The Sawmill Trail

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

The Sawmill Trail can be found at the top of Old River Road on the North side of the Bayfield River. Here one can experience quite varied terrain, the changes from flood plain to coniferous forest and the telltale signs of abundant wildlife. When the Bayfield River Valley Trail Association first began working on the 2 Km hiking trail, the work crew came to learn of the important role the Sawmill Trail area played in the development of the community and of romantic stories of ghosts, fires, floods and failed romance.

The path to the river is on the original pioneer corduroy road from Bayfield to Goderich that led to the first crossing point or fork in the river at the place they called the “Hogsback”. It is likely that this was a very busy crossing, used for centuries before European settlers came to this area. As you walk on the relatively steep hill, it is easy to appreciate how the pioneers carried their goods and grain on their backs up this slope on their way north.

Across the river on the south side amongst the underbrush, you can still make out the Thomson Mill ruins. Before it was destroyed by fire, this combination Grist and Sawmill was the most prosperous business in the area.