Stewart, British Columbia is a small border town located in spectacular northwestern BC across from Alaska's Misty Fjords National Park. Situated at the end of the Portland Canal, this natural fjord extends from the open seas of the Pacific Ocean via Portland Inlet at Pearse Island, 115 km (71 mi) northward to Stewart, British Columbia, and Hyder, Alaska.
The area around Stewart, including Meziadin Lake Provincial Park east of Stewart, offers stunning views and an abundance of outdoor activities for every age and enthusiast. Fishing, wildlife, hiking, glaciers, heli-tours and even golf are all found in the Stewart area.
The town of Stewart has many buildings dating back to the mining and Gold Rush days of the early 1900s, and visitors can take a self-guided historical tour of the town.
From the major northern city of Prince George, British Columbia, Stewart is 700 km (435 mi) west and north via the Yellowhead Hwy 16 and the Stewart-Cassiar Hwy 37. Once on Hwy 37,visitors will travel 156 km (97 mi) north until the turn off onto Glacier Hwy/Stewart Hwy 37A. Stewart is a further 60 km (37 mi). The drive from Prince George to Stewart is approximately 8.5 hours.
Take a charter fishing boat from Stewart to catch Pacific salmon and halibut. Or fish for prawns, shrimp and crab. Saltwater fishing doesn't get any better up here! For those who like to do some freshwater fishing, Meziadin Lake Provincial Park is known for its Rainbow trout and Dolly Varden. In late summer, spawning sockeye salmon make their way up nearby creeks.
Set against the spectacular backdrop of Mt. Rainey, visitors to Stewart's Mt. Rainey Golf Facility can enjoy a fun and free round of golf on the par 3 course - the only golf facility within 300 km (186 mi). Clubs and balls are available.
Grizzly and black bears are a popular sight in the area around Stewart. A bear viewing platform is located in nearby Hyder, Alaska. This offers visitors a truly amazing glimpse of bears catching salmon as they travel upstream.
While bears are in abundance in the area, eagles, mountain goats, and whale watching are all there for the ardent wildlife viewer.
Hwy 37A into Stewart isn't called the Glacier Hwy for nothing! On the drive into town visitors will be able to see Bear Glacier. Another spectacular sight is the Salmon Glacier 37 km (23 mi) drive from Stewart, past Hyder, Alaska and beyond the bear viewing platform.
Helicopter companies based in Stewart offer tours that showcase the stunning landscape of this area of Northwestern British Columbia.
Deep-powder enthusiasts come to Stewart each year to board a helicopter and make fresh tracks in Stewart's endless mountain terrain. Heli-skiing provides an incredible mountain adventure for intermediate to advanced skiers.
The dense snowpack around Stewart makes the area popular for snowmobiling enthusiasts.
The Stewart, British Columbia area has been inhabited by First Nations for thousands of years. The first explorer to the area was Captain George Vancouver who travelled here in 1793 and gave the Portland Canal its name in honour of William Cavendish-Bentinck, 3rd Duke of Portland.
The Portland Canal was again explored in 1896 by United States Army Corps of Engineers, Captain D.D. Gaillard. Two years after his visit, the first pioneers arrived. The Stewart brothers arrived in 1902, after who the town of Stewart was named.
The Gold Rush brought thousands of prospectors and families to the area around the turn of the 20th century. Mines were developed, a train line built to carry the ore and the area thrived. However, with the lack of a main highway out of the area, it eventually declined. However, mining and forestry as well as tourism thrive in the area today with Stewart offering excellent port facilities. Today some 400 residents live in Stewart.
The Stewart Historical Museum provides a glimpse of the town's past. Visitors can pick up a brochure and take a Walking Tour of Historic Houses and Buildings.
District of Stewart
Background Photo Credit: Destination British Columbia