A narrow-gauge railroad line that originally ran to Whitehorse, the White Pass was completed after only 2 years in 1900. It's an engineering marvel and a fun way to see spectacular, historic scenery from a train inching up steep tracks that were chipped out of the side of the mountains. Some of the cars are historic as well -- originals more than 100 years old. The railroad "recommends" you don't get out of your seat, but it's a long ride on a slow train, and most people get up and socialize; however, you cannot move from car to car while the train is moving. The trick is to go in clear weather; when the pass is socked in, all you see is white clouds. Tickets are expensive, however, and you have to reserve ahead. Take the gamble: Cancellation carries only a $10-per-person penalty, and you can change dates for no charge. Also, try to go on a weekend, when fewer cruise ships are in town taking up all the seats; weekend trains can be booked as little as a week ahead, while midweek excursions can book up months ahead. The summit excursion -- which travels 20 miles with an elevation gain of 2,865 feet, then turns back -- takes about 3 hours and costs $112 for adults. All fares are half price for ages 3 to 12 (except for Chilkoot Pass hiker's fares).
For a longer journey, trains travel to Carcross, Yukon, with a stop for a hot meal at Lake Bennett and a return trip by bus. That costs $239. But the biggest treat for a train lover is a steam-powered trip. Friday and Monday afternoons, steam trains go over the pass to Fraser Meadows, 6 miles beyond the pass, and return; the fare is $155. In either case, bring your passport, as the train will go into Canada. Other choices are available, too; check the website.
These days, the line operates only as a tourist attraction May through September.</p