Written by bike_americas on 06 Dec, 2001
Hyder, Alaska is more like Canada than Alaska, but the 600 residents don´t want to admit it. Only accessible by small float plane or boat through Alaska (although the ferry stopped going there from lack of interest), the majority of the travelers going to…Read More
Hyder, Alaska is more like Canada than Alaska, but the 600 residents don´t want to admit it. Only accessible by small float plane or boat through Alaska (although the ferry stopped going there from lack of interest), the majority of the travelers going to Hyder opt for the easy way: driving from Canada.
From the Cassiar Highway, head west at Meziadhin Junction and 40 miles later you´ll be in Alaska. We cycled it without too much trouble, less the rain that hit us hard for an hour or so. The scenery was amazing, complete with glacier fields, the bright blue Bear Glacier that is surprisingly close the highway, waterfalls cascading down the steep mountains, and lots of bears. We saw six of them cycling in.
At first you come to the quaint town of Stewart, which is a humble little town with nice rows of houses, all laid out like a 60s suburb or something. A pleasant main street with an excellent Pizza Place, and a little park with some playground equipment.
The road takes a sharp left and goes between cliffs and the small harbor with freshly cut logs and small fishing boats moving slowly through the waves.
A right turn brings your first view of Hyder: a beat up street with a big "Welcome to Alaska!" sign hanging proudly over the border with Johnny Horton´s "North to Alaska" music blasting out from one of the few gift shops in town. The town is comprised of maybe three restaurants/bars, a couple gift shops, a camp ground, and a couple of hotels.
There was a rugged charm to the town that made me proud to be Alaskan. All the bars offer the oppurtunity to show your hardcoreness by getting "Hyderized," consisting of taking a shot of their special drink. We stayed in a place that was probably an old brothel judging by the layout, with a bar downstairs that kept going until the wee hours.
There is a bear viewing area a couple miles out of town, but we didn´t make it past the town limits. Not a whole lot to do there, but it is well worth a quick sidetrip just to experience the funky atmosphere of a town apparently trapped in tiem. The locals are also fun to talk to since they are so proud of their Alaskan Heritage, although Hyder is not on Alaska Standard Time and they us Canadian dollars.
I highly recommend checking it out. The drive is breath-taking and Hyder is town like no other.