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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Falls Recreation Area
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.
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.
Coola Information and Links