At the northernmost point of Alaska’s Inside Passage sits the town of Skagway, home to around 1,000 people, as well as the starting point for a company called White Pass & Yukon Route Railroad.
Signed up for its White Pass Summit Excursion, we began our three-hour excursion to the summit soon after boarding. The scenery during the 40-mile roundtrip journey is filled with nothing but lush greenery, snowcapped mountains and the occasional gushing creek. An onboard guide talked through an intercom system about the history of the railroad and various points of interest, such as Bridal Veil Falls and Dead Horse Gulch.
The wide windows on both sides of the train car made taking in the sights easy. For more adventurous riders, open-air lookouts offer the unique opportunity to take in surroundings while breathing in the fresh Alaskan air — a feature that I took full advantage of for most of the trip.
A Canadian flag perched on one of the mountains we rode through signaled that we had crossed country borders. Shortly after, we reached our pinnacle point at an elevation of 2,865 feet.
When the train stopped, the guide announced that we would now be descending back to the port. It dawned on me that we would not be turning around in a U-turn-like manner; instead, the end of the train would become the head of the train. The guide instructed us to flip our seats over so we would be facing the right away as we headed down.
Many passengers took this opportunity to sneak in a nap, as it was the same route going down as it was coming up. As for me, I took the time to spot things I didn’t catch the first time around.