Enjoy Southeast Alaska’s awe-inspiring scenery and get outdoors with Skagway Float Tours! See and learn about Alaska’s natural beauty up close – this is what you traveled to Alaska hoping to experience!
We are an independent, family run tour company, owned and operated by Cris Siegel and Katie Leonetti since 1997 (also owners of Frontier Excursions.) In 2007 we were blessed with our son, Vaughn, who turns 13 this summer. We are committed to running educational, enjoyable and personalized tours. We want to get you into nature to have a memorable experience with your family, just as we enjoy with our family!
Our friendly, awesome guides, small groups and personalized service will make your visit to Skagway memorable. We have many guides that have worked with us for years and they have extensive knowledge of local Gold Rush and Natural History. We enjoy meeting the many visitors to Skagway and sharing with them the beauty of our corner of Alaska. We are so excited to be celebrating our 24rd season in 2020 and hope to share it with you!
We think you will be happy you chose us for your family adventure in Skagway. Thank you and we appreciate your business!
What we'll do
Begin in Skagway as we drive 10 scenic coastal miles to the head of the famous Chilkoot Trail in Dyea, an abandoned Gold Rush town, now part of the Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park.
On the 2-mile moderate hike, retrace the steps of the Gold Rush stampeders through a green moss-covered northern temperate rainforest. You will learn lots of gold rush and natural history and have time for taking photos.
At the end of the one-way hike we meet with the raft and suit up for a relaxing river float on the tranquil Taiya River. As you float down the gentle Taiya River, your guide will point out wildlife (Bald Eagles are common, bears occasionally) and tell stories of the area’s fascinating history while you enjoy the gorgeous river and mountain views.
Enjoy a riverside snack after the float.
This is an ACTIVE tour and the hike is moderately strenuous over uneven, hilly terrain (elevation gain is 300 feet up then 300 feet down) for the first mile, then on mostly flat ground for the remainder. Wear sturdy walking shoes with good traction.
Please note that the hike portion of this trip is moderate to strenuous. Please be in good physical condition. Those with back, knee, hip, or balance issues should consider their participation in this activity.
There is an alternate easier guided walk in place of the Chilkoot trail hike available and you will meet up with the group for the float portion. Please advise us when booking if you may need this service. Due to safety reasons and keeping our tour schedule, our guides will strongly advise you to do this alternate route at the start of the hike if they feel your participation in the Chilkoot Trail hike to be too strenuous for your ability level.
Hiking poles are available for the hiking portion. For the Float portion we have lifejackets, rubber boots to wear instead of your shoes, and long rain ponchos. Tour goes rain or shine so please come prepared to hike in the rain with rainjackets and/or pants if needed.
What to expect / what's provided
*Duration is approximately 4-4.5 hours with 1.5-2 hours hiking (depending on group hiking speed) and 35-45 minutes on the raft (depending on river level).
*Maximum 11 per group.
*Larger groups will be divided into 2 groups with possible additional guests in the smaller second grouping.
- Do you pick up at the cruise ship docks?
Yes! We park close by and our guide walks to the area on the pier where all ship tours meet. This area is just outside the security gate at your ship pier. We meet 10-15 minutes prior to your departure time. Just look for our representative holding a Skagway Float Tours sign to find us! (We also have a town pickup option available at our Golden North hotel building office location at 3rd and Broadway). The ship pier is our default pickup location so if you want to meet at our office we just ask that you check-in there prior to the meeting time to let us know you won’t be at the ship pier location.
- How is your Hike & Float tour different than the one through the cruise ship?
We are an independent company, not contracted with cruise ships. Our Hike & Float has the same tour itinerary as the ship offered tour so the only difference is the provider they use, which means they have different guides and equipment. You can save money by booking directly with us!
- How will the weather be?
Our tours go rain or shine but having said that, Skagway has the least yearly rainfall of any port in Southeast Alaska receiving less than 30 inches of rain per year.
The weather in our area is mostly on the cooler, cloudy side in the summer with temperatures in the 60s. We do sometimes get warm, sunny days and also days of rain as well.
If it is raining the day of your tour, try not to be discouraged. Often the rain will not last the whole day. Occasionally we start off in the sun too and it can change to rain by the end of the tour. This is why we do not cancel for the weather as it can be so variable even on the same day. One thing Skagway is known for is its breezy conditions so it can feel cooler than the air temperature. We suggest dressing in layers with something light under that you can wear if temperatures are warmer, then a layer of a sweater or fleece and we advise a lightweight waterproof raincoat if the weather looks cloudy/rainy.
- Will we get wet on the raft ride?
The river float is mild with no whitewater splashing over the side of the raft.
We have rain ponchos for protection to wear if needed.
You can bring your camera on the raft ride as it is easy to have out for photos and no need to worry about splashing water.
- How hard is the Hike portion of the Chilkoot Trail Hike & Float?
We have a short video clip below so you can see an example of the trail terrain. The trail starts uphill right away and climbs to about 300 feet in elevation. We stop along the way to allow you to catch your breath and keep the group together. Our guide tells stories at these stops. Once you reach the top of the hill, there is an equal portion downhill. Both uphill and downhill have some steep sections like climbing a staircase. The trail is uneven terrain on dirt surfaces with rocks and roots to step around. Once you have made it past the hill on the first mile, the remaining mile is easier flat walking. Some people find it very strenuous but if you are a pretty active person in good health, you should be ok. People with heart or lung problems, bad hips, knees, ankles, balance, or other mobility issues should consider not doing the hike. Ask about an alternate route for the hike (see below) or consider just doing our Scenic River Float.
- What if some in our group may not be able to do the Chilkoot trail hike?
We have an easier option for the hike that we can do with advance notice if you have more elderly, very young, or someone with an issue that may make it difficult to complete the hike. We will have a separate guide to take them on an easier trail in the Dyea townsite area. After the hiking is complete, everyone will meet at the raft for the float portion together.
- Can you accommodate larger groups?
Yes, however our maximum group size on the trail is 11 total with one guide due to National Park Service Regulations. If you have a bigger group than 11 we would divide you into two groups with two guides and the two groups can depart at the same time but as we start the tour you will be separated on the trail and then divide into separate rafts as well (our largest raft holds 11). If the second grouping is small then there may be additional passengers added to your smaller group. If you have people of varying abilities in your group we can also potentially divide up the group that way. (See above question)
In booking a tour you are agreeing to pay for all the seats you reserve, unless you give Skagway Float Tours 24 hours notice of cancellation or changes to your reservation. Failure to give 24 hours notice of cancellation or changes will result in your credit card being charged full price for the tour.
Groups of 6 or more require 7 days notice of full cancellation. (The ONLY exception is if your cruise ship does not make its scheduled stop at Skagway, if the ship is delayed arriving to port, or if Skagway Float Tours must cancel the tour for any reason.)
Please be on time for the tour. Due to scheduling, if you are late we may not be able to wait and we can not give refunds in this case. We operate tours in rainy weather so come prepared with raingear and dress in layers for your comfort.