Hey everyone, if you are reading this, you are probably deciding whether you should drive the Alaska Highway (ALCAN) or the Stewart-Cassier Highway on the way to Alaska. The short answer is to drive both as they are both beautiful. I recommend driving the ALCAN up since that is the historic way to get to Alaska and the Stewart-Cassier when you head back. However, if you only have time to drive one, here are some considerations to pick the best route for your trip.

Which route is more scenic? 

This question is like selecting a favorite child; it is hard to pick since they are both so awesome! Stewart-Cassier is probably more scenic in a mile-for-mile comparison. But the ALCAN has some incredible scenic as well, and they are so different. For me, though, the detour to Hyder, Alaska, is one of the most beautiful drives I have ever done. There were waterfalls, lakes, and glaciers; it was next level. I will always remember that short stretch of road, and it made the drive on the Stewart-Cassier for me. That being said, the ALCAN is iconic and has some very scenic and beautiful parts, like Muncho Lake.

Are you interested in history?

ALCAN is the clear winner here. The route is steeped in history, with the development of the road during wartime and the engineering marvel that it was to complete this road so quickly. Plus, there are lots of museums to stop at to learn more about the ALCAN. The Stewart-Cassier is not very developed, so you won’t find many museums or other things on the route. You will see some historical markers with a few sentences of background information at some of the pullouts, though.

Which has more wildlife?

We were repeatedly told that the Stewart-Cassier is the road to drive for wildlife. That being said, we saw one bear during our two days on the Stewart-Cassier and 10+ bears, dozens of bison, caribou, and more on the ALCAN. This one is more subjective, but the Stewart-Cassier is more remote, so you probably have the best chance to see wildlife on that drive.

Which route is more remote?

To piggyback on that last comment, let’s discuss which drive is more remote. While both have very remote sections with limited cell reception and limited facilities, the Stewart-Cassier is probably more remote overall. There are fewer significant stops, towns, and facilities on the Stewart-Cassier. If you are driving an RV or a bigger car, you need to think about where to get gas on both, but more so on the Stewart-Cassier. Let me reiterate: do not pass gas stations on the Stewart-Cassier; you do not want to chance running out.

Which route is longer?

This question depends on where you are coming from. If you are coming from the East Coast, it is probably better to take the ALCAN, while if you are coming from the West Coast, the Stewart-Cassier is better (specifically regarding length). The Stewart-Cassier drive is shorter in mileage by over 100 miles, but the drive time is around the same. The driving is windy and slower on the Stewart-Cassier than on the Alaska Highway. The Alaska Highway is generally more maintained than the Stewart-Cassier, but we didn’t find much difference when we drove them.

What do you not want to miss on each route?

There are three main stops on the ALCAN that you will miss by taking the Stewart-Cassier. Those are Muncho Lake, Signpost Forest, and Liard Hot Springs. If either of these is a must-see, you will want to take the ALCAN. Alternatively, if you want to do the fantastic drive to Hyder, Alaska, then you will miss that if you drive on the ALCAN. Everything is a trade-off, but many people have the Liard Hot Springs very high on their list to see, so that may be the thing that makes your decision for you. You can watch the full video on both road trips to see which appeals to you more with the stops we did.

Now with all of that you decision is as clear as mud right? We just recommend you go on both if you have the chance!

Watch the video above for all the tips and let us know what you think in the comments.