Coloring the Void

living nomadically

Stewart and Hyder

We got up early and headed east to start on the Cassiar Highway (37). It was a beautiful morning, another day promising sunny 70F weather. We stopped for gas at the intersection and ran into a few more RVs heading for Alaska.

One of the great things about traveling north this early is the lack of traffic. Of course, it could also be due to the fact that it was Sunday and a holiday weekend. The drive was beautiful, relaxing, and slow. The Cassiar had a center line for a while, but it disappeared, and the road narrowed as we moved north.

Wooden Bridge

One of many wooden one lane bridges on the Cassiar.

Right before the junction with 37A is Meziadin Lake Provincial Park. Had I known then what I know now, we would have camped here for a few days and made a day trip into Hyder. The setting is sublime with campsites large enough for an A and easy paved roads. As it was, the campground was jam packed with vacationers out for a long weekend. There were a few spaces available, but we wanted to continue to Hyder.

We took a left on 37A, the road to Stewart and Hyder. There was slightly more traffic on this road but, relatively, it was deserted. The scenery is beautiful. We passed Bear Glacier which comes down nearly to the road. We stopped just past, in the only pull off that wasn’t in an avalanche/rock slide area or where the shoulder wasn’t falling away. We could feel the cool breeze off the glacier (but the photo ops from that area aren’t the greatest). This would be a good spot to overnight if you want to camp next to a glacier but we just stopped for lunch. Further down the road is Bear River Canyon, a short, narrow passage through the mountains that reminded us of “Jurassic Park” or Hawaii, alpine style. This area, too, has no pull offs due to the risk of rock slides and avalanches.

37A

The view on 37A

hanging glacier

A hanging glacier on 37A

Bear Glacier

Bear Glacier from the side

Bear River Canyon

Bear River Canyon near the end

We had planned to stay at Camp Run-a-Muck but it was closed, as was the rest of Hyder. We back tracked to Bear River RV Park, the only one open in the area. For $38CAD, we got 30A full hook ups, cable, and wi-fi. When the park is empty it is roomy but, considering that each electrical box is for two sites (that is how close together they are), I imagine it gets really crowded in July and August.

On Monday (Happy Victoria Day!) we headed up to Salmon Glacier. It is early in the season but the road is plowed and mostly clear until near the end. The drive up can be made in any car; the only other people we saw up there were in a Tercel. One does have to watch the road for rock fall and soft sides but otherwise, it is pretty clear and safe. There are waterfalls, wildlife, wildflowers (the 3 Ws of outdoor photography) along the way.

Fall on the side of the road

Fall on the side of the road

Salmon Glacier

Salmon Glacier

Two bears on a gravel bar in Tongass National Forest

Two bears on a gravel bar in Tongass National Forest

Another Grizzley, walking

Another Grizzly, walking

Salmon Glacier Road

The end of Salmon Glacier Road. Snow, potholes, and rock slides kept us from going further.

A panorama from the Salmon Glacier viewpoint, looking the other way.

A panorama from the Salmon Glacier viewpoint, looking the other way.

We also visited Clements Lake, a recreation area on 37A. It is a lovely spot for a picnic.

Clements Lake. Right behind it is the wall of waterfalls. Any of those falls would be worthy of state park status if they were in the lower 48.

Clements Lake. Right behind it is the wall of waterfalls. Any of those falls would be worthy of state park status if they were in the lower 48.

At Bear River RV Park, we met Derek and Shelly, an Aussie couple on a three month tour of the US and Canada by plane, train, and RV. It sounded like a magical trip, hitting Alaska, Alberta, the Yukon, British Columbia, Yellowstone, and Glacier National Park. There were RVs from California and one that also had Florida tags. It seems the season is upon us.

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2 thoughts on “Stewart and Hyder

  1. Thanks for the great write-up on this area. We likely will return from Alaska on the Cassiar Highway, so I am looking forward to following your journey this time around. Meziadin Lake Provincial Park sounds like a perfect place to stay. I wonder if our RV would be able to negotiate the road to Salmon Glacier.

    • If there isn’t anyone else on the road, probably. In many areas, the road is wide enough for two cars. But, there is a couple of places close to the glacier where it is barely wide enough for one. However, it didn’t look like they had started maintenance for the season yet, nor cleared the rockslide debris. So, by the end of the season, it is a definite maybe. Sorry I can’t tell you more.

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