The Story Behind This Ghost Town Cemetery In Alaska Will Chill You To The Bone
It was a sunny spring day in Skagway, April 3, 1898. Hundreds of prospectors who had made their way to this port town were headed up to the gold fields of the Klondike in Canada, seeking their fortune. The sourdoughs and native Alaskans were seasoned travelers in the harsh conditions of the local mountains, and used to watching conditions on the steep and unforgiving Chilkoot Trail, the only passageway to the Klondike. Heavy snow had fallen for weeks, the warm weather was loosening the mountains grip on those heavy snowbanks, and the sun was shining. Everyone who was paying attention warned the prospectors that travel was dangerous, but many didn’t heed the warnings.
The Palm Sunday Avalanche was a series of heavy snow slides, resulting in a catastrophic death toll in the small mining community. The snow careened down the mountain, sweeping prospectors along the trail with it to their cold graves at the bottom of 30 feet of snow. Records are variable, with the highest death toll being close to 100. These pioneers are interred at Slide Cemetary, the haunting Dyea ghost town cemetery near Skagway, a reminder of this terrible event.
Historic Dyea Townsite
Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park
Directions to Slide Cemetary:
From Dyea Campground, head north on Dyea Road toward Chilkoot Trail for 0.6 miles. Keep left to stay on Dyea Road for 1.5 mi, then turn right onto Hatcher Road/Jeep Trail. Continue to follow Jeep Trail 0.9 mi and continue onto Slide Cemetary Trail.