Stewart-Cassiar Highway

Stewart-Cassiar Highway
Stewart-Cassiar Highway, British Columbia

The Stewart-Cassiar Highway in northern British Columbia leads a rider through some of that Canadian province’s most beautiful and rugged scenery accessible by a road-going motorcycle. If you have sprung for that adventure bike with the aluminum panniers and giant gas tank and are looking for somewhere to use it, this could be the place.

The highway — also known as Highway 37 in British Columbia — runs south from the Alaska Highway near Watson Lake, Yukon to the Yellowhead Highway between Terrace and The Hazeltons. It runs roughly parallel to and east of the border between British Columbia and the Alaska Panhandle. The highway gets its name from its primary purpose, which is providing land access to the towns of Stewart BC and Hyder Alaska.

The northern portion of the highway, north of the Stewart cutoff, is often gravel and seldom travelled. If you go off the road here or hit a deer you are in very real danger. If the bugs don’t get you, there are grizzly bears to contend with. I rode the highway alone and in retrospect it was not a very smart decision. I was very much aware of my isolation. I rode for an hour at one point without seeing another vehicle. The northern portion of the highway also takes you close to some amazing scenic sidetrips, including Telegraph Creek and the Grand Canyon of the Stikine River.

Facilities are very thin. The only place I could find to stay was a campground at Iskut near the halfway point. I got one of the last available cabins and hunkered down under the blankets trying to avoid the mosquitoes. The bike I was riding had a limited range and I had to use my gas can to get to the next filling station. It would be wise to carry food, water and camping gear.

I used the Stewart-Cassiar Highway as a way down from the Yukon to Prince George and then on to the Okanagan Valley, but it can form part of a circle tour using the Alaska Highway if you are renting a bike for a few days.

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