Bill’sTrail, Stowe Creek Trail, and Cottonwood Loop are trails managed by Sayward Futures Society through contract with BC Ministry of Forests Recreation Sites and Trails. The following rules apply (excerpts from Forest Recreation Sites and Trails Information pamphlet)
Thousands of people visit our forests every day looking for places to hike, fish or camp. They bring with them a wide diversity of interests and needs. In order to meet the needs of as many people as possible, some common sense rules have been established under the Forest and Range Practices Act.
Please remember... Operate your vehicle or bicycle carefully, so you don't damage facilities or natural resources; park your vehicle or equipment so it doesn't block any roads, sites, or trails Pack out your garbage! If a container is provided, you may deposit garbage that has accumulated while using a site or trail. Pets. A person responsible for a pet must ensure the pet does not: disturb other persons or animals; or present a threat to their person’s property or to the life or safety of other persons or animals. The rules concerning the use of recreation sites, recreation trails, and interpretive forest sites are established in the Forest Recreation Regulation of the Forest and Range Practices Act. A person who contravenes these regulations commits an offence.
WATER: CARRY YOUR OWN DRINKING WATER. DO NOT CONTAMINATE THE STREAMS. THEY PROVIDE DRINKING WATER FOR SOME RESIDENTS.
Hike #1.Bill’s Trail
Access: Leave Highway 19 at Sayward Junction, towards the Village of Sayward. 5 K to Sabre Rd. Go up Sabre Rd. to where it doglegs. Turn left onto gravel road 100 meters and see trail sign “Bill’s Trail”. Elevation 59 m. First 1.5 km: steep, elevation gain 381m. Features: 1/2 km from trailhead: foot bridge/ Squarehead Loop (short).1.2 km: Cottonwood Loop Junction possible option, see Hike #2. 1.5 km: first viewpoint. Next 4.0 km: Rough, steep, easy cliffs, possible snow. No water. Elevation gain 1092 m. There are many lookout spots and fun climbing places. After using a short section of old logging road and climbing through more second growth forest, you arrive at the old growth forest at about 1000 m. elevation. After three steep grinds you climb onto a big, bare rock from which you can see Keta Lake. You are now at 1270 m elevation. A short distance above is the Springer Creek Trail junction. Options: either turn right to the lake (Bill’s Trail, Kusam Klimb route), or go up to Springer Peak, elevation 1611m. Not a managed trail. Panoramic views of Johnstone Strait and Salmon River Valley. To lake: continue on Bill’s Trail. Watch for a big, bare rock on the right- great viewpoint, elevation 1440 m. You will be able to see the col (mountain pass) ahead, an alpine lake below the col and a spectacular view of the Salmon River Valley. It is a short (400 m) steep descent down to the lake at 1353 m. From the lake a 700m takes you steadily up to the pass, Total distance from trailhead: 5.5 km. Elevation 1491 m. At this point you may decide to return by the same route, or continue into the Stowe Creek watershed and trail system. (See Hike #3 description for description of access from the other end.) Keep to the centre of the gully as the trail from the top drops quickly within another old growth section. Always keeping the creek on your left, you will descend 2.6 km steeply to a single log bridge into an open area. On the way, watch for the trail logbook in a wooden box near a waterfall and leave your feedback about the trails. The trail becomes noticeably less steep as it follows an old logging road, switch-backing down and crossing the creek. You will come to a ‘parking lot’ terminus of the Stowe Cr. Main logging road. Elevation loss from pass: 732 m. Total distance traveled from Trailhead: 10.5 km. Some people drive in to this point from the highway to explore the Stowe Creek Trail system. (See below)If you are hiking out, follow a 4x4 deactivated gravel logging road. The first switchback at 400 meters is very loose: proceed around this corner with caution. There are about 110 of dipsy doodles (or cross cuts in the road made by culvert removal). Vehicle traffic Hazard. Elevation loss 482 km Distance from trailhead: 15.5 km. You will arrive at a junction. Follow “Stowe Creek 300”, a nearly level trail. The route follows a “no access” logging road. It is wide and grassy with several creek crossings. Creek levels will vary. Distance: 2.5 km. Watch for the signs designating the Cottonwood Loop/Cottonwood Connecter Junction.Option 1:Return to Bill’s Trail, via Cottonwood Loop to just below the first view point on Bill’s Trail and follow Bill’s Trail down 1.25 km to the Trailhead. Option 2: the route of the Kusam Klimb endurance event, follow the trail to the left, proceed on Cottonwood Connecter, (see lst portion of Hike #2, Cottonwood Loop)
Hike #2: Cottonwood Loop: popular local walk
Park one vehicle at the trailhead and another at the top of the logging road above Cottonwood Rd., to do this loop in about two hours. Start at Bill’s Trail. Follow the sign onto the Cottonwood Loop. You will go generally downhill the rest of the way. Watch for an extremely sharp turn at Cottonwood Connector Junction, which will take you down a big creek. Cross the creek, climb up the steep ravine and shortly you will be on the logging road, which connects to Cottonwood Rd. and Ryan’s Rd.
Hike #3: Stowe Creek Trail. and the peak of H’Kusam Mountain
Access: Leave Highway 19 at Timber Rd. Drive carefully straight through the Dyer Logging yard and turn left at the back through an old open gate and proceed up the hill- 4 miles, 100 cross-ditches. You NEED four wheel drive and good clearance. After fording Stowe Creek, continue a short distance to a big parking area. (Your own risk). Stowe Creek trail begins past the boulders. Follow well-groomed trail for 2.4 km to the old growth forest. Start into a narrow trail by crossing a log bridge over Stowe Creek. # Continue up this creek to the place near a waterfall where a wooden box contains a trail logbook.Option 1.To the right is the steep connector through old growth to the col and lake described under Bill’s Trail. Distance to trailhead by Sabre Rd.: Option 2. Straight ahead is a short bit of trail that takes you above the waterfall to the start of climbing Mt. H’Kusam peak. Follow the creek up, go up past huge boulders, go left around some thick stunted brush, and soon find yourself looking at a snow-filled ‘crater’ There are two options. To the right, is the long but safe route. Go up and around to the left behind a peak. (Notice signs of the old forest fire). Or, to the left, is the short but dangerous route- a steep climb up a gully with loose broken rock. Be very careful not to kick rocks down onto your friends! Above this point are a cairn and two brass survey markers.
This is bear country!
Be Bear Aware
Use caution. Respect the animals in their natural environment. It can be a good idea to carry ‘bangers’ or spray.