Fair Harbour is located northwest of Zeballos, on the eastern shore of Kyuquot Sound on the northern west coast of Vancouver Island.
The closest community to Fair Harbour is the remote native Indian village of Kyuquot. The area is steeped in the history and culture of the Nuu-chah-nulth Indian Peoples, and ancient village sites, middens, and fallen totem poles are found in the area.
Services in Fair Harbour include a government dock, a boat launch ramp and a Forest Service campsite with 15 campsites with fire pits, picnic tables and outhouses. There is no drinking water nearby. There is an on-site caretaker during the summer months. Fair Harbour Marina and Campground operates a campground, small store, marina, fuel dock, and a supervised parking area.
Location: Fair Harbour is located about 22 miles (35 km) northwest of Zeballos, which lies about 26 miles (42 km) west of Highway 19. Access to Fair Harbour is on gravel logging roads.
Kayaking: The federal dock in Fair Harbour is the launching point for exploring Kyuquot Sound, Checleset Bay Ecological Reserve, and Brooks Peninsula / Muquin Provincial Park. This is a vast, windswept, sea-sprayed section of Vancouver Island’s northwest coast. The snout of Brooks Peninsula offers some protection for Checleset Bay from the winter storms that blow south from the Gulf of Alaska. Sea kayakers should beware the fury of the winds and surf that build around its protruding bulk, especially at Cape Cook and Clerke Point. The rewards for making the journey are the solitude provided by the surroundings and the sight of magnificent stands of Sitka spruce, the only species of tree able to thrive under the constant salt- and magnesium-loaded spindrift that the winds whip from the tops of the swells and carry ashore in the breeze.
In the sheltering forest, marbled murrelets nest in the deep moss that enshrouds the thick branches of the spruce. Herds of Roosevelt elk graze in the lush, green understorey, while black bears forage in the berry-laden bushes. If you are among the few visitors who make their way here each year, you will be treated to one of the last remaining environments on the west coast where logging has been held mercifully at bay. Brooks Peninsula Provincial Park is huge, 127,528 acres (51,631 hectares) of wilderness that is best explored with the help of a guide.
Diving: Trips to Rugged Point Marine Provincial Park can be arranged out of Fair Harbour. The park is located on the eastern shore of Kyuquot Channel, approximately 35 km west of the town of Zeballos. This remote wilderness area offers magnificent scenery, challenging hiking trail and preserves one of the most beautiful stretches of beach on the entire west coast. Experienced kayakers and ocean paddlers launch from Fair Harbour to set off down Kyuquot Channel to explore the isolated waters around Rugged Point Provincial Park. Wilderness camping, swimming and fishing are added attractions of the park.
Fair Harbour also provides access to the wilderness Tahsish-Kwois Provincial Park at the head of Kyuquot Sound. The park features old growth forests and steep forested slopes leading to rugged mountains and spectacular karst features. Adventurers that undertake a kayak or hiking trip to the park are rewarded with magnificent scenery, pristine lakes and forests of giant Sitka spruce and western hemlock. Principal access to the park is by small boat or kayak from Kyuquot or Fair Harbour.
The only road access to Kyuquot Sound is at Fair Harbour. The sound is a wilderness area except for a number of logging camps, and Kyuquot Village, the northernmost of the 14 Nuu-chah-nulth First Nation bands.
The village of Kyuquot is home to 300 Natives and others, whose homes are built into the forest above the tideline. To turn into a small bay and find civilization after rocking and rolling for several hours in open water heightens Kyuquot’s value. Much of the architecture here is identifiably Canadian West Coast style: modern and well kept, a testimony to good years in the fishing industry. Despite the overwhelming sense a visitor feels that the logging industry is the only employer around, brought on by endless patches of clear-cut on all sides coupled with an absence of other marine traffic, fishing is the predominant vocation in Kyuquot. Here on Walters Island, in a series of small bays just beyond reach of the spirits of wind and water, people have sheltered and drawn a living from the ocean for generations. In recent years, with the fishing season becoming more limited, tourism is seen by some residents as a viable alternative profession. Kyuquot village has a bed and breakfast, motel and restaurant, a general store, a Red Cross medical clinic, phone service, boat charters and a water taxi.
The closest commercial centre and telephone by road is in the community of Zeballos, 35 km southeast of Fair Harbour and 39km from Highway 19, a 1 km detour on the road between Fair Harbour and Highway 19. Take the left fork about 5 km before reaching Zeballos, then pick up the Fair Harbour road again across the bridge at the outside of town. The road west of Highway 19 is BC Forest Service access road, usually well-maintained gravel.
For a gripping description of wilderness hiking in Kyuquot Sound, read Written by the Wind by Randy Stoltmann, the late environmentalist.