What to Do and See Along the Stewart-Cassiar Highway Route to Alaska

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After crafting our Alaska Bucket List and exploring the points of interest along the Alaska Highway, we set off on our significant road trip to Alaska and back.

What to see and do along the Stewart-Cassiar route to Alaska

For those plotting a similar adventure, we recommend checking out our detailed guide on driving to Alaska, where we share insights on navigating both the Cassiar and the Alaska Highway.

Venturing into the Stewart-Cassiar Highway, you're entering some of British Columbia's most secluded areas.

What to see and do along the Stewart-Cassiar route to Alaska: Stewart-Cassiar map

Officially, the highway starts in Kitimat, BC, but most travelers from Washington State meet the Stewart-Cassiar at Kitwanga. This is also where the revered road atlas, the Milepost, starts detailing this route.

However, the Stewart-Cassiar Highway is just part of the journey. After crossing the US-Canada border, there are over 700 miles to go before you hit the start of the Stewart-Cassiar.

And the road there is just as worthy of your attention. Planning to follow this path, we aim to highlight attractions from the border to where the Stewart-Cassiar intersects with the Alaska Highway.

If you're using the Milepost, then the route covered in this post contains the following roads:

  1. The West Access Route
  2. Yellowhead Highway 16
  3. The Stewart-Cassiar Highway

Though there are alternate routes to the Stewart-Cassiar, the one from Seattle is the most direct for us. Having already experienced the Canadian Rockies and the route from them to Vancouver, this path is our chosen trail.

Let's start and cover the highlights and essential stops on this less-traveled road to Alaska. For a visual guide, check out the Google map we've prepared, embedded towards the end of this post, detailing each location mentioned.

Sights & Stops Along The Stewart-Cassiar Highway

1. Hope, British Columbia

The town of Hope is an excellent place for a first stop along the route, with plenty to see and do:

  • The Othello Tunnels - Walk through the historical Othello Tunnels in Coquihalla Canyon Provincial Park, a unique mix of engineering and natural beauty. This easy, 3.5 km round-trip trail takes you through granite tunnels from the early 1900s railway, offering stunning scenery over a leisurely 1.5-2 hour stroll. While the main tunnels are closed due to damage, the park's trails and picnic areas still provide breathtaking views.
  • Falls Lake - Falls Lake offers a serene stop in the Coquihalla Summit Recreation Area, accessible by a short, easy 2 km hike from the Coquihalla Highway. Reach this beautiful alpine lake about 30 minutes from the parking area, with minimal elevation gain.
  • Hope's Chainsaw Sculpture Showcase - Over 80 sculptures transform the town into an open-air gallery, celebrating its status as the Chainsaw Carving Capital. Wander and admire artworks of local wildlife crafted by renowned carvers.

From Seattle to Alaska via the Stewart-Cassiar Highway: Hope, British Columbia
Hope, British Columbia

2. Hell's Gate

Experience the Fraser River's raw power as it squeezes through a narrow 35-metre-wide passage called Hell's Gate. An aerial tram ride offers unparalleled views of this dramatic canyon, showcasing nature's force in the scenic Fraser Canyon.

From Seattle to Alaska via the Stewart-Cassiar Highway: Hell's Gate, British Columbia
The bridge at Hell's Gate, British Columbia, Canada.

3. 100 Mile House

Once a critical stop at mile 100 on the Cariboo Highway, this town now serves as a gateway to the serene Flat Lake Provincial Park and the historic 108-mile Ranch Heritage Site, offering a peek into the region's past.

From Seattle to Alaska via the Stewart-Cassiar Highway: 100 Mile House
Photo by Andrewbremner via Wikipedia

4. Williams Lake

Williams Lake is a vibrant hub in the Cariboo region, offering a mix of history and nature. The Museum of The Cariboo Chilcoti celebrates the area's First Nations heritage and pioneering past.

For outdoor enthusiasts, the trails and the serene Scout Island Nature Centre provide a peaceful retreat into nature.

5. Barkerville Historic Town

If you want to walk down a historic town street that captures the spirit of the Gold Rush era, then this is your chance.

Just an hour from the main route, this historical gem is recommended by the Milepost for a reason. Wander through authentic 19th-century streets and immerse yourself in the adventures that shaped this region.

6. Prince George

As the largest city in Northwest British Columbia, Prince George is a vibrant hub, home to over 70,000 residents. Despite some concerns about air quality and safety, it remains a fascinating stop for visitors, offering a mix of urban and natural attractions.

