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Old 01-17-2019, 02:15 PM   #1
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Alaska - the shorter route

Short Version: I built a model to compare driving to Hyder AK vs. Denali.
Attached to this message is the PDF version of the Excel Spreadsheet. Spreadsheets can't be attached to messages here so if you want it, just PM me and I'll email it to you.

A couple of us are planning to drive to Alaska in 2020 leaving from Texas around the end of May. Of course we started with looking at the grand tour, that is going up the Alaska highway to Fairbanks, touring Denali, scooting over to Anchorage and looping back to Tok and then backtracking to home. Long expensive trip that we'd take at least a couple of months to enjoy. Then the conversation lead to "Man! that's a lot of driving, can we still go to Alaska and shorten the trip".

So I did some research and google mapping and came up with a shorter trip to Hyder Alaska, home of the 5th largest Glacier (Salmon Glacier) and a very active and safe "Bears fishing for Salmon" national park (Tongass Nat'l Park). Hyder is most famous for being the destination of an Annual Motorcycle ride called Ride the 48 Plus.

No way is Hyder Alaska as beautiful as Denali but it's really not a bad destination. The most obvious reason choose Hyder is that it's shorter and less expensive. However it's not a bad trip by any means. It is easy to take in Banff, Lake Louise, Ice Fields Parkway and Jasper in route. A return trip can head south to Glacier National Park, Yellowstone and Deadwood if you are so inclined.

Besides Hyder is the furthest south town in Alaska that you can drive to, it also promotes itself as a Friendly Ghost Town (which it almost is - Population 100). There are dozens of youtubes for you to check out Hyder (a few are motorcycle trips out and about the glacier viewing points).

This trip is best in late July and August when the Salmon are spawning but of course that is also their busy season. Everything is open for business from about mid-May to mid-Sept. Hyder Alaska is 2 miles from Stewart British Columbia.
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File Type: pdf Compare Hyder to Denali.pdf (655.7 KB, 345 views)
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Old 01-19-2019, 08:48 AM   #2
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We hope to go this year, ride the Alaska Highway up and take Highway 37 back. I want to visit Hyder, so the salmon are running in late July. I sure would like to see the bears fishing. On our way back I plan on visiting Dawson City and ride Top of the World Highway with just my truck. Are y’all making reservations or just going with no reservations. We went to Alaska in 17, we had a little trouble with our truck, other than that it was awesome
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Old 01-19-2019, 09:28 AM   #3
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We will make reservations in some places but don't know which ones yet. What did you do in 17?
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Old 01-19-2019, 10:24 AM   #4
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As we've made the 13,000 mile round-trip from GA to Manitoba, across Canada to Dawson City, YK...and thru Chicken, AK to Tok, to Fairbanks, down thru Denali, to Anchorage, down to Whittier(Beautiful!), thru the 2 1/2 mile train/vehicle tunnel!, to walk on Byron Glacier!, and back out around the southern loop, thru BC and Calgary, AB into MONTANA, and IDAHO and across the western states back to GA...

I can assure you that just because you don't go into the 'interior' of Alaska that you can't have a GREAT trip and see a LOT of amazing views and scenery, ESPECIALLY in British Columbia!

