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When RVers take a road trip to Alaska, they usually travel the popular Alaska Highway from Dawson Creek, British Columbia, and cross the border from Canada into Alaska at Beaver Creek. However, travelers only venturing to the Alaska Peninsula might cross at the Stewart-Hyder Border along Highway 37A.
This remote border crossing was once the place of booming mining towns but is now a simple, quirky entry point. Let’s learn more!
Where Is Hyder, Alaska?
Highway 37A, also known as Glacier Highway, travels west of Highway 37 at the Meziadin Junction in British Columbia. It’s about 40 miles from here to Hyder, Alaska. Stewart, British Columbia — the closest town to Hyder — sits about 2 miles from the Alaskan border. Hyder sits along the 130-mile Portland Canal on a fjord that forms part of the U.S.-Canadian border.
You could say that Hyder is a piece of Canada that sits in Alaska due to its geographical location, but no road connects the town to any Alaskan communities.
Back in the day, Americans used Hyder to access Canadian silver mines. Few law enforcement officials — either Canadian or American — would travel to the remote town of Hyder.
Today, Hyder is a small community with just a handful of buildings. Glacier Highway is a stunning drive from British Columbia. On a beautiful day, you can see over 20 glaciers and numerous snow-capped mountain peaks as you traverse the Bear Pass.
Not Many People Live In Hyder, Alaska
According to the 2020 U.S. Census, about 50 people live in Hyder, Alaska.
This is a significant decrease from the 90 who lived here in 2010. In contrast, the neighboring town of Stewart in British Columbia has about 500 people. For residents of Hyder, Stewart is the closest location to access supplies and amenities.
Where Is Stewart, British Columbia?
Located at the head of the Portland Canal, Stewart is best known for its gold and silver mining history. From 1917 to 1918, people from both Hyder and Stewart searched the upper Salmon River basin for deposits. Stewart was the port city for Canadian activity.
Like Hyder, Stewart is only accessible by Highway 37A. Residents and visitors can also access the town via boat through the canal. There’s also a small airport. Stewart is the last Canadian community before the Stewart-Hyder border crossing.
Pro Tip: Before you try crossing the Canadian border in your RV, here’s what you need to bring with you.
What To Know About the Stewart-Hyder Border
The Stewart-Hyder border crossing isn’t much to look at. Remember, Hyder is a small town of less than 50 people. Canadians can even travel freely without a visa here. Tourism is the primary source of revenue for both of these towns, but especially Hyder.
An old 1896 stone storehouse marks the border. Travelers from Canada into Alaska don’t have to stop for inspection as the United States closed its border station in the 1970s. So, getting to Hyder doesn’t even require your passport.
However, travelers leaving Hyder and returning to Canada will stop at the Canadian customs office. You are asked the usual questions when passing through any Canadian border crossing.
Typically, what you’re bringing to the country, if you’re carrying any weapons, and what you were doing in Hyder. All in all, I think it took us a total of two minutes to get back into Canada when we visited Hyder.
Things to Do Near the Stewart-Hyder Border
The landscape near the Stewart-Hyder border is magnificent. It’s full of glaciers, ice fields, forests, and waterfalls. A popular destination is Salmon Glacier, the fifth-largest glacier in North America and Canada’s largest glacier, which is accessible by road. Take Granduc Road from Hyder for approximately 25 miles, climbing to 4,300 feet where the glacier begins.
Fish Creek is another popular location for tourists. Visitors can watch the salmon run and bears feasting on the fish. There’s a viewing area with a platform where you can photograph these massive creatures in their natural habitat.
Mid-July to early September is the best time to visit the feeding bears. The U.S. Forest Service manages Fish Creek and is located about three miles north of Hyder.
Anglers have ample opportunities to fish near the Stewart-Hyder border. You can charter an outing or hit up the lakes and rivers on your own. You might find king salmon, Alaskan king crab, and Coho salmon in the Portland Canal and salmon, steelhead fish, and rainbow trout in the inland lakes and rivers.
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The Only Border Crossing Into Alaska You Won’t Need Your Passport For
In Alaska, there are only five land border crossings to Canada. The Stewart-Hyder border crossing is the only one without a U.S. customs office. It’s also the southernmost crossing into Canada from Alaska.
The Poker Creek-Little Gold Creek border crossing is North America’s northernmost international border crossing and sits along the Top of the World Highway. The other border crossing between Alaska and the Yukon is the Alcan-Beaver Creek crossing along the Alaska Highway.
The Dalton Cache–Pleasant Camp is part of the Haines Highway, and the Skagway-Fraser border crossing is part of the Klondike Highway; they connect Alaska to British Columbia.
The U.S.-Canada border is the longest international border at 5,525 miles. There are over 100 land border crossings from Washington State to Maine. Maine has the most, with 24 land crossings along its 611-mile border with our northern neighbor.
Stop and Visit the Quirky Stewart-Hyder Border on Your Next Alaska Adventure
Likely, you’ve never heard of Stewart or Hyder. But if you’re traveling along Highway 37 in British Columbia, we suggest taking a detour along the Glacier Highway to Hyder.
You’ll view the stunning Bear Glacier, a beautiful blue roadside glacier about 15 miles from Meziadin Junction. And then you’ll enter Stewart about 20 miles later.
You won’t have to show any ID when you reach the Stewart-Hyder border crossing. Just hop out of the car and take your photo at the “Welcome to Hyder” sign. Then head into the town, grab a fresh seafood lunch at the Seafood Express, and get “hyderized” with a drink at the Glacier Inn.
You won’t spend long here, but exploring the quirky and beautiful town of Hyder, Alaska, is worth it.
Will you venture down the Glacier Highway on your next road trip to the Last Frontier?