Skagway was our second stop on our Alaskan Cruise. Once again, instead of booking an excursion, we opted for a self guided walking tour. We tried the Upper Dewey Lake Hike. It was a grueling uphill hike, but definitely worth the view. The whole trail round trip is 8 km. Despite an uphill climb of 929 m. in 4 km, it’s still rated as moderate on the All Trails App.
Before heading out into the woods, we made a quick stop at the visitors center. As usual we asked for directions and trail conditions. The trailhead wasn’t too far. We just had to follow 2nd ave. towards the train tracks, from there the trail was clearly marked.
There were plenty of other hikers heading the same way, though some, including my husband got distracted by gold dust in the creek. His gold fever continued through the rest of our hike. It took us nearly 6 hrs. to complete the trail. We inspected every creek and puddle for gold.
The trail went up steeply until we hit Lower Dewy Lake. From there the path flattened and the crowd grew thinner. We met an older couple from Queensland. They guessed we were Canadian, since we were hiking in our t-shirts, while they had on their parkas. We parted ways, as we continued on to hike Upper Dewey Lake.
I’m not sure if it was overeating on the cruise or all the previous hikes we did that week, but I had a tough time. The path was well marked, but very steep. At times it would lead us to an opening by a waterfall. We took every opportunity to rest/look for gold. The ship wouldn’t be leaving till 8 p.m. and it was only 11 a.m.
As we continued to climb up, I started to worry. We had been walking in the forest for hours. A couple heading down passed us by and I asked if they had made it to the lake. Unfortunately, they were too tired, so they decided to head back down. I thought of quitting too. But there was no point. There was still plenty of time and we had no other plans in Skagway.
After some lovely stairs and more uphill hiking, we came upon a viewpoint. It was an awesome experience to walk out of the woods and be greeted by views of snow capped mountains and the sea. But our time on the Upper Dewey Lake hike was not done yet. Patches of snow started to appear on the ground and the trees started to thin out. Finally we reached a clearing. For the first time we saw the lake.
This was truly a rewarding hike. The icy lake was beautifully framed by the mountains. We made our way to the picnic tables, carefully stepping on the muddy ground. After hours of hiking we sat down. I played the chill playlist from Spotify and we had our lunch.
I hadn’t heard anyone else on the trail heading up. But as we sat there, more and more people joined us. There were two people who worked on the cruise ship. Since they worked the same route for months, they tried out a lot of the hikes. I was also surprised to find out that we used the same All Trails App to look for hikes.
After finishing our sandwich, we took the time to explore the grounds. There was a small bridge that led to a free cabin. It was a scary looking cabin, but pretty nice if you get stuck up there in a snow storm. Our shoes started to get damp from the snowy, muddy ground so we decided to head down.
The way back down was the same route. It was a steep downhill. My make shift hiking pole was a huge help to my aching knee. The couple from the cruise ship passed us, as I slowly maneuvered myself on the dirt path.
Finally we reached Lower Dewey Lake. Since we still had time, we decided to complete the trail, adding another hour to our time in the Alaskan wilderness. It was a much flatter path with just a few scrambles up some rocks.
After that, we were spent! My husband left my hiking stick on the trail sign. I hope it helps another hiker to complete this gorgeous trail.