Chilkoot Trail Hike & Float Tour

This tour follows the footsteps of the 1898 gold rush stampeeders. On this excursion, we hike the beginning of the historic Chilkoot Trail and experience Alaska’s majesty with a gentle float down the Taiya River.

Tour Photos

  • Rafting towards the mouth of the Taiya River Rafting towards the mouth of the Taiya River
  • Hike the 1st two miles of the historic Chilkoot Trail Hike the 1st two miles of the historic Chilkoot Trail
  • Leaving the dock, we'll drive about 20 minutes to scenic Dyea Leaving the dock, we'll drive about 20 minutes to scenic Dyea
  • Expert naturalist guides enjoy sharing their love of Alaska Expert naturalist guides enjoy sharing their love of Alaska
  • Floating down the gentle Taiya River Floating down the gentle Taiya River
  • Guides row the oars... sit back, take photos & enjoy the scenery Guides row the oars... sit back, take photos & enjoy the scenery
  • At the take out, enjoy hot drinks & a cookie At the take out, enjoy hot drinks & a cookie

Tour Notes

Port: Skagway
Duration: 4.25 Hours
Activity Level: Strenuous [Several miles walking on uneven terrain, 350' of elevation gain over 1/2 mile]
Min. Age: 7 years
Min. Weight: None Max. Weight: 350 lbs.
Food: Water provided on the hike, and cookies, tea and hot chocolate offered after rafting.
Provided Equipment: Trekking poles [for hiking]. Life jackets, ponchos and rubber boots [for rafting].
Recommended clothing: Hiking boots, rain gear, warm layers.
Wheelchair access: No
Medical Restrictions: This is a physical activity and it is the guest’s responsibility to determine if they are physically and mentally able to participate in the activity. Pertinent medical conditions must be disclosed to the guide.
Liability Waiver Required

Tour Description

This Skagway tour begins at the dock. After a safety orientation, board a van and drive through Skagway to the backcountry and the historic town of Dyea. Hike the first two scenic miles of the Chilkoot Trail, the centerpiece of gold rush history in Skagway.

This world famous trail was the main route to the riches of the Klondike during the gold rush. Now a tranquil place of incredible beauty, the trail winds through a lush rainforest alive with birds, animals and wildflowers. Enjoy the exercise, fresh air, beautiful scenery, pristine forests, and history of a bygone era as the trail takes you up and over the 350' tall Saintly Hill. Along the way, your guide weaves an entertaining mix of natural history and Klondike folklore. Photo opportunities abound on this excursion as you retrace the footsteps of the gold-hungry stampeders who forged this route 100 years ago.

Arrive at the banks of the Taiya River, where your 18-foot raft awaits for the scenic float (no whitewater) back to Dyea. The forest gives way to fields of beach greens and wild iris, and the granite walls of the fjords rise steeply to the snow-capped peaks and hanging glaciers. Following the float portion of the tour, you'll enjoy a riverside snack of homemade cookies and a hot beverage and countless picture-perfect moments before returning by van on the 30-minute drive to Skagway.

(~10 minutes) - Your friendly tour guide will meet you near the Skagway Small Boat harbor sign and restrooms. Here they will take the opportunity to get to know you and provide answers to any questions that you might have about your upcoming excursion.
(~35 minutes) - From the small boat harbor we’ll board a van and head toward Dyea and the Chilkoot Trail. Along the way you’ll enjoy a driving town tour of Skagway and the scenic coastal gravel road to Dyea.
(~120 minutes) - Once we arrive in Dyea, your tour guide will get you outfitted with trekking poles and you’ll have the opportunity to use the restroom before we begin tracing the Gold Rush stampeders’ steps along the first two miles of the Historic Chilkoot Trail.
(~10 minutes) - At the end of the hike your guide will get you outfitted with a PFD and rubber boots and provide a safety briefing as we prepare for the scenic float down the Taiya River.
(~35 minutes) - Sit back and enjoy as your experienced river guide rows you down the scenic Taiya River, the relaxing portion of the excursion. The stable 18’ raft provides a great platform for photography and taking in the sweeping mountain, ocean and rainforest views.
(~15 minutes) - Once we reach the riverside raft take-out, you’ll be treated to a homemade cookie and hot cocoa and hot tea and some free time to take in the dramatic landscape with the supplied spotting scope.
(~30 minutes) - From here we’ll load back into the van to enjoy the comfortable ride back to Skagway.
Where will I meet my tour guide?
Your guide will meet you 15 minutes prior to the tour start time to make sure all necessary paperwork is completed. If you are arriving by cruise ship, your guide will meet you at the end of the pier that your ship docks at. Otherwise the meeting location is the Small Boat Harbor sign. CLICK HERE to see a map detailing these locations in Skagway. Your guide will be holding a sign with the name of your tour.
Who are my guides?
Your guides are experts in the industry. They are fun, well-trained and passionate about guiding and sharing their expert knowledge about the history and natural wonder of Haines and Skagway, Alaska with you! Our staff all go through extensive training and hold current first-aid (mostly WFR and WEMT) certification. Many of our guides also lead courses and guided expedition trips for us both in Alaska and throughout the world.
Is there a bathroom during the excursion?
Yes – restrooms are available on the dock prior to departing for your tour and a non-flushing “outhouse” style restroom is at the start of the hike.
Do you cancel the tour due to weather?
Our tours embrace Southeast Alaska’s unpredictable weather. Our tours run rain or shine. If in a rare instance weather does cause us to cancel the tour you will be refunded in full and provided with assistance with finding an alternative activity for the day.
How long is the trail?
The tour hikes along the first 1.6-2 miles of the historic Chilkoot Trail.
What is the trail like on the tour?
We’ll be hiking over uneven, natural terrain. There are exposed roots, rocks and sometimes slippery or muddy sections. The trail gains and descends 350’ over the course of the two mile hike.
What wildlife will I see on the excursion?
Though wildlife can never be guaranteed, Bald Eagles, ravens, squirrels and harbor seals are frequently seen in Skagway. Skagway’s unique landscape somewhat isolate’s it from many of the larger mammals apart from the occasional black bear or coastal brown bear.
Is there any whitewater on the float portion of hte tour?
No – there will be no whitewater or rapids on the float.

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*Price is per adult in USD, taxes not included.

Guest Comments:

I wanted to say how much I enjoyed the Chilkook Trail Hike and Float which I booked through Holland America Line. It was the highlight of my Alaskan adventure. I just couldn't stop talking about it afterwards! Our guide Ken was fantastic. Thank you for this wonderful experience.
- Eugene C.

We were told by our Cruise Ship adviser that this was a terrific excursion, and boy was it ever. You take a great hike, full of history and nature. Our tour guide, Zach, was knowledgeable and helpful, and he really knew his plant life and explained in detail how the forest in Alaska worked. It was one of our favorite trips off the ship. The scenery is spectacular. Everyone who took the hike talked of how they would do it again, which is a good sign in Alaska. It was my first trip to Alaska, and the beauty is mind-blowing.
- Tom F.

Absolutely beautiful hike on the Chilkoot Trail. Our guide Josh was friendly and knowledgeable. The trail was challenging in parts but well maintained and walking sticks were provided to help manage the tricky parts. The scenery was breathtaking. The float down the river was the perfect way to finish off a great excursion.
- Max

Additional Reviews