The friendly village of Sayward is cradled in the verdant Sayward Valley at the mouth of the Salmon River as it flows into picturesque Port of Kelsey Bay.
Sayward welcomes visitors looking to catch a breath of clean, fresh air. The main road into the village meanders through the lush valley bottom, surrounded by a tranquil pastoral landscape which is met in dramatic fashion with the steep sides of the surrounding mountains, before it gives way to the open vistas of the coast, dominated by the Salmon River, Kelsey Bay and Mount H’Kusam.
Despite the village’s small population base of 400 inhabitants, there is a lot to see and do. One of the most popular tourist attractions is the Cable Cookhouse, a steel-framed building wrapped with 8,200 feet (2,700 metres) of wire cable weighing 26 tons, located on the east side of the one-lane bridge on Sayward Road.
Take in the natural surroundings by visiting the World’s Largest Yellow Cedar, hiking the 8km Dalrymple Creek Trail with interpretive signs along the path, visiting the Salmon River Wildlife Reserve, taking part in the Kusam Klimb Challenge, taking a romantic picnic while viewing Mounts Romeo and Juliet, and walking along Kelsey Bay which was once home to the southern terminus of the BC Ferries’ Inside Passage Route. Nearby, Mount Cain offers skiing and snowboarding in the winter months.
Originally called Port Kusum, Sayward is a relatively old community by Vancouver Island standards. First established in the 1890s, settlers began arriving by boat and pushed inland, spreading into the lush valley. Logging has been a major part of Sayward’s history with railroad logging being a major industry from 1904 to 1914 and again starting in 1937. These rail beds are now Sayward’s major transportation arteries, and antique logging equipment is featured throughout the town and in the forests beyond.
The original inhabitants were sustained by the abundance of their natural environment. Elk, bear, and other wildlife were plentiful, and the rivers teemed with steelhead and trout. That hasn’t changed much to this day, as hunting and fly fishing are still extremely popular.
This is nature and the North Island at its best. In Sayward, nature truly is right outside the door.