Here are some highlights:

  • Prince George Railway Museum: A sprawling outdoor exhibit showcasing many railway artifacts and trains. It's a hit among both history buffs and families.
  • Fort George Park: Often referred to as Prince George's version of Central Park, this expansive green space houses the remnants of a First Nations village. The nearby museum provides deeper insights into the area's rich history.
  • Cottonwood Island Nature Park: A serene spot perfect for a leisurely walk, where the Fraser and Nechako Rivers meet. The trails here are peaceful and scenic.
  • Huble Homestead Historic Site: Step back in time at this carefully restored homestead, offering a glimpse into the lives of early settlers in the region.

What to see and do along the Stewart-Cassiar route to Alaska: Prince George, British Columbia

7. Smithers

Smithers, beautifully cradled in the Bulkley Valley and flanked by snow-dusted mountains, offers various outdoor activities, from hiking to picturesque drives.

A must-try is the hike to Twin Falls for those seeking a blend of adventure and nature’s tranquility. While passing through, make a point to stop at the Moricetown Canyon viewpoint along Highway 16 for breathtaking landscapes.

8. Hazelton & New Hazelton

Merging history with stunning geography, Hazelton and New Hazelton together form a vibrant community rich in cultural heritage. A drive across the Hagwilget Canyon Bridge is highly recommended for its panoramic views.

Don’t miss out on the 'Ksan Historical Village,' where the Gitsan nation's past comes alive, offering a profound glimpse into the region's roots and traditions.

9. Bear Glacier Provincial Park

Journeying along the Glacier Highway towards Stewart and Hyder, marvel at Bear Glacier, a stunning highlight of British Columbia's wilderness.

For those with time to spare, the area around this glacier invites you for exploratory hikes or tranquil picnics within the park's serene confines.

What to see and do along the Stewart-Cassiar route to Alaska: Bear Glacier at BC Canada
Bear Glacier

10. Stewart, BC & Hyder, AK

Stewart, BC, and Hyder, AK, share more than geography; they share a unique cross-border culture. In Hyder, witness the awe-inspiring sight of Grizzly and black bears at the Fish Creek bear viewing site.

Meanwhile, Stewart offers a scenic estuary boardwalk for peaceful wildlife observation, creating a memorable cross-border experience.

What to see and do along the Stewart-Cassiar route to Alaska: Grizzly at Fish Creek, Hyder, AK

11. Jade City

Though calling Jade City a "city" might be a stretch, this quaint locale is a treasure trove of authentic Cassiar Mountain jade.

Whether both stores are open or not, a stop here offers a unique chance to bring home a piece of this region's rich geological heritage.

12. Tā Ch'ilā Provincial Park

Tā Ch'ilā Provincial Park, formerly known as Boya Lake Provincial Park, offers an emerald green sanctuary for nature enthusiasts.

Whether you're drawn to a gentle hike or kayaking, the park's clear waters, set against a backdrop of serene beauty, provide the perfect setting for outdoor activities.

What to see and do along the Stewart-Cassiar route to Alaska: Boya Lake Provincial Park
Boya Lake Provincial Park - Picture by Adam Jones, Ph.D. via Wikipedia

13. Upper Liard

At Upper Liard, you conclude the Stewart-Cassiar Highway journey as you transition into the Yukon. This pivotal location ushers you into the expansive wilderness of the Yukon and serves as your entry point to join the Alaska Highway.

Here, you're on the brink of exploring the vast, untouched landscapes and embarking on the next leg of your northern adventure.

To wrap up, here's the map we mentioned earlier!

Alaska Road Trip Itinerary Map

We'd love your thoughts on this route from Canada to Alaska. Have you traveled this way, or is it on your bucket list? Share your experiences, tips, or questions with us—We're eager to hear from you!

Also, explore my other Alaska guides and road trip advice for inspiration and practical tips.

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  1. We were down the Cassiar in the summer of 2019 with plans to go back in 2020. Then the Covid came to town so now we’re going back next month. Definitely the best ride to go north, puts the Alaskan Highway to shame for scenery! This time we hit Stewart and Hyder. The side trip we took to see the town of Cassiar was worth the detour. Not much to see there, but the idea of what was once there and what it is now is quite interesting. Somebody is there now working all the tailings from the original asbestos mining. Also Jade City is a great stop. Didn’t realize there was that much jade in Canada and if there is jade, there is probably asbestos.

  2. We plan to make this trip next summer (assuming the Canadian border is open). When did you do this trip?
    We took this highway in 1977 from Anchorage to Seattle when we moved back here. Obviously missed a lot of good opportunities and very thankful you posted this.

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