Bella Coola & Great Bear Rainforest
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In Bella Coola, British Columbia, the Coast Range mountains meet the Pacific Ocean creating one of the most spectacular, yet isolated, wilderness areas on the planet. Long fjords, old growth forests, stunning peaks, vast glaciers and abundant wildlife. This pristine region is home to countless salmon, bald eagles and grizzly bears!
- View and photograph splendid mountain scenery while drifting the scenic Atnarko River in Tweedsmuir Provincial Park
- Learn to track grizzlies and look for bears (note, grizzly bear season is September & October)
- Learn about the region's First Nations culture by visiting ancient stone carvings and the local totem poles with Nuxalk guides
- Explore the Great Bear Rainforest's huge, ancient cedar trees
- Climb the Via Ferrata route and marvel at the views from up top (climb up on metal rungs, while secured to a safety cable)
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For those arriving by air via Pacific Coastal Airlines, enjoy the 70 minute mid-morning flight to Bella Coola, marvelling at the impressive Coast Range mountains and expansive fjord system as you fly overhead. On arrival at the Bella Coola Airport, the lodge staff will greet you and transfer you the 45 minutes to the lodge, highlighting points of interest along the way.
After check-in there will be a short orientation of the lodge property and all the activities available. Enjoy a stroll down to the river, visit our Wildlife Viewing Station, go for a short hike on the Esker Trail through old growth forests, play a round of Frisbee golf, work out in the gym, soak in the hot-tub, walk the slack line, or simply relax on the deck of your cabin with a drink and enjoy the view of Mt. Stupendous and Mt. Mellikan. A delicious 3-course set menu is served at 7:00pm every night.
Kick-start your day with a choice of a hot or continental breakfast, served between 7:30am and 8:30am. The day’s activities start with a Scenic Drift down the Atnarko River. This is the heart of the Coast Range Mountains where majestic peaks and glaciers tower above the verdant valley floor. Keep your eyes open for wildlife! The Atnarko is home to trout and 5 species of salmon, which sustain healthy populations of bald eagles, grizzly bears, river otters and black bears. Have your camera ready!
A delicious lunch will be served back at the lodge, after which your guide will take you for a hike on the Valley Loop Trail which is part of the historic Alexander Mackenzie Heritage Trail. In 1793, Sir Alexander Mackenzie, a young fur trader, was the first person to traverse the North American continent. He did this with a small party of only 8 people and a full 12 years before the much more famous Lewis and Clark expedition. He arrived in Bella Coola along this trail after canoeing and walking all the way from Montreal.
After the hike you will arrive back at the lodge in the late afternoon. There will be time before dinner to relax and enjoy some hors d’oeuvres on the sun deck of the lodge while exchanging stories of the day with your fellow guests.
This morning’s activity is a guided via Ferrata climb. This assisted climbing experience provides participants with a spectacular self-propelled mountain adventure, amazing scenery, and an exciting feeling of exposure with low risk. Our Via Ferrata, from the Italian meaning ‘iron way’, is a network of 360 metal rungs, ladders, and wires that enable most people, from kids to seniors, to safely climb cliffs without needing rock-climbing skills. Via Ferratas have a military origin and were used in the Dolomite Mountains during World War One to transport troops. Today they are simply tons of fun! Our experienced guides will help guests up short rock faces, across thin ledges and along ridge lines, all at their pace, making sure they can make the most of the stunning natural landscape in a safe manner.
A delicious lunch will be served back at the lodge.
After lunch you’ll embark on a Bella Coola Valley Hike with the support of a local guide. These hikes are a step above your ordinary walk in the park. The scenery is jaw dropping and the forests and rivers remain pristine. Options include: an easy stroll along the Tote Road for a glimpse into Bella Coola’s pioneering past; a moderate loop trail that follows in the footsteps of Sir Alexander Mackenzie on his epic crossing of Canada in 1793; or a vigorous and exercising climb up to elevation points to enjoy views of the valley, waterfalls and mountain views. All tours are are led by one of our experienced local guides. They will share their interests in wildlife, geography, forest ecosystems and photography to ensure that the guest experience is truly memorable and well spent.
