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One of Alaska's most unusual towns, tiny Hyder has just 100 or so year-round residents. The town was established as a gold settlement in the early 1900s, and at its peak had 10,000 would-be miners. Gold and copper mines brought prosperity for many years, but the last one closed in 1984. Hyder is 70 air miles from the nearest Alaskan town (Ketchikan), but just two miles by road from Stewart, British Columbia. Between Hyder and Stewart is the U.S.-Canada border and a Canadian customs station. Most services (a museum, banks, restaurants, lodging, camping, visitor center, and gift shops) are in Stewart, but Hyder has its own appeal. Calling ...

One of Alaska's most unusual towns, tiny Hyder has just 100 or so year-round residents. The town was established as a gold settlement in the early 1900s, and at its peak had 10,000 would-be miners. Gold and copper mines brought prosperity for many years, but the last one closed in 1984. Hyder is 70 air miles from the nearest Alaskan town (Ketchikan), but just two miles by road from Stewart, British Columbia. Between Hyder and Stewart is the U.S.-Canada border and a Canadian customs station. Most services (a museum, banks, restaurants, lodging, camping, visitor center, and gift shops) are in Stewart, but Hyder has its own appeal. Calling itself "the friendliest ghost town in Alaska," Hyder has dirt streets, limited food and lodging, an old stone storehouse, plus a bar where you can get "Hyderized" and join legions of others whose pasted dollar bills cover the walls and ceiling. Both towns use Canadian currency, Canadian telephone area codes, and Canadian time. Five miles out of Hyder is the Fish Creek Wildlife Viewing Area, where spawning chum and pink salmon attract brown bears and a few black bears. The Forest Service has a viewing platform here, or you can continue farther out the road to Salmon Glacier and Tide Lake (home to world-record snow depths). Twenty miles east of Stewart is pretty and accessible Bear Glacier, where icebergs spill into a small lake. There are weekly flights to Hyder from Ketchikan. Road access to Stewart and Hyder is via a 40-mile spur road off the Cassiar Highway.

Don Pitcher
About the Expert

Don Pitcher has written or photographed 10 travel guidebooks to Alaska, Wyoming, Yellowstone-Grand Teton, and the San Juan Islands for Avalon Travel Publishing, Random House, and Sasquatch Books.

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Don Pitcher for Triporati

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Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    Late summer (August) is best for access to the high country