What to do and see along the Stewart-Cassiar Highway Route To Alaska

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Having prepared our Alaska Bucket List and covered the points of interest along the Alaska Highway, it’s time now to take an in-depth look at the “other road” that leads from the Lower 48 to Alaska: The Stewart-Cassiar Highway!

What to see and do along the Stewart-Cassiar route to Alaska
What to see and do along the Stewart-Cassiar route to Alaska: Stewart-Cassiar mapThe Stewart-Cassiar Highway takes you some of the most remote places of British Columbia. Technically, it begins at the town of Kitimat, BC but if you’re traveling from Washington state to Alaska, you’ll probably be joining the Stewart-Cassiar Highway at Kitwanga. That’s where the local bible of road atlases – aka  the Milepost – begins its description of this road too.

But wait! The Stewart-Cassiar highway itself accounts for roughly half of the way. Once you cross the border between the US and Canada, you still have to drive for more than 700 miles before you reach the beginning of the Stewart-Cassiar Highway! There’s plenty to see and do along the way too. Since this is likely to be our route, I’m going to cover points of interest along the entire way. From the border crossing to the point where the Stewart-Cassiar Highway meets the Alaska Highway.

If you’re using the Milepost, then the route covers in this post actually contains the following roads:

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

There are other ways to get to the  Stewart-Cassiar Highway but if you’re coming from Seattle (as we would be), this is the shortest route. Also, we have already visited the Canadian Rockies and made the drive between them and Vancouver so this route makes more sense for us.

Here’s our list of what to do and see along the way. You can view the locations on the Google map I prepared (embedded into this post towards the end).

What to do and see along on the way to Alaska via the Stewart-Cassiar Highway

1. Hope, British Columbia

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

  • The Othello tunnels – A must-do short hike at the Coquihalla Canyon Provincial Park. Other trails in the park are also recommended.
  • Falls Lake – A 2km long hike going to a beautiful alpine lake.
  • Art walk in town where sculptures abound.
From Seattle to Alaska via the Stewart-Cassiar Highway: Hope, British Columbia
Hope, British Columbia

2. Hell’s Gate

The Fraser river is pushed through a narrow passage at this point, creating an impressive canyon. Best views are achieved by taking the aerial tram over to the viewing platform on the other side of the canyon.

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

4. 100 Mile House

What used to be a roadhouse on mile 100 of the Cariboo highway is now a small town where you stay when visiting Flat Lake Provincial Park or the 108 Mile Ranch Heritage Site.

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

5. Williams Lake

One of the largest settlements in the Cariboo region, this town is a place to stop. You can visit the Museum of The Cariboo Chilcotin to learn more about the local First Nations people and the town’s history or stroll through the trails or the Scout Island Nature Centre.

6. 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. It is about an hour off your main route but hey, even the Milepost says you should do this.

7. Prince George

With more than 70,000 people, this is the largest city in Northwest British Columbia. It also has a dubious reputation for having significant air pollution and being one of the most dangerous cities in Canada in terms of crime. I suspect the emphasis here should be on “in Canada“.

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

Things to do and see around Prince George include:

8. Smithers

Nestled in the Bulkley valley between snowcapped mountains, Smithers is a great place for hiking and scenic drives. Twin Falls comes recommended as a hike. Even if you’re only driving through town, don’t miss the Moricetown Canyon viewpoint en route on Highway 16.

9. Hazelton & New Hazelton

Essentially one and the same community – with several towns and villages incorporated into one district – there’s a quite a few attractions for the passing tourist. Driving the Hagwilget Canyon bridge comes highly recommended for the views and ‘Ksan Historical Village for the regional history of the Gitsan nation.

10. Bear Glacier Provincial Park

Driving the aptly named Glacier Highway into the towns of Stewart and Hyder, you have to stop and view the Bear Glacier. If you have more time, you can hike around or have a picnic at this Canadian provincial park.

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

11. Stewart, BC & Hyder, AK

These two small towns – or rather one small town and one tiny town – would have been one and the same had they not been in entirely different countries. Hyder, AK is home to the Fish Creek bear viewing site where you can see Grizzly and black bear catching fish in the salmon river. While in Stewart, you may want to take the stroll on the estuary boardwalk for more wildlife viewing (albeit possibly less exciting than Grizzlies).

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

12. Jade City

Hardly a city or even a town, this tiny settlement does have quite a lot of jade. Travelers can stop at one of the two stores (assuming both are open) for some authentic Cassiar Mountain jade souvenirs.

13. Boya Lake Provincial Park

A beautiful emerald green lake that’s perfect for a short hike or even kayaking.

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

14. Upper Liard

Voila! This is where the Stewart-Cassiar Highway officially ends as you cross over into the Yukon and join the Alaska Highway.


Last, but not least, the map!

I do look forward to making this awesome road trip someday. With any luck, the summer of 2017 will be our “someday”!

What do you think? Have you ever been to this area in Canada? Are you planning to? I’d love to hear your tips, ideas and general impression!

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