Bay of Pillars


By Ryan, Bo'sun, Wilderness Discoverer

Bay of Pillars is one of my favorite places to spend the day. We visit this bay on the Western Coves itinerary. There is nothing more tantalizing and beautiful than mystery, and Bay of Pillars has them both in spades. Named after a salmon cannery from the era of the fishing boom, the bay boasts lush islands, rockweed covered rocks, bull kelp forests, and the constant mist that rises from the trees, giving the illusion of dozens of campfires just beneath the green canopy. The bay also has more sea otters than I’ve ever seen in one place.

Bay of Pillars

Exploring the Bay of Pillars by skiff

By far, my favorite spot in the Bay is the Pillar Bay Salmon Cannery ruins. Situated at the mouth of a creek, the ruins consist of two decaying piers, a few buildings in various states of collapse, a half-dozen rusted boilers, and assorted machinery.

Mist rises from the trees...

There is a pervasive, all-encompassing quiet that blankets the site, as if the forest wasn’t sure yet what to make of the place. Moss hugs the rotting planks of the old dock like a blanket. A rusted claw foot bathtub lies on the beach, a home for barnacles and sea stars. So much equipment simply left. I’m floored by the notion that something so new could seem like a long-lost civilization. Such is the rainforest’s ability to reclaim what was taken from it. The wood, steel, tin and glass stayed--and the forest lives side by side with the ruins, just as it does with us.

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