July 29, 2009 | Tips from Travellers >
Bella Coola, Outdoor Activity Tours
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Explored the hidden gem of Bella Coola Valley last week. This was my first trip to the area and I was excited to check it out. I flew in on Pacific Coastal on a direct flight from Vancouver’s south terminal, and the views of the Coast Mountains were stunning. Approaching and landing at the Bella Coola Airport was pretty awesome too.
We did a general tour of the area and got to see the BC Ferries wharf and Clayton Falls which was very dramatic. Then we went for a short walk into an ancient western red cedar grove which was just amazing from both an ecological and cultural perspective (the only other place I’ve seen trees like that is Haida Gwaii). We walked on trails through enormous old growth trees including the biggest Cottonwood tree I’ve ever seen. It was nice and cool in there too! We also visited the historic Norwegian House (original settlers in the area) and heard some great stories at the Bella Coola museum. That afternoon we took a gentle rafting trip on the Bella Coola River with Kynock Adventures (the same folks who run the Coast Mountain Lodge). The scenery and overall experience was so peaceful, although I hear they can find some rapids if that’s what you’re looking for. I spent the night at Tweedsmuir Lodge, which is located in BC’s largest provincial park. The grounds and main lodge are beautiful and they have several well-appointed cabins for guests. I’m told that sometimes you see wildlife such as bears right on the front lawn! This is a true wilderness lodge (with a bit of luxury). The lodge is also the base for Bella Coola Helisports, which is the largest single heli skiing area in the world. And in spring and early summer, they have packages where you can go heli skiing on a glacier in the morning and fishing in the afternoon.
My only regret is that I didn’t have enough time in Bella Coola to explore more. Next time, I’d like to do the entire circle tour travelling over to Vancouver Island, up to Port Hardy, catch the BC Ferry Discovery Coast trip to Bella Coola, spend a few days there and then head east, up ‘the hill’, and across the beautiful Chilcotin Plateau for a stay at a guest ranch such as Echo Valley or Siwash Lake.