Omnibus bill brought the designation
The Chilkoot Trail—made famous by the 1898 Klondike Gold Rush that lured over 100,000 miners north to Skagway and the Yukon—is now a National Historic Trail. Congress has given this unique distinction to only 19 other trails, including the Oregon Trail, the Iditarod, and the Pony Express Trail.
The 33-mile trail connects Dyea, near Skagway, to Lake Bennett, British Columbia. The U.S. side is within Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park, where visitors can take in museum exhibits, ranger-led hikes, or the abandoned boomtown of Dyea. The trail itself is popular among day-hikers and backpackers, who can see numerous artifacts left behind by prospectors.
In a statement, Angela Wetz of the National Park Service said the new designation will help the park tell the story of the gold rush and the area’s natural and cultural landscapes.
The park also celebrates the Alaska Native history of the area. Long before the first Klondike headline lit up Seattle newspapers in the late 1800s, Tlingit people used the trail to connect with interior people, in part to share or trade coastal eulachon.
In October 2022, record rains severely damaged the trail. Bridges, boardwalks, and tent pads were washed out, causing a temporary trail closure through the 2023 spring. Full repairs to the trail are expected to take several years.