Hyder – Hyder, Alaska - Atlas Obscura

Hyder

Hyder, Alaska

The easternmost town in Alaska can only be accessed from Canada. 

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The town of Hyder, Alaska is both the geographically easternmost town in Alaska, as well as the southernmost town in Alaska that can be reached by car. However, one cannot drive to Hyder from the rest of Alaska.

Hyder is what is called an “inaccessible district”, or a practical or pene-exclave. The Annals of the Association of American Geographers defines an inaccessible district as “parts of the territory of one country that can be approached conveniently – in particular by wheeled traffic – only through the territory of another country.” There are several famous national-level inaccessible districts around the world, such as the Kleinwalsertal in Vorarlberg, Austria (can only be accessed from Germany), or Os de Civís, Spain (can only be accessed from Andorra).

Because it is so remote from any other census-designated place in the state, Hyder, with a population of about 87, is often lumped in with its Canadian next-door neighbor, Stewart, British Columbia. There are no border controls at the Hyder-Stewart Border Crossing, and the citizens of Hyder are heavily reliant on Canadian services like electricity, food, and emergency services. All establishments in Hyder accept both American and Canadian currency (except for the U.S. Post Office). Hyder even uses British Columbia’s 250 area code instead of Alaska’s 907. And even though Hyder is technically in the Alaska Time Zone, its residents set their clocks to British Columbia’s Pacific Time.

The most major difference between the two towns is probably the fact that almost everyone in Hyder is well-armed, due to looser gun restrictions in the United States than in Canada.

Know Before You Go

If you plan on driving there, you can only go through Canada. There is no border control into Hyder, but to return to Stewart you must go through Canadian customs. 

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  • I rode my motorcycle into Hyder in 2007, and had to stop at the Canadian Border Patrol station on the way back into Canada. They ask the normal CBSA questions - guns, previous arrests, contraband - but like most CBSA stations outside of big cities, it was very low key.