Tens of thousands of people stampeded to the Yukon territory in southeast Alaska during the late 19th century in search of riches. While the gold industry boomed for only a couple of years, more than 13,000 acres of land was commemorated by presidential proclamation in 1998 to preserve the history and spectacular landscapes in what is known today as the Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park.
Today, the park is the most visited one in Alaska, bringing in more than 850,000 guests annually to the area surrounding the historical district in the town of Skagway. There, visitors hike old mining trails, explore the nearby ghost town of Dyea and ride one of the steepest trains in the world from inside a glass-domed railcar. In Dyea, hikers can start their trek along the state’s most popular backpacking route, the 33-mile Chilkoot Trail. Skagway is home to restored saloons and markets dating back to the 1890s. In addition to hiking, other activities in the area include rafting, camping, wildlife tours, fishing and numerous tours explaining the history of the glacier-carved region.
There are no fees to enter the park, which is open year-round, or any of the museums within. Permits and fees, however, are required to hike the Chilkoot Trail and camp at Dyea. To find out more, visit travelalaska.com and nps.gov/klgo/index.htm.