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 Home > Travel BC > BC Cities and Towns > Cariboo Chilcotin Coast > Bella Coola

Bella Coola
Bella Coola is located approximately 460 km (288 miles) due west of Williams Lake on Highway 20. Traditional home of the Nuwalk First Nations, Bella Coola sits at the end of a large remote valley called the Bella Coola Valley.

Atnarko, Talchako and Bella Coola Rivers
Flowing through the Bella Coola Valley are three rivers called Atnarko, Talchako and Bella Coola. If you enjoy fishing and outdoor scenery, these rivers are incredible.

'The Hill'
At the head of the Bella Coola Valley lies 'The Hill.' This is the part of Hwy 20 that descends through Tweedsmuir Park into the Bella Coola Valley. The story goes that some locals with two bulldozers and a limited budget built the highway to free Bella Coola from being only accessible by water.

Incredible Views
Officially open since 1955, 'The Hill' has a grade up to 18% for approximately 9 km (5.6 miles), making it one of BC's steepest stretches of highway. Make sure your brakes are in good shape and enjoy the ride down - the views are incredible.

Tweedsmuir Provincial Park
At the base of 'The Hill' is a small settlement called Stuie. This is where you want to watch for signs pointing the direction to Hunlen Falls located in Tweedsmuir Provincial Park.

Hunlen Falls
This is Canada's third largest waterfall at 253 meters (830 feet). There is a hike into the falls; be prepared as it is quite a challenge taking you overnight. Wilderness camping is available at Hunlen Falls part of the Turner Lake Chain. Remember to be 'bear alert' and be careful with your fires.

Drift Fishing
If you have the time try your hand at drift fishing. A very popular spot to put your boat in is as at boat launch area near the Bailey Bridge Camp Site on the way to the Salloompt River. Besides the fish lots of other wildlife can also be spotted including bald eagles, bears and the occasional cougar.

Bella Coola area
Other sites to see in the Bella Coola area include the approximate one hundred petroglyphs at Thorsen Creek and the Bella Coola Museum. Your can find the Bella Coola Museum on the west side of town on the way to the BC Ferries Terminal and Clayton Falls.

Sir Alexander MacKenzie
If you get a chance, go by the ocean at Bella Coola and see the rock cairn depicting where explorer Sir Alexander MacKenzie in 1793 completed the first crossing of North America by a European.

Clayton Falls Recreation Area
Just past the Sir Alexander MacKenzie monument is the Clayton Falls Recreation Area. At Clayton Falls there is a small turbine operated by BC Hydro from a small dam located above a cascading waterfall.

Approximately 75 km (47 miles) in length, the Bella Coola Valley attracted Norwegian immigrants from Minnesota in the late 1800's and the community of Hagensborg was formed 17 km (11 miles) east from Bella Coola.

Bear Country
Just remember if you are enjoying the provincial parks and the countryside around British Columbia, please remember this is bear country. Try to avoid the rivers during heavy salmon spawning times unless you feel comfortable with bears around and take the usual precautions. There is also the possibilities of encounters with wolves or cougars so please play it safe.

Bella Coola Information and Links




click for larger map


'The Hill'
'The Hill'


'The Hill'
'The Hill'


Hunlen Falls-Turner Lakes
Hunlen Falls-Turner Lakes Trailhead


Drift Fishing
Drift Fishing


Sir Alexander MacKenzie Rock Cairn
Sir Alexander MacKenzie Rock Cairn


Clayton Falls
Clayton Falls


Bella Coola Valley
Bella Coola Valley

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