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The trail is typically hiked from south to north, i.e. from Alaska into British Columbia. Skagway, Alaska is the logical jumping off point for hikers on the Chilkoot.
Skagway is not easy to reach from the Lower 48, but the trip is an enjoyable one. The town of 800 people (population can into the thousands when cruise ships are in town) can be reached by air, road or water.
Getting to Skagway
By ferry: The Alaska Marine Highway Ferry System has regular service to Skagway from Bellingham, Washington and year round, with more frequent trips during the summer. Travel time is 3 - 4 days and you may pitch a tent right on the upper deck of the ship.
There is also ferry service from Prince Rupert, British Columbia to Skagway. Website Alaska Marine Highway Ferry System
By road: Bus Service is available from Whitehorse, Yukon to Skagway daily in the summer. Travel time: 3 hours. Gray Line Yukon
By Air: Daily jet service to Juneau, Alaska from the Lower 48. From there a 7 hour ferry ride to Skagway.
Getting to the trailhead
The trailhead is approximately 9 miles from Skagway via gravel road at the site of the now defunct town of Dyea. You can walk or negotiate a shuttle in town. We used a fellow named Dyea Dave, a self-proclaimed Know-It-All with lots of character. $40 for 6 hikers.
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External LinksU.S. National Park Service Chilkoot Trail Page
Parks Canada Chilkoot Trail Page
Alaska Marine Highway Ferry System