Bella Coola, British Columbia. Bella Coola Valley, BC

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Bella Coola Valley
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View from Bella Coola

Bella Coola, British Columbia

Although it is not on the coast, the village of Bella Coola, British Columbia, has the distinction of being on salt water.

A sport fisherman's dream, this village is located in the strategic position where the Bella Coola River joins with the salt water of the Pacific. A great many adventures and sights open up to those who find their way to this western terminus of Highway 20.

Bella Coola serves as a major port between Vancouver, BC, and Prince Rupert. At any time the port will be host to anything from fishing boats to pleasure craft travelling BC's Centra Coast. Canneries, log sorting and loading sites and tidal flats are all located in the port area along with facilities such as a restaurant.

This area was first settled because of the trade in oolichan grease for furs, hides and tools from inland. In the late 1800s, Norwegians established Hagensborg just east of Bella Coola, in the Bella Coola Valley. The communities of Bella Coola and Hagensborg share a number of facilities, accommodations and services.

Tweedsmuir Provincial Park, to the east of Bella Coola, provides a wilderness setting for a number of outdoor adventures including hiking the Alexander Mackenzie Heritage Trail. (contact BC Parks for more information).

The nearby communities of Bella Bella, Shearwater and Ocean Falls can be accessed by water to explore British Columbia native culture, experience kayaking and explore numerous inlets and waterfalls.

Bella Coola & Area Accommodations & Adventures

Eagle's Nest Resort: Beauty and comfort in the wilderness. Elegant suites or cozy log cabins. Lakeside dining room, breathtaking views, hiking and birdwatching, and the natural splendor of the area. more

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Bella Coola Information

Main Industries: fishing, forestry, tourism

Access: Bella Coola, British Columbia, can be accessed by land or by water. This scenic 440 km (272 mi.) trip across BC's Chilcotin Country from Williams Lake (1,000 km from Vancouver) becomes quite spectacular when you drive the steep hill into the Bella Coola Valley.

The Hill
"The Freedom Road" as it once appeared.

The Hill: The famous Bella Coola hill is the point on Highway 20 where the Coast Mountain Range begins and the descent into the Bella Coola Valley starts. At Heckman Pass - the highest point - drivers reach an elevation of about 1524 m (5000 ft.). Approximately 30 km (20 miles) of winding, narrow, unpaved road precede the hill. 'The Hill' itself consists of one 10 km (6 mile) stretch of switchbacks, with grades to 18% in that section.

The Hill was once called the "Freedom Road" because it provided a route out of the Bella Coola Valley. In the 1950's, the provincial government refused to build this section of the road, so valley residents built it themselves. Outsiders said it couldn't be done, but on Sept 26, 1953, two bulldozers - one pushing east, the other pushing west - actually met.

The steep incline and hairpin turns afford a panorama view of the changing scenery of mountains and valleys. Commercial air service is available to the airport in Hagensborg, but charter airlines will fly to most areas.

Accommodations: private nearby lodges; campsites; hotels

Recreational Facilities/Activities: fishing; hiking; x-country skiing; snowmobile outings; canoeing; glacier viewing

Local Attractions: Alexander Mackenzie Heritage Trail; fish hatchery; giant Western Red Cedars; ancient petroglyphs; Alexander Mackenzie monument; Bella Coola Museum; Tweedsmuir Provincial Park; Colonel R. F. Lindsell Tombstone

For Information:
Alexander Mackenzie Heritage Trail Association
P.O. Box 425, Stn. A, Kelowna, BC, V1Y 7P1

Freedom Highway Tourism Association (seasonal)
Toll Free Telephone: 1-888-863-1181

Heiltsuk Centre (seasonal) Bella Bella
Telephone: (250)957-2626



Cariboo Chilcotin Coast Tourist Association
118A North 1st Ave
Williams Lake, BC V2G 1Y8
Telephone: (250) 392-2226
Fax: (250) 392-2838
Toll Free: 1-800-663-5885

Tourism BC Info
Toll Free Phone: 1-800-663-6000

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Regional Information
Cities & Towns Lodging, Hotels, Services & Events . . more info
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Travel Info Travel Journals, Tourist Info Centers, Weather, Road Conditions, BC Ferries Info, Travel Planner . . more info

Points of Interest . . more info
Provincial Parks . . more info
Trails Hiking & canoeing trails . . more info

Area Maps of the Cariboo Chilcotin Coast
Cariboo Region:
Quesnel Barkerville Williams Lake
100 Mile House Wells Gray Park Clinton
Lillooet & Cache Creek
Chilcotin Region:    
Riske Creek (East) Alexis Creek (Central) Anahim Lake (West)
Chilko Lake (South) Tweedsmuir & Blackwater (North)
Coast Region:  
Bella Coola Valley    

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Bella Coola, British Columbia. Bella Coola Valley, BC