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Skagway Rental Car or Train

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We will be in Skagway on 6/17/2020 and are wanting to do the Whitehorse Pass by train or car.  The train leave close to the cruise ship and is about three hours roundrip.  There are two well known rental car places in Skagway and maybe a few lesser known ones.  We currently have an Avis midsize car reserved for $176 with fees. There is a Jeep company that is about $376 and theirs comes with lunch and an audio guide.

 

Has anyone on here rented a car before in Skagway?  If so, do you have any recommendations. We plan on doing excursions on our other stops so this one would be mainly to enjoy the scenery.

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We rented from Avis and went online to download “Murray’s Guide to the South Klondike Highway“ by Murray Lundberg.  He will have his 2020 edition available November 15th.  There is a small charge and it is definitely worth it if you are driving yourself.  It even indicated where we were likely to see a bear and sure enough in that same spot we saw a bear eating dandelions by the side of the road!  Murray lives in the area, has driven tours, and is well versed in the history of the Klondike.  

 

If you want to do the train tour do it one way and bus the other.  You will get to see different scenery that way.  I’d probably do bus up and train back since I love the view as the train returns to Skagway.

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I've done the train ride and car ride to Emerald Lake. For me, I prefer the car ride with Murray's Guide since I can be on my own schedule. There are multiple places to get out and walk around. The scenery is stunning. On the way back you can stop at the Skagway overlook on the Dyea Road, and also stop at the cemetery at the end of town and walk to the water falls. It's a wonderful day. The train ride is fine, especially if you like vintage cars, it's just that you don't get to stop anywhere!

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I appreciate the replys.  I reserved a car just in case but may take the train/bus tour offered by Chilkoot Charters.

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We were in Skagway in May 2018 and all the train rides were cancelled that day due to a problem on the tracks. We had planned to rent bikes anyway. We rented a car from Avis in 2009 and shared it with a couple we met onboard and had a nice drive to the Yukon. May try the train next summer.

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15 hours ago, hawk1972 said:

We were in Skagway in May 2018 and all the train rides were cancelled that day due to a problem on the tracks. We had planned to rent bikes anyway. We rented a car from Avis in 2009 and shared it with a couple we met onboard and had a nice drive to the Yukon. May try the train next summer.

Thanks for the information, I think we will keep the car rental for the time being. 

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I actually had the privelege of interviewing Murray Lundberg and here is the interview, he talked about both the train and drive.  

 

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1 hour ago, misguy said:

I actually had the privelege of interviewing Murray Lundberg and here is the interview, he talked about both the train and drive.  

 

This is a great video, thank you for the information.  It sounds like the train is the way to go but I'm still thinking about rental car.

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I have rented the car on both of our trips, because I think it is a greater value.  We loved the drive in to Emerald Lake.  We stopped at Carcross Desert, and did a sled dog adventure as well.

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We rented a car from Avis last year, and are renting from Green Jeep tours next year. I think for some, the train might be great, but I certainly am not getting stuck on a train full of people for 3 hours. The car ride was fantastic.

 

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3 hours ago, Mountaineer0313 said:

We rented a car from Avis last year, and are renting from Green Jeep tours next year. I think for some, the train might be great, but I certainly am not getting stuck on a train full of people for 3 hours. The car ride was fantastic.

 

How is the road? Is it wide or narrow?  Is it difficult to drive?  Avis is $175 with fees and Green Jeep is $375.  The jeep does come with an audio guide and lunch. I'm not sure if we will do any off roading though to justify the extra expense with the Jeep except that it is cool!

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It's a well maintained two lane road. I do not find the driving to be difficult, at all. One of the reasons I always rent from Avis is I can cancel the day of if I change my mind. If I remember correctly, Green Jeep has a cancellation fee.

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9 minutes ago, bvocruise said:

How is the road? Is it wide or narrow?  Is it difficult to drive?  Avis is $175 with fees and Green Jeep is $375.  The jeep does come with an audio guide and lunch. I'm not sure if we will do any off roading though to justify the extra expense with the Jeep except that it is cool!

 

The road is a very normal, 2 lane, paved road that you'd find in any town. We saw several side roads we wanted to take, hence why we're getting the Jeep this time lol.

