White Pass and Yukon railroad trips are the most favored shore adventure excursion in Alaska, whisking millions of people along some of Alaska’s most breathtaking routes. Arduous category grades, historic bridges, broad tunnels, and cliff-hugging bends are just some of the highlighted attractions along the White Pass and Yukon train route. The White Pass and Yukon train was the first massive engineering feat within the continent and built over a nearly two-and-half-year period (beginning in 1898 in Skagway) at the commencement of the Klondike Gold Rush. Both a historic landmark and a major, international civil engineering breakthrough, White Pass and Yukon Railroad is designated an International Historic Civil Engineering Landmark, a title it shares with other engineering marvels including the Statue of Liberty and France’s Eiffel Tower.
Alaska’s coastal mountains were dissected by dynamite creating the White Pass and Yukon Railroad, and through extreme, fluctuating weather, train and rail were constructed for commercial use during the mining boom in Alaska and the Yukon. Alaska hotels, ships, pipelines, docks, stage coaches, buses and more were all operated under the official name. During the collapse of the mining industry the early 1980s, the White Pass and Yukon train route ceased operations for commercial use and now strictly operate a tourist vessel through one of Alaska’s most stunning regions.
Today an Alaska train excursion along White Pass is offered through five distinct railroad tours. The White Pass Summer Excursion take visitors up almost 3,000 feet to the summit of White Pass. Twenty miles and thousands of feet later, passengers get a birds-eye view of an unforgettable Alaskan panorama. Or, go low and head to the meadows via the Fraser Meadows Steam Excursion, an Alaska train excursion that traverses the railway with a steam locomotive. Less than ten miles beyond the summit of White Pass, Fraser Meadows is a fantastic destination reached by the White Pass and Yukon train. Steep turns, hair-raising bends, and phenomenal meadow scenery are highlights.
Via the White Pass and Yukon railroad, adventurous visitors can use the specific train route to reach many incredible hiking destinations. The Hiker’s Service is a fun way to get to popular hiking points such as Laughton, Denver Glacier, and Chilkoot Gold Rush hiking trail. Hike through lush, old-growth Alaska forests, absorb interesting history, and capture each moment in your mind’s eye. Passports are a necessity and passes for Chilkoot are required.
Riding the White Pass and Yukon train also means access to Yukon Adventure Package and highlights like the awe-inspiring aurora borealis and the many things to do. This train trip aligns with the Skagway River and passes the Sourdoughs heading into Carcross Yukon, or Caribou Crossing. Hit the culmination at White Pass, and careen down into Canada’s province of British Columbia where beautiful Lake Bennett, and a historic train station await.
The White Pass and Yukon Railroad Summit Excursion is by far the most popular of all trips aboard this revered passage and led by vintage locomotives. The season opens in May and runs through mid-September. The entire journey, from start to finish, is three-four hours in length and 41 miles round trip. The whole tour is narrated by professional guides. There are early morning and mid-day departure times and limited seating so reservations are necessary. Book in advance to receive a fare discount and guarantee a seat for you and your family.