Experience | Skagway, Alaska: White Pass + Yukon Route Railroad

Monday, August 27, 2018

"I want to stand as close to the edge as I can without going over. Out on the edge you see all the kinds of things you can't see from the center."- Kurt Vonnegut

White Pass + Yukon Route Railroad | My most favorite excursion of the Alaska trip was hands down the White Pass + Yukon Route Railroad Train. This ride is 41 miles round trip, leaving from Skagway, Alaska, entering into the summit of the White Pass in British Columbia, and then returning back to Skagway. For the majority of the ride, you are elevated nearly 3,000 feet and traveling along the edges of Alaskan mountains. 

The train is a connection of 10-12 smaller cars, each complete with its own (very clean!) bathroom and wood burning heater. We originally chose a car with several small, very loud children. Luckily, the conductor allowed us to move to the first car, even though the ride had begun and we were explicitly told on several occasions that once the train started, moving from car to car was prohibited. Of course, it helped that my dad had introduced himself to the conductor before the ride began and they became very friendly; the conductor was very fond of "Chalie from Philadelphia." We always poke fun of my dad for insisting on getting on a first name basis with literally everyone, no matter where we are, and in this case, it definitely worked to our advantage. After making our way to the very quiet first car, we were able to relax and cozy up in the warmth of the wood-burning heater, which gave off the most lovely woodsy, or as I say, "up the mountains" scent.

Once the trip began, we were quickly traveling among the Alaskan mountainside, complete with large, luscious trees and long, winding rivers below. Riders had the opportunity to stand outside of the cars in a small space with a guard rail to take pictures and be one with the surroundings. Even though it was very scary due to the height at which we were traveling and how unprotected I truly was from tumbling to my death, I am so glad I challenged myself to experience everything this train ride had to offer. I went outside on numerous occasions to take photos and get the views that individuals that stayed within the confines of the train car would not be able to experience. It was truly a YOLO moment.

The trip takes about 3.5 hours roundtrip. However, we were super lucky and traveled an additional 12 miles, which equated to a total of about 4 hours. Apparently, the train engineer picks one ride a day to take the extended trip and we were the fortuitous recipients. During the entire trip, we had a wonderful guide that spoke across the loudspeaker. He was funny, insightful, and very knowledgable about the history of the Yukon Route. We learned so much from him and were happy to say a quick hello as he walked around at the end of the ride to meet the riders.

This train ride really put into perspective the truly illustrious and awe-inspiring Alaska terrain. Among the trees and mountains, all of life's anxieties and worries fade away. How can anything in our tiny, insignificant lives matter when you are with Earth's most beautiful creations? In the current book I am reading, the author talks about how events that inspire awe within us have the ability to dissolve our mental anguish. If only everyone was able to travel to the Alaskan mountainside, maybe anti-depressants and anti-anxiety medications would become superfluous. This experience also reinforced my vision for the future in which Dayv and I live in a little home among the trees and nature where we can live quiet, intentional lives. In this future, I also return to Alaska on several occasions.



  1. LOVED seeing your travel photos! Sounds like a fun time!

  2. How beautiful! I've always wanted to see Alaska. Love the Vonnegut quote, too :)

  3. breathtaking images, makes me so jealous!
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