RTWPaul: Chasing Glaciers, In Canada

The great riding in Western Alberta and British Columbia is pure pleasure for any motorcycle, be it on road or off road.

A nominal entry fee to get into the National Park in the area of Icefields Parkway can keep you enthralled for days and days.  The mountain vistas are simply spectacular and in some areas glaciers are so close you feel you can touch them even though you are miles away they are so huge.

There are obvious options how to ride this area, but I’m going to suggest you ride it a very particular way so you can save the best for last.

 

Banff

Banff should be your jump off point, this is the last place you can get a great selection of supplies if you are looking to camp as you head north.

There will be a selection of smaller glaciers to look at as you’re riding but the first major one you will come to is the Athabasca Glacier. A little further north you will get a good long distance view of the Stutfield Glacier.

Just south of Jasper if you feel like stretching your legs you can take a short hike to Angel Glacier to the west of the Parkway.

A little more time off the bike and longer hike but a much better view of a glacier will take you to Robson Glacier, some camping maybe required depending on when you arrive and the speed you can hike. Best not to rush and make the most of it and do an over night in your tent.

Your direction now will take you to Prince George and a good place to restock for the ride west. Towards Hyder, Alaska.

The first 600 km out of Prince George will take you through lush plains and high mountains with perfect pavement, sweeping curves to lean your bike into and just enjoy the scenery.

At the intersection of the 16 and 37 there is a fuel station at the start of the Stewart-Cassiar Highway, make sure you fill you bike to the brim here. Fuel availability from here onwards is not abundant.

The next intersection you have two options, right to Alsaka…all of it! Or left to Hyder Alaska, a very small town that has a strange infamous tradition, and the souther n most potion of the state. Along this road you’ll also pass very closely to another glacier, this one is called Bear Glacier

In Hyder there is a bar, the Glacier Inn, yes it’s called glacier and yes you can have a look or partake in the ritual of downing a shot 150 proof liquor to not lose a bet, and this is where most riders stop, and then turn back and head further north.

This is a shame for so many as they are just a short 45 minute/ 35km ride away from one of the most amazing natural wonders you can see, and it’s free…the Salmon Glacier.

Entering Hyder you have no choice but to cross back into the USA, there is a border here but no one to check your passport, the Canadians deal with that when you return, because you are heading down a dead end road.

Within a few km’s the road will turn to dirt, very very easy graded dirt that any motorcycle with any type of tires could ride. With a matter of minutes you will pass a sign for British Columbia Canada, you’ve just crossed a border; there is no one there to check passports, just keep on riding.

The road will elevate and then you will see it, the Salmon Glacier will be stretched out in front of you. The further you ride the better the view will get. The absolute best view is at 56.169076, -130.051361, it is simply breathtaking.

While you are standing taking it in always be aware that you are in Grizzly Bear territory so have you wits about you.

A ride further up the road will give some more impressive views and fewer crowds if you are looking to get a photo of the remoteness.

The ride here cannot be emphasized enough that it is a must see, to get this kind of view you would normally have to go on a cruise to get this kind of amazing view.

The sad part is the weather can block the view on a regular basis, do yourself a favor if the weather isn’t cooperating wait it out…you will not be disappointed.

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