The two main arteries that link British Columbia to the Yukon and Alaska are famous ? or infamous ? as destinations in their own right. Whether you choose the Stewart-Cassiar, aka Highway 37 ? the ?Cassy', or the Alaska Highway, 97, you're assured a scenic trip and generally, all sorts of unexpected excitement. Every year the routes see improvement, and where awhile back long stretches were rough gravel, expect to make the trip in mostly-paved comfort. Be prepared for bounding black bears, mud-slides, forest fire closures and plan to get gas whenever you can. With miles between fueling-up points and irregular service station hours, most travelers end up with some exciting tale to tell about surviving the route.
That said, this is one road trip that no one should miss. Parks appear with infrequency along both routes, though 97 rewards travelers nearly to Watson Lake with a relaxing soak at Liard River Hot Springs Provincial Park ? just make sure you pull in before the gates close!
For travelers bound not north but west for Prince Rupert and the Queen Charlotte Islands, your road branches just after New Hazleton for the Pacific. Prince Rupert, a port city, has a harbor perfect for wandering and a handful of historic sites to be seen before setting sail for the islands nearby. The Queen Charlotte Islands (150 of them) are located west of Prince Rupert and just below Alaska's southernmost islands. Take the time to watch for eagles at Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve and explore the archaeological remains of ancient island inhabitants.
The Cassy is 450 miles long, starting west of New Hazelton and running roughly north to Watson Lake where it intersects with the Alaska Highway. The Alaska Highway starts in Dawson Creek and stretches for 1421 miles to Delta Junction, Alaska, with access to Anchorage or Fairbanks.