Upper Lake Cabin

The hike to Upper Lake Cabin begins at the base of the Lower Dewey Lake System.  This trail system is easily accessible from downtown Skagway by following 2nd Ave. east past the railroad depot. The trailhead is located 120 meters north of 2nd Ave. along the railroad tracks. Where the railroad tracks cross the road turn left and follow the tracks 120 meters north to the trailhead (beware of trains when crossing the tracks!) A short distance up the hill the trail branches off to the right (continuing straight up the hill is a steep power company maintenance road). Descend the wooden staircase, duck under the water pipe, and continue up the hill. The trail jogs left and crosses a short footbridge. Here the trail continues on a steep main uphill for about 100 meters. There is a clearing and rock bench at the top of this incline with a view of town and the harbor. Continue up the steep switchback trail staying generally to the right at intersections. Notice where the trail appears to be going straight ahead but actually turns sharply right. Going straight here leads to a reservoir and the north end of the lake. It is advised to take the sharp right toward Lower Dewey Lake and go left at the junction sign.  Follow the trail north across several wooden footbridges to the Upper Dewey Lake trail junction sign and turn right up the trail. The route climbs steeply through a series of switchbacks. About 800 feet above Lower Dewey Lake there is a view of town. Near the trail’s end, the climb eases, and the route follows Dewey Creek closely for a short way. It finally emerges from the trees into a muskeg meadow, where there are views of Mt. Harding and the inlet below.  Day hikers should be prepared for weather and altitude changes and carry proper clothing, water, and essentials.

Upper Dewey Lake

Time: All day (5-6 hours roundtrip)- This hike is potentially longer in winter conditions.
Distance: 6 miles (9.7 km) roundtrip
Rating: Strenuous
Elevation Gain: 3,100 feet (945 meters)

A recently finished, modern and insulated 16ft by 12ft A-Frame is located on the dike over looking the lake. It comes complete with a covered wrap-around porch, comfortably sleeping 4 in bunks on the main floor and 2-4 in the spacious loft. An oil fired stove provides better than adequate heat on even the coldest nights, consuming approximately one gallon of #1 heating oil in 24 hours of continuous operation at mid range settings.  In Canada the oil to purchase is Arctic Stove Oil and will be known as #2 oil.  Numerous windows provide for ample lighting throughout the day, offering scenic views of the lake and surrounding mountain ridges. Lodgers will need to provide their own cook stove, utensils, bedding, and sufficient heating oil depending on time of year. Lake and stream water should be boiled prior to cooking or drinking. An outhouse is located nearby. User fees and reservations are required for this cabin and the renter is responsible for leaving the area clean and garbage free upon departure. Rental fees are listed below:

  • $10  US per day from September 16th to April 30th
  • $35  US per day from May 1st  to September 15th (Skagway residents $20 US per day)
  • $50  US refundable key and security deposit

It is necessary to read, sign and fill out the rules & rental agreement prior to utilizing the cabin.  These documents along with payment in US dollars can be dropped off in person, faxed, scanned and emailed or mailed to:

The Skagway Recreation Center/Upper Lake Cabin
455 13th Ave.
PO Box 868
Skagway, AK 99840

Email:  d.may@skagway.org 

Please make checks payable to:  The Municipality of Skagway

A very rustic log cabin dating back to the 1920’s also sits by the lake and is open to the public on a first come first serve basis.  It has gone through a number of improvements throughout the years, but retains the trapper style roots of its original builders. Plywood bunks sleep 5 maximum. A wood stove generates sufficient heat to cook and warm the cabin even during winter months. Wood is at a premium and can be scarce at times, though resourceful campers can generally gather enough for their stay. Cutting of standing trees is strictly prohibited. Outside open pit fires are discouraged. The cabin is, for the most part, unregulated and receives no regular maintenance. Volunteer crews generally ensure it is prepared for occupancy in the spring and rely on users to keep it clean and report damage or requests for repairs. As with the rental cabin, users need to provide their own cook stove, utensils, and bedding. Lake and stream water should be boiled prior to cooking or drinking. Users are responsible for leaving the area free of garbage upon departure. Pack it in, pack it out!

From Upper Dewey Lake you can hike to Devil’s Punchbowl.  Just follow the narrow footpath south from the primitive cabin up the alpine ridge to a spectacular overlook. Watch for rock cairns where the trail crosses boulder fields. Devil’s Punchbowl is a tarn nestled in a deep, rocky bowl, but it is not a recommended camping spot.

Devil’s Punchbowl

Time: 2 hours roundtrip from Upper Dewey Lake
Distance: 2.5 miles (4 km) round trip from Upper Dewey Lake
Rating: Strenuous
Elevation Gain: 600 feet (180 meters) from Upper Dewey Lake

Overnight camping is permissible on all trails. Permits are required for the Chilkoot Trail and can be obtained at the Trail Center located at 2nd & Broadway. A free permit must be obtained at the Skagway City Police station located at 1st and State St. for camping at Yakutania Point, Smuggler’s Cove, AB Mountain, in Dyea and along the Dewey Lake Trail System.  Skagway offers a diverse selection of day and overnight hikes.  Detailed descriptions and map are included in the Skagway-Trail-Map.  Complete visitor information can be found at www.skagway.com.

Skate Park

The Municipality  of Skagway Recreation Center has added a 4800 square foot Skate Park, built by American Ramp Company.  The Park features a street ramp course with a variety of events sure to give even the finest of skaters an adrenaline rush.