White Pass & Yukon Route

Please note, this post is part of a series. Click here to read it from the beginning.

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When planning my (possibly over-ambitious, I grant you) journey from San Francisco to Anchorage, I had considered travelling through the Yukon. I figured I would have little reason to venture into the province again, and it would be another one to check off the bucket list. Unfortunately, after further research, I realised that none of the (very few) transport routes in the area connect up and, even if they did, cheap accommodation is scarce. Unless you’ve got about 3 weeks spare (which I didn’t), just about the only way to do it is drive. I didn’t fancy three or four days in a car on my own. So, when I saw that the White Pass and Yukon Route railroad travels as far as the Yukon (as the name leads you to believe) and I could join the excursion via the fast ferry from Haines, it seemed perfect. As the details on their website seemed sketchy, I emailed the excursion company to check it definitely enters the Yukon and was informed it does. However, it was only when I was on the train that I discovered they had booked me on the Summit Excursion. This train only travels 200ft into British Columbia, over 20 miles short of the border with the Yukon.

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The mentality of cruise ship passengers is something I don’t think I will ever understand. Despite being told the train was going to be full, only a few of us got into the first carriage. The second carriage was reserved for a cruise ship group, who all boarded the train and promptly fell asleep. I looked on astounded, shocked they had paid over $100 each to nap on a train.

The Summit Excursion is a beautiful train ride, and I have some amazing photos that I took as we chugged along cliff edges and over bridges that didn’t look like they would hold our weight. I wouldn’t have paid $179 for it if I had known we were only going as far as White Pass Summit, though. I used to work in British Columbia, so crossing over that border was nowhere near as exciting as if I’d been able to say I’d visited the Yukon.

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So, the Yukon goes back on the bucket list. It has got me thinking, though. If I could find someone to come with me, maybe we could drive through the Yukon and then further up to explore Northern Alaska…

As an added note to this post, when I returned to the UK I contacted HSFF who booked the excursion for me to complain about the incorrect information I had been given. The lady responsible apologised and refunded me 30% of my ticket.

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