After the hike, you will return to the lodge in the late afternoon. There will be time before dinner to relax and enjoy some hors d’oeuvres on the sun deck while exchanging stories of the day with your fellow guests.
We recommend one last visit to the Wildlife Viewing Station before your final breakfast with us.
Check-out is 11am. If you are flying out, take advantage of a leisurely morning in which you can enjoy the lodge property, make use of the spa and gym, play some lawn games, or simply relax before taking our shuttle back to the Bella Coola Airport for the flight back to Vancouver. If you are departing by ferry, the lodge will arrange to drive you to the harbour.
Add a day onto your program for a 5 day/4 night stay with the following revisions to the itinerary above.
Day 3: Full Day tour of the Bella Coola Valley.
The program for today is a tour of the Bella Coola Valley. You will see fantastic geography, pristine ecosystems and a rich First Nations heritage. After breakfast, your guide will drive you down valley to see a grove of ancient cedar trees on Walker Island. These trees are in excess of 800 years old and were used by the Nuxalk First Nation to smoke salmon and provide planking for their long houses. The cultural modifications are visible to this day. Bella Coola is Nuxalk First Nation territory, inhabitants of the valley for millennia and creators of a unique and vibrant artistic culture.
Lunch will be a picnic at Clayton Falls Park overlooking the fjord.
Perhaps the day’s highlight will be a tour with a member of the Nuxalk who will take us to the ancient petroglyphs. These petroglyphs (i.e. stone carvings) are hidden in a magical site tucked away in the woods. The carvings are estimated to be 3,000-5,000 years old and have been studied by the adventurer Thor Heyerdahl. You will also get to visit the Bella Coola town site to see the totem poles, to shop at the art gallery for First Nations jewellery and masks.
Day 4: Guided via Ferrata Climb & Bella Coola Valley Tour (as outlined in Day 3 of the main itinerary)
Day 5: Depart from the lodge.
A Taste of Heli-Sightseeing, for up to 6 people
Mountains and Glaciers of the Great Bear Rainforest, for up to 6 people
Best of the Cariboo Chilcotin Coast, for up to 6 people
Heli-hiking Bella Coola’s Fjords & Peaks, for up to 5 people
Heli-hiking Above the Great Bear Rainforest, for up to 5 people
River Drift Fishing, for parties of 1-3 people
Land-accessed River Fishing, for parties of 1-3 people
Icelandic Horseback Riding, information available at the lodge (can be included in personalized, private tours or substituted for one day’s touring in small group programs)
- Meet & greet at Bella Coola airport
- Transfer to/from Tweedsmuir Park Lodge
- 3 nights of accommodation in timber-framed chalets
- All meals at lodge: hot or continental breakfast, lunch (at the lodge or a packed lunch), afternoon snacks, 3-course dinner, unlimited soft drinks, coffee and tea
- All ground transportation for tours
- Guided tour on every full day of program
- Entry fees for all parks
- Experienced guides certified by the Commercial Bear Viewing Association
- Use of sports equipment including mountain bikes to explore on your own
- Flights to/from Bella Coola, BC
- Ferry transportation to/from Bella Coola
- Gratuities for guides & staff
- Items of a personal nature
- Travel Insurance
- Applicable HST
This 4 day/3 night program allows enough time to see and do most of the sightseeing and activities in the area of the lodge. However, we can also offer 5, 6, 7 or 8 day programs, giving you extra time to see and do even more. Or, if you’re short on time there is a 3 day/2 night program offering just a taste of this magnificent lodge and park with a limited amount of local touring.
If you have children from ages 3-11 years of age we can personalize a private tour for your family group. Once clients get to the lodge and start enjoying their vacation they usually say “I wish I was staying longer!”.
Disclaimer: We do our utmost to ensure that information posted on our website is correct at the time of publication, however trip details are subject to change without notice by the suppliers and operators involved. We update the information as soon as possible when changes are advised to us, however, we cannot assume responsibility for such changes made by the suppliers and operators.