The village of Sayward is located 75 km (47 miles) north of Campbell
River and 123 km (77 miles) south of Port
McNeill. Sayward was established in the 1890's on the shores
of Johnstone Strait near the mouth of the Salmon River. Sayward
has served as a post office, a BC Ferries terminal at Kelsey Bay
until 1978 and a trading centre for north-central Vancouver Island
and other BC coastal communities.
To get here travel on Hwy 1 and later on Hwy 19 from different locations
on Vancouver Island. Sayward is located east off Hwy 19 by approximately
11 km (7 miles) through the beautiful Salmon River Valley on Sayward
The junction point into Sayward is where you'll find the always
friendly and helpful Sayward Junction Gas Station. Also located
at the small settlement of Sayward Junction and next door to the
service station is the Cypress Tree Inn Pub & Restaurant. The
pub section serves generous portions of food and features old photographs
of Sayward history The restaurant serves a reasonably priced breakfast
special and offers a good dinner selection.
The geographical terrain when you enter Sayward is one of a small
valley along the Salmon River with some agricultural activity. Once
you're on the Sayward Road past the junction point you'll cross
over the Salmon River Bridge. The old Cable Cookhouse can be found
just past the Salmon River Bridge as you enter Sayward Road from
Sayward Junction Gas Station.
The primary industry in Sayward revolves around the forest with
logging being the number one activity. Other economic means of the
approximately 1,500 population in the Sayward Valley includes retirees,
artists, some agriculture, eco-tourism as well as whale watching
at Robson Bight and some limited commercial fishing and dock facilities
at nearby Kelsey Bay.
Original Cable Cookhouse
Housed in a steel-framed building that has been made from coiling
used steel skyline logging cables, this café is one of a
kind. Surrounded by antique logging equipment, The Original Cable
Cookhouse has offered home-style food in this very unique setting
since the 1970's. Make sure you make the time to view a small nature
park located on the property that showcases a very old steam donkey.
The Sayward Road follows the road across the Salmon River Estuary
to the community of Sayward. Sayward sits on the edge of a slight
hill facing east towards Johnstone Strait. The road into town goes
past some a small mall with the regional library, houses and apartments
to the main area of Sayward.
Village Centre Campground
Just past the shut down Sayward Foods is where the Sayward Village
Centre Campground is situated. The campground is conveniently near
the park, playground and estuary nature trail. The Sayward Village
Centre Campground is reasonably priced has potable water, sani-dump,
toilets and picnic area. Operated by the Village of Sayward please
telephone (250) 282-5512 for more information.
Continuing along the waterfront road you'll come to the wharf and
dock facilities of Kelsey Bay. Once at the end of the road you'll
find the marina and government docks along with a very beautiful
view of the harbour towards Johnstone Strait. The mountain rising
in behind the valley to the south-west is Hkusam Mountain.
With an elevation of 1,645 m (5,397 feet) Hkusam Mountain is situated
10 km (6 miles) south-east of Kelsey Bay. Standing proudly in the
background of the harbour, Hkusam Mountain offers a great hike up
to the top. From here you can find excellent easterly views of Johnstone
Strait, Hardwicke Island and the Coast Mountains of mainland British
Columbia plus south-west views of the Salmon River and valley below.
Other places and services that you might want to visit while entering
Sayward include Camp "F" Shop, The Heritage Hall, Royal
Canadian Legion Branch #147, plus a small medical clinic all located
and Snowboard Mt. Cain
Heading north on Hwy 19 from Sayward and situated just south of
Woss is where you can find access to Mt.
Cain, one of Vancouver Island's highest peaks at a 1,804 metres
(5,920 feet) elevation. At Mt. Cain you can find the ultimate winter
getaway for excellent skiing and snowboarding. Then, in the summer,
there is great hiking and some mountain biking along some backcountry
Klimb Mountain Endurance Event
One annual event that will test your strength is the hike up Hkusam
Mountain is called the Kusam Klimb Mountain Endurance Event. This
takes place in June and the event involves a circle route up and
around Hkusam Mountain about 23 km (14.5 miles).
A couple of other Sayward events include the annual garden tour
and the 'Art in the Park' celebration which happens on the first
Sunday in July. Then on the first weekend in October is the Harvest
Other interesting walks around Sayward and Kelsey Bay include the
Village View route found behind the Kelsey Recreation Centre, the
Wildlife View Trail found near the Salmon River Inn and the Mary
Kelly Trail that takes you through a loop near Kelsey Bay.
For wildlife watching and taking camera shots, you might want to
have a look at the Sayward Estuary located in Kelsey Bay. Located
at the mouth of the Salmon River, the estuary contains various numbers
of different species of birds plus other wildlife intermixed throughout
meandering trails in a beautiful natural environment.
You can find camping available at the Elk Creek rustic campground
found north of Sayward Junction on Hwy 19 near the Salmon River.
At K'husam Park there is a public campground with limited services
available. White River Court Campground is located at Old Island
Highway. There is also a small campground situated next to the Kelsey
For a favourite, try the Sayward Valley Resort which features the
Fisherboy Park RV Campground. The Fisherboy offers a clean facility
with tenting sites, a motel plus has a small general store that
features a liquor outlet.
Lake Provincial Park
The closest provincial park to Sayward by vehicle is at Schoen Lake
Provincial Park. This park is considered by some to be the most
beautiful on Vancouver Island with very a very picturesque view
of Mount Schoen rising dramatically out of Schoen Lake. The turnoff
to Schoen Lake is via the gravel Davie Road which is just south
of Woss on Hwy 19. Unfortunately be warned the 13 km (8 miles) gravel
road into Schoen Lake Provincial Park is quite rough and very narrow
River Swimming Hole
For swimming holes there is a small one known as 'Gentries Pool'
situated on the Salmon River. The pool features a white sandy beach
with an area you can swim and snorkel amongst the migrating salmon.
Remember the river can be cold and dangerous plus swimming is at
your own risk. Look for a trail to 'Gentries Pool' near the end
of Gentry Road. Gentry Road is found on the south side of the Sayward
junction on Hwy 19.
Also if you are enjoying the provincial parks and the countryside
around British Columbia, please remember this is Bear Country. Try
to avoid the rivers during heavy salmon spawning times unless you
feel comfortable with bears around and take the usual precautions.
There is also the possibilities of encounters with wolves or cougars
so please play it safe.
If you happen to be driving between Campbell River and Port McNeill
about a 128 km (123 miles) drive, remember that services are limited.
The Sayward Junction Gas is a service station along the route and
the junction towards Kelsey Bay. One area that does have fuel and
help is at the Sayward Junction along Hwy 19.