Trip ideas to help you begin planning a visit to Bella Coola
Things to do, places to stay and suggestions on how to do it!!
Where are you going to stay while you are in Bella Coola? The Valley has lots of great places to stay and some of our favorites include:
Tallheo Cannery is a really cool fun place to stay, and Garrett and Skye are awesome hosts (although I may be a little bias as they are family!) Stepping back in time checking out the Cannery definitely makes it on the Bella Coola Bucket List.
Suntree Guest Cottages has a number of great cabin options. Whenever we have family and friends coming to visit we often send them here as they are our neighbors!
Friends of ours own Bella Vista Ranch which is a great location in the lower Valley. It is a beautiful place to stay, especially if you love horses.
Coming soon – Wildway Farms Urts! The Urts are beautiful and the location is ideal – mid Valley and across the road from the Brockton Bistro. Just a short walk from the Hagensborg Store. Jo and Gwen are awesome hosts. Not to mention you can join one of their Over the Top Adventures!
Stiles Road Guest Cabin is an airbnb option, that I totally reccomend. Your host Robyn is fabulous and we often find ourselves dropping off a bycicle or other piece of adventure equipment to her guests!
Another option for your stay in the Valley is camping.
The Gnomes Home and the Rip Rap campground are popular private camp ground options. Both are located in Hagensborg and are close to amenities, including the Hagensborg Store and the Outdoor Swimming Pool. There are other public campground options up in Tweedsmuir Park and on the Talchacko Forest Service Road at McCall Flats Recreation site, although hard top camping and understanding best camping practices with regards to bears is important. This area is heavily used by bears.
If you have a 4×4 vehicle there are a number of free back country camping sites, on the Nusatsum Forest Service Road, including Odeggard Falls Lookout and Purgatory Glacier Recreation site. – REMEMBER to always check on the road access as washouts and road closures are common
The Clayton Falls Forest Service Road is another option for free backcountry camping, again the road is rough and may not be passable at any given time!! the Mount Fougner Recreation Site at the base of the switchbacks has a fire ring, picnic table and outhouse. If you have a vehicle capable of making it up to the Blue Jay Lake conservancy, there is great a BC Parks camp site at Blue Jay Lake.
What sort of things are you looking to do during your stay?
Bella Coola has a ton of hiking opportunities, although be advised we live in a valley so many of the hikes are steep out and back trails.
For a day trip type of hike with front country easy access I’d recommend the following hikes and trails. More information on trails can be found in the Bella Coola hiking guide
Front Country – Easy Access Day Hikes:
- Capoose Summer Trail – an out and back day hike – steep uphill, with beautiful views, this trail eventually connects in to the Alexander McKenzie Trail but spend the day hiking as far as you like and then return
- Medby Rock Lookout – a steep trail with beautiful views over looking the Valley. The top section of this trail winds through some beautiful old growth forest.
- Burnt Bridge Loop – Located just inside Tweedsmuir Park, the Burnt Bridge Loop is an excellent approx 5km trail. – We often hike this one with the kids and it is one of my favorite running loops.
- Kettle Pond – A shorter trail that is mostly in the forest, circling a small pond
- Schoolhouse Falls – a steep hike located behind the high school, it provides excellent views of the Valley and great views of the waterfall, depending on the water levels.
- Lost Lake (Lost Lake Forest service road *** may be passable without 4×4) a great short hike up to a small pond and camping recreation area. Beautiful views of the Valley, with sections of old growth trees
If you do have a 4×4 and are comfortable beating it up rough roads to get to some day hiking trails and recreation sites there are some stunning options, (or we recommend a shuttle to the trail heads with Over the Top Adventures )
Great Day Hikes:
- Hammer Lake – West Nusatsum FSR – great hike, moderate climbs, with stunning alpine views and meadows
- Mgurr Lake – Clayton Falls FSR – Really great hike. alpine hiking, well defined trail, beautiful lake for a cold swim!
- Odeggard Falls Trail – Short hike to the falls view point. Beautiful forest hiking
- Hunlen Falls Trail to Stillwater Lake (or further) – BC Parks trail – those of you that are adventure runners, may want to attempt the entire trail into the falls and out in one day !! It has been done. For the rest of you a day hike into Stillwater lake is a great option
Suggested overnight hiking trips:
- Burnt Bridge Trail to to the Alexander Mackenzie and up to Hump Lake
- Capoose Summer Trail
- Hunlen Falls Trail – Tweedsmuir Park
- Rainbow Range – Tweedsmuir Park
- Hammer Lakes Trail to the lookout
For those of you traveling with your bike, there are some great options to spend the day taking in the sites. A bicycle is also a great option for accessing some of the sites up both Clayton and Nusatsum forest service roads, if you don’t want to beat up your vehicle. We are also hoping to test out some great E-bike opportunities soon!
Bicycles: (Road bikes/Mountain bikes/e bikes)
- Hagensborg Loop Schoolhouse Mountain Bike Trails
- Medby Rock Mountain Bike Trails
- Clayton Falls Forest Service Road
- Nusatsum Forest Service Road
- Tote Road – Need to be very Bear aware
- Big Cedar Tree Trail – includes some difficult technical riding
- Hwy 20 – An excellent road riding ride from the Wharf to the base of the hill
The Bella Coola River is a glacial blue and absolutely stunning in the summer time . If you haven’t done it before I really recommend drifting the river. There are a couple of options for river drifts. We recommend Kynoch Adventures. They have a ton of experience and knowledge, and have always given us a great trip.
Grizzly Bear Viewing is Kynoch Adventures Specialty. With more than 3 decades in the fields of biology and tourism guiding, lead guides at Kynoch Adventures are the most knowledgeable and professional wilderness and ecological interpretive guides in the Bella Coola Valley. Kynoch Adventures holds the highest industry and professional standards in grizzly bear viewing and river rafting of any operator in Bella Coola and works closely with BC Parks and other administrations to ensure our tours and adventures are ethical and ecologically sound. Guides are long time local residents, with a sound knowledge of the area and deep respect for its ecology and social importance.
Another idea is to take a boat tour of the inlet. Inner Coast Inlet Tours offers some fabulous trips
Inner Coast Inlet Tours invites you to come explore the wild and rugged beauty of the BC coast. Fish canneries, giant cedar trees, natural hot springs and wildlife such as eagles, harbour seals, and pacific white sided dolphins are just a few of the highlights to expect to see on one of our customized charter trips.
other activities to do in the Valley include, kayaking, canoeing and paddle boarding
Where Should I eat!!
- Definitely recommend stopping in at the little Nook Cafe (Bella Coola Airport) for gifts and excellent locally roasted end of the Road Coffee .
- The Dragon Fly Cafe, has excellent food, specialty coffees, and milkshakes
- If you want a great dinner the Brokton Bistro at the Bella Coola Mountain Lodge is a must!
- don’t forget a burger at the Rooster – Food truck down at the wharf
- My Lunch Stop in Hagensborg has tons of amazing food. Lots of baked goods and great sandwiches.
As I mentioned before there is TONS to do in Bella Coola, lots of great adventure ideas, sights to see and little places to eat and stay. Send us an email and tell us a little bit about yourself and what you want to do and we’ll help you organize a great trip
Cheers From Glacier Creek Outfitting