There were two trails from Skagway to the gold fields. The longer, less steep trail went up to White Pass. The White Pass & Yukon Railroad was built up to the pass and beyond. It is a narrow gauge train with rails 36 inches apart. The first rails were laid in 1898 and in less than a year the train reached the summit of White pass, a distance of 41 miles. We were able to ride this train to the top of the pass at the Canadian border.
For more of the history of the railway, see the official web site.
We boarded the train in Skagway. Each car is a restored original.
Although the cars are original, the engine has been updated to a diesel-electric engine.
As we pass out of town, we went by the oldest cemetery in Skagway, the Gold Rush Cemetery.
This retired rail caboose is currently used as a cabin for hikers in the area.
We crossed over the Skagway River with fog in the distance.
We had several views of waterfalls along the way.
The fog started closing in as we neared the summit.
You can hardly see the front of the train as we pass through a curve.
Here is a clearer view.
The mountains are almost completely hidden.
There are a couple trestle bridges along the way.
Near the peak we came to the combination post of the US Customs and Boarder Patrol along with the Northwest Mounted Police.
We turned around and headed back to Skagway.
This cross marks the grave of two men, Maurice Dunn and A. Jeneaux, who were killed while building the railway when a large slab of rock fell on them, killing them instantly. Rather than move the rock to recover their bodies, a simple cross was placed to mark their tomb. The cross is dated Aug 10, 1898.
We are still several miles from Skagway, but were able to see our cruise ship (the one on the left) in the harbor.
Although the fog obscured our view at the top of the pass, it was a spectacular trip.