Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park
The false summit on the Chilkoot Trail
The Klondike Gold Rush started in 1897 with newspaper headlines across North America screaming "Gold!" More than 100,000 people disembarked at the Ports of Skagway and Dyea and began the almost 600 mile trek northward to the gold fields, but less than 30,000 people actually made it to Dawson City. Then the gold rush ended as quickly as it had begun when the easy Klondike gold ran out and more gold was discovered near Nome, Alaska in 1899.
Skagway was at the southern end of the White Pass Trail. The White Pass Trail wasn't as steep as the Chilkoot Trail and animals could be used on it... but with the need to carry enough materials and supplies to survive a year in the Yukon, many folks overloaded their animals and killed them.
Crossing some beaver ponds
The town of Dyea was at the foot of the Chilkoot Trail and as short as that trail was (about 35 miles to the lakes where they loaded everything onto boats and floated downstream the remaining 560-or-so miles to Dawson City) that trail was also very steep and animals could not be used on it.
Late in 1897 a tramway was built and began operating on Chilkoot Pass. Until then, everyone had to carry everything they needed on their backs. Most gold seekers spent up to three months carting all their stuff over the passes to the lakes before finally heading downstream to the gold fields.
The end of the Chilkoot Trail
The Visitor Center is open daily from early May to late September, 8 am to 6 pm. The Museum is open year round except during winter holidays. May through September 7:30 am to 6 pm and October through Apil 8 am to 5 pm. There are no park entrance fees but there are fees for using the park campground ($10 per night, first come, first served) and for hiking the Chilkoot Trail (and all fees are quoted in Canadian dollars as the trail crosses over Chilkoot Pass and spends most of its mileage in the Yukon - and only 50 hikers per day are allowed to enter Canada via the pass).
Near the summit of the Chilkoot Trail
Photos courtesy of the National Park Service