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Haines vs Skagway

Old Jan 16th, 2005, 04:36 PM
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Haines vs Skagway

We will be taking a ferry boat from Juneau to either Haines or Skagway. Any advice would be appreciated as to which has the most to offer in terms of wildlife and Alaskan scenery. Thanks very much.
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Old Jan 16th, 2005, 06:48 PM
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Skagway has the Whitepass Scenic Railroad (Worth IT!) and a wonderfully rich history. While I did not go to Haines, I got the impression from other travelers that the town was not as prepared for the tourist. While many would say that makes it a more authentic experience, I say, it makes it harder to have any experience. It's not like the locals are going to invite you into their houses and feed you the history!

I wouldn't want to spend days in Skagway, but I loved the Whitepass Railroad and found the stories about its history quite intriguing.

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Old Jan 16th, 2005, 07:48 PM
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Ideally, take the Whitepass Railroad if the day is not overcast. Once you get into the mountains, you won't see much. However, Skagway itself is a national historical landmark. All the buildings are original to the gold rush days. There is a free tour walking through the town that is led by park ranger (sign up for the tour)that is very interesting and worth the time (I think about an hour or so).
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Old Jan 16th, 2005, 07:53 PM
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We did both in 2001.took the ferry to Haines, beautiful scenery, had a guided tour (4 of us and the driver) very interesting...But i would pick skagway if you can only do one. The train ride is great, there is a museum about the goldrush near the depot, a film too. We spentthe night; after the cruise ships leave it is really quiet! There is a show about Soapy Smith, very good.
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Old Jan 16th, 2005, 08:02 PM
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Depends entirely on what you want to do. We were fortunate to be able to do both towns. In Haines we took a raft trip to see eagles in their natural habitat and that's all we had time for. Others in our group reported just a quaint little town with not much going on.

In Skagway, we took the train and though it was overcast on the way up, the sky cleared for the return leg and we were able to enjoy the beautiful scenery. And...that's where we saw the only elk of our trip. If weather is cloudy, sit on right side of train. That will put you on the scenic side on the way down.

There were many other things to do in Skagway...choices...which were not available in Haines.
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Old Jan 17th, 2005, 04:52 AM
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Thank you all very much, lots to think about. When arriving in Skagway can you walk to the scenic railroad station. Also one poster spent the night. Any hotel recommendations would also be appreciated as we will stay at least one evening. Thanks again everyone.
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Old Jan 17th, 2005, 09:57 AM
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Having visited both Haines and Skagway a few years ago, I would not hesitate to choose Skagway. There really isn't much in Haines and if I return to Alaska it most certainly not be on my "to do" list. As others have noted, there is much more in Skagway including the WhitePass Railroad which I highly recommend.

As for lodging, there are a number of choices. We stayed on the outskirts of town at Wind Valley Lodge, a small well-kept motel. I'm not sure if it is in business anymore as most of the links I find on the web do not work. The Westmark Inn Skagway is located right downtown and seemed very popular. There was also the Golden North Hotel. Can't speak to the quality of either of these, although they looked fine from outside.
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Old Jan 17th, 2005, 03:51 PM
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This isn't a wildlife area except for some eagles in Haines. For me both city's are worthwhile with Skagway offering perhaps more. But if going during summer- you will be sharing the town with thousands of cruise ship passengers so if at all possible- plan on getting there on a weekend day. Request their visitor guides and see what is of interest to you? And yes you can walk to everything downtown Skagway.
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