Cruise to Skagway

Disembark in Skagway and walk straight into history. Downtown hasn't changed much since it first sprang up as a jump-off point for the great 1898 Klondike gold rush. Then, thousands trudged Broadway in search of gear for the trip north; today, visitors stroll the false-front buildings that now house art galleries and duty-free shops for treasure of a different kind.

Crammed into a tiny box valley, Skagway looks as though it was designed by a postcard company — glaciers shine on the eastern mountain slopes, while the deep waters of the Lynn Canal reflect the scene. On summer days, the refurbished White Pass & Yukon Route Railway runs excursions along trails worn smooth by the boots of would-be prospectors. You can still hike the Chilkoot Trail today, or look down on it from a helicopter tour. In Skagway itself, stop at the Red Onion Saloon or Captain Moore's House to see what life was like during the rush. Try panning yourself. You might pay for next year's return cruise.