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Skagway, Alaska

A colourful gold rush history, beautiful setting, and a lot of cruise ships makes Skagway one of the most interesting and popular towns to visit in the Inside Passage.

Beginning in 1897, Skagway and the nearby valley of Dyea were the starting place for more than 40,000 gold-rush stampeders who headed to the Yukon primarily by way of the Chilkoot Trail during the Klondike Gold Rush. Today, visitors are transported back in time to the gold rush days along the seven-block corridor on Broadway that features historic false-front shops and restaurants, wooden sidewalks, locals in period costumes, and restored buildings, many of which are part of the Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park.

Though the town has a rich gold rush history, today Skagway survives almost entirely on tourism, as bus tours and more than 400 cruise ships a year turn this small town into a boomtown again every summer. Up to five ships a day stop here and, on the busiest days, more than 8,000 visitors — 10 times the town's resident population — march off the ships and turn Broadway Avenue into a modern-day version of the Klondike Gold Rush.

Five times a day during the summer, National Park Rangers lead a free, 45-minute walking tour of the historic district on Broadway Avenue, part of Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park, stopping at historic buildings like the Mascot Saloon, one of the town’s earliest brothels.

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