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We were there in May. Originally rented the jeep. After viewing a number of the trip reports on cc, we changed to a van trip up to Emerald Lake, then back to Fraser where we picked up the WPYR to Skagway. The decision was based on wanting to see rather than drive. The van with Dyea Dave was extraordinary with many great stops for scenery shots and explanations along the way.

 

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11 hours ago, masterdrago said:

We were there in May. Originally rented the jeep. After viewing a number of the trip reports on cc, we changed to a van trip up to Emerald Lake, then back to Fraser where we picked up the WPYR to Skagway. The decision was based on wanting to see rather than drive. The van with Dyea Dave was extraordinary with many great stops for scenery shots and explanations along the way.

 

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I just found out about Dyea Dave and the reviews are amazing.  The idea of taking the tour and the train back sounds fun.  My plan is to have something booked by April for the June trip.  I don't think the train or rental cars will all sold by then.

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We did the Dyea Dave van trip up and train back from Fraser on July.  The van trip up is nice and makes lots of stops for pictures. They stop at a sled dog training place and you can play with the puppies and dogs. We actually loved that.   The  train ride back is really excellent and is well worth the time and money. The views are extraordinary.  Dyea Dave picks you up from and drops you back at the ship. Couldn’t be easier. 

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To get a sense for the train ride I made a short video. The first 2 minutes has a lot of the beginning, but hang in there for a bit of the scenery. A video can never equal seeing this gorgeous Alaska with your own 2 eyes. It was simply majestic to view real time. It was about a 40 minute ride. Rose, with Dyea Dave, took us by the depot in Skagway to pick up our tickets. Then when she dropped us off at the Fraser depot, she made sure we were safely onboard the rear car which was only half full. Awesome service. Discovering the dog training camp was fun.

https://vimeo.com/345258416

 

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Edited by masterdrago

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We did the Bennett Scenic Journey with Chilkoot Charters this past June.  We chose van up, train back.  It was an amazing day, one of the best of the two week trip!  Riding down through those mountains standing out on the platform between the rail cars with the sound of the train, the wind blowing, the smell of fresh air and  the spectacular scenery is an experience I will never forget!  I would do it again in a heartbeat!!

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We did the all-day White Pass excursion from Skagway up  to Carcross and absolutely LOVED it!  We were able to spend some time enjoying the beauty and peace at Lake Bennett, which is only accessible by train, and saw a lot of other areas that you could only see from the train.  It was motorcoach on the way back, which obviously took a different route, so it was double the scenery!

 

 

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I have rented a car and did a tour to Emerald lake with Chilkot Charter.

 

Since I was the only driver,  I prefer the tour.  I like trains and Chilkot was a small bus with multiple stops. The stops were enough and long enough.  I wouldn't want to be driving in the rain either.

 

It really depends on your party though- the cost for the entire party and amount of flexibility needed.

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The White Pass Summit Scenic Railway & Free Time in Skagway Tour offered by HAL is $279pp

Does anyone know which tour this is?  The HAL tour says it's 6.5 hours (from Haines so it includes transfers).  The Summit trip if booked independently is $139 and 3 hours.  The Bennett Scenic Journey description says it's the one you can book with the cruise line but it says 8 hours.

Thank you. 

 

I'm considering doing a tour one way and the train the other.

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On 11/6/2019 at 1:31 PM, Mountaineer0313 said:

 

The road is a very normal, 2 lane, paved road that you'd find in any town. We saw several side roads we wanted to take, hence why we're getting the Jeep this time lol.

Are the side roads not paved?  Is that what you need the Jeep for?

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On 11/20/2019 at 5:31 PM, bvocruise said:

Are the side roads not paved?  Is that what you need the Jeep for?

 

We definitely saw some side roads that were gravel.

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We rented a car in Skagway and drove up the Yukon trail all the way to Emerald Lake. It was, for me, a highlight of the trip. Absolutely stunning scenery and Emerald Lake has to be one of the prettiest places I've ever been. It was easy to rent the car, drive all the way and make it back in time. It is a bit of a hike from the dock to the rental car, but not too bad. 

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We had considered HAL's train excursion but thought it expensive for what it was (not least as going in one direction, you'd be facing the mountain side, rather than looking at scenery. Further research turned up a couple of bus tours up the summit, which stop several times for photos. Booked with Klondike Tours.

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