The Riverboat Discovery- a Peak into Alaska History

The high pitched whistle from the Riverboat Discovery echoes through out Steamboat Landing, signaling it is time to board the boat.  We hand our tickets to a local college student and move up the gangway to the boat. We grab a free donut and cup of coffee as we head up to our favorite spot in the fresh air on the port side of the top deck. The Riverboat Discovery tour is a brief immersion into life in Alaska. Lots of history is shared with the passengers by a local host. There are video monitors so everybody can see the action- and there is lots of action.


Float Plane
Float plane

The first stop invokes goose bumps as a float plane takes off and lands on the river next to the Riverboat! Bush planes are essential to access the remote areas of Alaska.Side bar-my own love affair with Alaska began in the late 70’s when my dad returned from Alaska and told me about landing on a gravel bar in the river. My father helped the pilot turn the plane around so the pilot could take off. The challenges and dangers of being a bush pilot intrigued me, especially as I was afraid of heights. Years later this story would influence my decision to move to Alaska. I now have my Private Pilot license and Float Plane Rating. But I digress.. .

Trail Breaker Kennel
Trail Breaker Kennel

Just a little further down the river, the boat guide interacts with a musher at the Trail Breaker Kennel. We had the pleasure of listening to Dave Monson. He shares a glimpse into the life of a musher and kennel owner. Dave is the real deal with thousands of miles of mushing through the uninhabited wilds under his sled. He has won the arduous Yukon Quest Race and is a regular in the Iditarod Race, both are 1000+ mile races.  The sled dogs have boundless energy and are eager to run.

There are a few more exciting stops before disembarking at the Chena Indian Village. The Chena Indian Village has three presentations before guests have free time to wander about and discover the gems in the village. The presentations are given by people connected to Alaska. They often weave their personal experiences in the presentation. Each presentations is informative, thoughtful and well done. Be prepared to have your breath taken away as you see the beautifully sewn fur coat and ruff.

Three whistle blasts indicate it is time to board the boat and return to Steamboat Landing. The crew brings out delicious hand made salmon dip. This is a highlight for my 10 year old daughter as well as my 76 year old father.  Fortunately, the crew doesn’t mind people heading back for seconds after everybody has had a chance to try this delectable treat. The canned salmon used in the dip is so good that we often will give it as a gift. It is that scrumptious!Steamboat Landing

Insider tips:

  1. Sit on the left hand side of the top deck
  2. There is a 2 for 1 coupon in the back of a visitor book
  3. Eat the doughnuts
  4. Eat the salmon dip
  5. Enjoy the tour and learn some Alaska history

We love sharing the Riverboat Discovery with visitors.  Do you have a favorite place to take your out of town visitors? What are your insider tips?



The thoughts and opinions expressed in this post are strictly my own. I did not receive any compensation, monetary or otherwise, for this review. All photos are the property of this blog.

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