June 14, 2024

Exploring the Terrace area one adventure at a time

Discover the WOW of Terrace through the eyes of our Tourism Terrace summer students. The Epic Tales blog highlights hidden gems, extraordinary experiences and the real-life adventures of our summer students exploring the Skeena Valley.

Stewart + Hyder

May long weekend, what many Terracites consider to be the first BIG camping weekend of the year. It is a weekend that holds so much promise of adventure and the great outdoors. This year my friends and I wanted to take advantage of the time off to travel to somewhere close that still felt like a vacation, so we decided on Stewart BC, and Hyder Alaska. This is one of my favourite things about Terrace, there is so much to do here, AND it is also the perfect home base for day trips or weekend getaways.

Day 1

We hit the road in the morning, stopping at a few pretty spots along the way such as Meziadin Lake, and a small waterfall just passed Meziadin Junction. The highway from Meziadin junction to Stewart was stunning! We were lucky to have a sunny clear sky, so the mountains were jaw dropping.

The drive only got prettier as heading into Stewart the mountainsides were dotted with waterfalls. For a moment I felt like I had been transported to New Zealand!

Early afternoon we arrived at Clements Lake Recreation Site and set up our tent before having a quick lunch. Clements Lake is gorgeous, with a backdrop of mountains, and numerous species of birds swooping across the water.

For our first hike, we decided on Sluice Box, an easy-moderate trail with lots of little waterfalls. It was the perfect short hike to fit in that afternoon. It allowed us enough time to also walk the Estuary boardwalk in Stewart. Once again I was surprised with the number and variety of birds on the Estuary. Next time I go to Stewart I think I could go solely for a bird watching trip.

Post hike we returned to Clements lake for a swim, a perfect and refreshing way to end the day- followed by a hot dog roast and s’mores.

Day 2

We popped into Stewart for breakfast at Trudy’s Temptations Bakery & Deli, where we received fantastic service from Trudy herself. The food was delicious, and fueled us up for our next hike- to the first viewpoint of the United Empire Trail. We met some friendly locals at the viewpoint and chatted for a while. A big takeaway from Stewart BC is that the people are truly so friendly.

The same goes for Hyder, “The friendliest Ghost Town in Alaska.” Everyone we encountered was so welcoming.

In Hyder, our big adventure was driving up the road to view Salmon Glacier. Unfortunately, at the end of the road there was too much snow, so we couldn’t reach the iconic Salmon Glacier viewpoint. We did, however, see it from further down the road at the first viewpoint, so the trip was not a waste! Another fun moment on that road was seeing a marmot munching on some grass.

On the drive back through Hyder, we took a small detour to the dock overlooking the ocean. In one spot, the locals put up at least a dozen birdhouses on posts. A few birds were swooping around and landing on them. It was a neat spot!

Our last stop for the day was probably the best adventure of the entire trip. We drove back across the border, through Stewart, to Bear Glacier. We hiked around Strohn Lake, closer to the bottom of the glacier, and got a fantastic view. I can’t describe how massive and stunning the mountains were from our viewpoint. After hiking closer to the glacier and stopping by a waterfall, we were surprised by a mysterious white blob up on the cliffs. Some say it looked like a kermode bear, others insist it is a goat. In the picture it really just looks like a white blob so I will leave it up to you, dear reader, to decide for yourself whether we saw an elusive spirit bear, or lone billy up on the ridge.

Day 3

We started the morning off with a quick paddle around Clements Lake, before packing up the camp and hitting the road. Paddling around the lake early in the morning to birdsong was so relaxing. It was the perfect end to a perfect weekend getaway.

The biggest takeaways from my travels to Stewart are that yes, there are a lot of bears out and about as you drive the highway. Up in the north, expect to see a lot of wildlife! Who knows, you might even see a kermode bear… or a mountain goat. The friendly vibe of Stewart and Hyder is something else that will keep me coming back. And finally, the hundreds of waterfalls we saw coming down from the mountains were magnificent. The wet climate makes everything so green and wild and alive. So I am thanking my lucky stars that I live in Terrace and have the privilege of being able to visit communities like Stewart and Hyder on the weekend. It was a trip to remember.

Blog by Caelyn Christensen

Tourism Terrace Summer Student

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