.

As a former local and manager of one of the town's more popular tour companies those would be my suggestions. The train is neat in a relaxing, no brainer, no risk sort of way. I'd rather ride the train than rent a car and drive up the pass. I mean, the train alone is a major engineering marvel.

Anyway, that's my opinion for what it's worth. I will tell you the locals and the tourists seldom see eye to eye on how to enjoy the splendors of Skagway. Odd.

Southern New...
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9. Re: White Pass RR: to take or not to take, that is the ?

QUITO...

Your suggestions are super and I wish I had done some of them however not evryone can take part in activities like hikes. I have a family member that finds that even what I consider to be easy daily chres can be difficult. We needed to do a more simple "adventures" and many tours are geared towards folks like us. Not all our fellow passengers were "older folks". They were honeymooners, families with kids and seniors much older than us, and the good news is that the cruise ships had side trips for all skills and physical levels. Sorry to chew on you as I'm sure you meant well!

Skagway, Alaska
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for Skagway
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10. Re: White Pass RR: to take or not to take, that is the ?

If you look at the motto on the masthead of this forum, you will see the trademarked motto. "Get the truth then go." This is what caught my attention first and I have always tried to work in as much whole truth as possible. The enhancment can come with some of our un-canned commentary after you arrive!?! I am happy to see all of thwe people on this particular thread giving as much truth as they can, as well as personal thoughts on this place. I feel that the potential visitor will benefit most from this type of advice, and I still am learning from the reflections of past visitors. Keep it coming and I think that this will remain the most informative site for information about what is really available beyond the dock!?! DD

PS. We really live here and we wouldn't live anywhere else!