Skagway Scooters  (1:00)

This Southeast Alaska tour operator has its own definition of the Easy Rider: You can take this scenic tour, driving a scooter or motorcycle, with the wind blowing in your hair—but with no stress or hassle. As the only scooter company in Skagway, this tour offers an active way to explore the area—but caters to anyone from thrill-seekers to older families (you need to be 18+ with a valid driver’s license) and little old ladies.

Inspired on a Solo Odyssey

Since he was just a kid, Chris always loved motorcycles and dirt biking in his home state of Idaho. After a few years of adventure in Alaska, he left on his motorcycle and took a 7-month, 30,000-mile odyssey through Canada, the U.S. and then south—all the way to the southern tip of South America. On completion of his trip, he wanted to return to Alaska and share that passion with everyone. Skagway proved to be the perfect spot.

So, in 2014 he started his business as Inspired Rides, doing mostly motorcycle rentals, but the next year, he decided to diversify, so more people could enjoy going for a ride. After all, travellers would need a motorcycle endorsement to ride a motorcycle on a tour. The answer: switching to scooters, which only requires a regular driver’s license.

Setting Out Yourself

Today, Chris and his wife Kelsey run the business (with help from their Siberian husky Shadow) and their fleet is made up of Honda Ruckus scooters: sturdy two-wheelers with knobby tires that handle well on either dirt or pavement. (If you do have a motorcycle license and are 21+, you can also rent a traditional motorcycle—such as a Harley, or a Kawasaki KLR650.)

After a short tutorial to make sure you feel safe and confident on your scooter, you can either set out on your own or take the guided, narrated tour. Either way, helmets are included in your price, and you just need to come dressed in layers for the weather, perhaps including a windbreaker (tours run rain or shine), gloves, and a day pack, since there’s nowhere on the scooter to store gear.

Whales, Bears and Ghosts

The guided, fully narrated ride lasts for about 2.5 to 3 hours, covering 15 miles and including groups no bigger than 6 riders plus a guide. You set out on the winding roads along the Taiya Inlet to see the Dyea flats, the site of the old tent city where the Gold Rush actually started, and the head of the historic Chilkoot Trail. Along the way, you’ll see waterfalls, historic cemeteries, and scenic views of the towering mountains and occasionally even wildlife. There can be Humpback whales in the bay, as well as stellar seals, sea lions, grizzly bears fishing for salmon at the mouth of the Taiya River, and mountain goats perched on ridges.

One prime stop is the Gold Rush cemetery, final resting place of the notorious gold-rush mob boss Soapy Smith. You’ll hear his story (including a gun fight) and get some time to walk around and explore the cemetery and visit stunning Lower Reid Falls.

That kind of experience—and the ease with which you can drive the scooters—is what guests love about this tour: it’s relaxed, up close, different. And just as any easy rider would agree, it offers a freedom to see the landscape in a unique way.