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Murray's Guide to the South Klondike Highway

Narration and photos by Murray Lundberg
Latest update: June 1, 2014

As of May 14, 2014, there is a FREE version of the guide, An Explorer's Guide to the South Klondike Highway. Although much shorter than the paid version, it's still more complete and much more current than the other 2 guides to that highway worth noting, Bell's and the one published by the Skagway News.

The South Klondike Highway     This 34-page, mile-by-mile guide (with 54 photos) will show you the points of interest along the South Klondike Highway and the Dyea Road. The South Klondike Highway runs 98 miles (157.7 km) from Skagway (Alaska) through Fraser (British Columbia) and Carcross (Yukon) to the Alaska Highway at a point 10 miles east of Whitehorse. Officially it is just the Klondike Highway, running 443 miles (713 km) from Skagway to Dawson City, but in practical use the highway sections north and south of Whitehorse are used separately.

    This 2-lane paved highway takes you through an amazing variety of scenery, from granite peaks to desert, with pristine lakes around every corner. It is truly a photographer's dream trip.

    The guide has been written by Murray Lundberg. I was a driver/guide for Alaska-Yukon cruisetours for 17 years and in recent years I've been operating Cruise Explorer Travel, specializing in Alaska, and small ships around the world. I live at the north end of this highway and drive to Skagway year-round, usually 15-20 times each year.

    The vast majority of the people who have used this guide since it was first posted in 2003 have been cruise ship passengers who rent a car in Skagway to make the drive, so the guide runs from Skagway north.

    I recommend that a minimum of 5 hours be allowed for the trip from Skagway to Emerald Lake and back. For cruise ship passengers, I recommend Emerald Lake as the turn-around point so that they have time to see Skagway, and because the scenery north of Emerald Lake is nowhere near as dramatic as what has been seen to that point.

    Your trip will probably be more enjoyable if you avoid the tour bus rush that means heading north as soon as you get your car, and avoiding Caribou Crossing in particular between about 11:30 and 1:30.

    Please read the Notes below before ordering There is a $5.00 charge to download Murray's Guide, which is in Adobe Acrobat (pdf) format for easy printing (you may download a sample of the guide here). It can also be read on Kindle and Sony eReaders and perhaps other e-readers, though others haven't been tested yet. Payment is made with your credit card through Paypal, a totally secure provider.

Note 1: once I receive notification from Paypal that payment has been made, I'll send you an email with download instructions. It could take a few hours to get that email, as my primary work is as a cruise consultant. Although Paypal is supposed to automagically send you to the download page, it doesn't work consistently so I always send instructions by email manually as a backup.

Note 2: If you haven't received the download email in a few hours (see the Note above), please check your Spam folder - 99% of the issues have been because my email ends up there. If it's not there, then please send me an email.

Problems? If the Paypal button doesn't work for you, please pop me a note for alternate instructions (that I can't post here).

    Please note that Murray's Guide to the South Klondike Highway is protected by International copyright laws reproduction beyond the printing of one copy is illegal.

 

    If you have an iPod, there is now an MP3 audio guide to Skagway and the highway (with excellent musical accompaniment, and geocaching information), for $8.99 - download The Bear Essentials Only US residents can download from that Amazon link, but the album is also available from iTunes.

 

Notes:

  • there was an 11 km long (8 miles) construction zone straddling the BC/Yukon border in June 2014. On June 16, the final sweeping was being done, but there will be some minor dust until we get some rain.
  • If you plan to visit the Yukon Suspension Bridge, showing your copy of the Guide gets you $4 off the admission for each member of your group ($3 off for children).
  • as this trip takes you into Canada, appropriate ID is required. While you don't need a passport to get into Canada, you do need one to get back into the States. Click here for the lowest rates at Avis.com
  • there are 3 car rental companies in Skagway, Avis and independent operators Sourdough and Alaska Green Jeep. All the offices are reasonable walks from any of the docks, though shuttle buses are available.
  • there are 2 gas stations in Skagway (at 2nd Avenue and State Street, and 4th Avenue and Main Street). On June 16, 2014, it was $4.780 per gallon at 2nd/State (5% discount off that price for cash), $4.739 per gallon at 4th/Main. It's much higher in Carcross, but you won't need to fuel up there.
  • if you're coming up in May, you may want to know when the ice leaves Emerald Lake
  • there is 1 grocery store in Skagway and a convenience store at the gas station in Carcross.
  • there are many restaurants in Skagway and 4 in the Carcross area. The 3 that I give extremely high marks to (and visit often) are the Skagway Brewing Company and Glacier Smoothies in Skagway, and the Chilkoot Trail Authentic Sourdough Bakery and Caribou Crossing Coffeein downtown Carcross.
  • the speed limits on the highway are 40mph in Alaska (outside Skagway), and 90 kmh (55mph) in British Columbia and the Yukon.
  • a GPS is of little use on this road due to poor satellite reception in many areas and the almost complete absence of geographical information about this area in GPS databases. They will give you lat/long for most of the route and most units will give you your distance from the towns, but not much else.
  • there is only cell phone coverage within a few miles of Skagway and Carcross.

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