No worries!
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Old 01-19-2019, 10:26 AM   #5
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oh, and by the way... not a single advance reservation for the whole two month trip... no issues to find a campground or rv park or roadside overnight.
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Old 01-19-2019, 10:57 AM   #6
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Hyder is an interesting place. Mostly an anomaly, though. Even though it's in AK, the people there think they are Canadians until it's time to file for the Permanent Fund Dividend. The population ranges from 30 to 70 depending who's there that day, or who's staying in Stewart BC any given week. Decent place to hunt and fish, but mainly a tourist trap. Can't fault them for that as it's the only thing they got going for the them.
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Old 01-19-2019, 11:08 AM   #7
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I think they are sponsored by the US Sticker Map. If you want to fill your map only applying stickers for states your RV actually camped in then Hyder is the shortest drive to accomplish AK.
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Old 01-19-2019, 02:05 PM   #8
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Hyder is nothing like the 'real' Alaska. It is an almost empty town with most businesses closed when we were there. Went there last week of July a few years ago and there weren't even any fish for the few bears we saw. And the only decent campground was across the border in Stewart, BC. If you are going to go all the way from Texas, you might as well bite the bullet and take the Alaska Hiway to Alaska and return on the Cassiar Hiway through Hyder.
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Old 01-19-2019, 02:35 PM   #9
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We have been to Alaska proper for two months and on the way back camped at Stewart and crossed the border to Hyder. Now while one is in Alaska at Hyder, there is almost no where to go. Yes Fish Creek is worth seeing and so is the glacier and the Gold mine but that is about it. The Glacier is about 30 miles north on the road from the community of Hyder (almost nothing there) but ends a little further north. The option would be to head for Hyder and then when you are dissapointed, continue on up the Cassier Highway, though the Yukon and to Alaska. Make it a once in a Lifetime trip. If you are going to do it, do it right. PS When you get to Alaska stop at an info centre and buy a Coupon book if they still sell them. They are $100.00 but have coupons for 2 for one almost everywhere. We took tours, Glacier trips, cruises in the Fjords and even Halibut fishing. With that $100.00 we save over $600.00 on our sightseeing adventures in Alaska
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Old 01-19-2019, 02:38 PM   #10
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If you are going to Alaska I highly recommend taking the Alaskan highway. We went in 2016 and the Alaskan highway was one of the highlights of the trip. Alaska itself of course was great also, but the wildlife and views along the Alaskan highway are fantastic. It seems like it would be a shame to go to Alaska and miss out on this awesome road trip. It is a lot of driving but worth it if you are going up there anyway.
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Old 01-19-2019, 03:22 PM   #11
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I agree with Dahagen, why go all that way just to see a tip of Alaska? We just did Alaska over 6 weeks this past summer, had a blast! Alaskan Highway to Fairbanks, down through Denali, Anchorage, Kenai Peninsula, ferry to Juneau then ferry again to Prince Rupert and back through Vancouver. 9k miles total, lots of wildilfe and beautiful scenery, but we like driving.
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Old 01-19-2019, 03:23 PM   #12
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I have been to Hyder. Not much is there. I think if you are planning on seeing “the real Alaska” if Hyder is your one and only point you will be sadly disappointed in the long travel.
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Old 01-19-2019, 03:24 PM   #13
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We’ve done this this twice from White Rock BC just north of Seattle. You really can’t compare the Denali experience with the Stewart Hyderabad experience. Two totally different things. We did the Alaska Hwy north to Tok over to Anchorage, a week on the Kenai Peninsula, North through Denali all the way to Deadhorse on the Arctic Ocean , back through Fairbanks,Dawson City and then back out Hwy 37 via Hyderabad/ Stewart and back home the first trip. The second one we excluded the Kenai , but went down to Valdez, did the Demoster Hwy to Inuvik and back on our return through Dawson and again did 37 south. We plan on 2 months minimum to do these trips from where we are located.
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Old 01-19-2019, 04:23 PM   #14
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We went to Anchorage and Fairbanks in 2016, made reservations at several places which we discovered weren't really necessary. You should really think about going further than Hyder. Homer and Denali are must sees. Salmon run starts June 11ish in Russian River.
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Old 01-19-2019, 05:06 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spock123 View Post
We hope to go this year, ride the Alaska Highway up and take Highway 37 back. I want to visit Hyder, so the salmon are running in late July. I sure would like to see the bears fishing. On our way back I plan on visiting Dawson City and ride Top of the World Highway with just my truck. Are y’all making reservations or just going with no reservations. We went to Alaska in 17, we had a little trouble with our truck, other than that it was awesome


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Top of the world highway 2018..took the ferry across Yukon river to Dawson City.. Awesome!!
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Old 01-19-2019, 05:18 PM   #16
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Alaska Trip

Hi Hbill, We live in Denton and made our second trip to Alaska last summer. My wife and I led a caravan to twenty rigs on the two month trip. We lost one rig in Calgary as the DW developed a heart problem. The other 19 made the loop. We started in Shelby, Mt. We to Calgary, Banff and Jasper before Dawson Creek. We left DC on the 23rd of May and spent 63 days going up and down the Alcan and around the Alaska counterclockwise loop. If you are interested email me at pmsto@peoplepc.com and I will send you some information. The some of the group is holding a reunion in June and using it as the starting point for a trip along the Canadian Border and northern states on the way to Acadia National Park in Maine. By the way, if you want to shorten the trip, skip Glacier N.P. Not as much there as the hype and you will see it all in two days if you do go. We camped in the park for four days in 2017 and were ready to leave on he second day.
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Old 01-19-2019, 05:35 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by dahagen View Post
Hyder is nothing like the 'real' Alaska. It is an almost empty town with most businesses closed when we were there. Went there last week of July a few years ago and there weren't even any fish for the few bears we saw. And the only decent campground was across the border in Stewart, BC. If you are going to go all the way from Texas, you might as well bite the bullet and take the Alaska Hiway to Alaska and return on the Cassiar Hiway through Hyder.
Agree. Hyder is less than 1/100th of 1% of Alaska. If that is all you want to claim an Alaskan experience I won't fine fault with you, but your "Alaska Trip" will deserve an asterisk.
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Old 01-19-2019, 05:41 PM   #18
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alaska trip

That is on my schedule for 2020.
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Old 01-19-2019, 05:55 PM   #19
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Why cheat yourself out of a great trip to the interior? A lot of driving? Absolutely. You could avoid that by staying home. I enjoyed driving every single mile of our 13,000 mile, 3 month trip trip in 2017 including the white knuckle drive over the Top of the World, the various “moonscape” road conditions with roads being repaired, the breathtaking views around every corner, the absolute solitude of being on a virtually occupied 350 mile stretch of highway, the terrifying steep grades particularly in British Columbia, the surreal sensation of seeing a bizarre landscape of burnt forest. But I could go on. Oh, if I could only do it again.
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Old 01-19-2019, 08:04 PM   #20
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We made reservations for one campground in Seward at a military campground. The city campground in Seward is better. We didn’t drive the Top of the World Highway, the question is would you take a Cedar Creek fifth wheel to Chicken. We drove to Chicken on our truck from Tok and the road from Tok went from bad to worse. I can buy discounted tickets at military facilities. I want to visit Homer and Haines and the ferry to Skagway.
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