Bella Coola Local RegionBella Coola Valley is approximately a 5-6 hour drive west on Highway 20, along the Cariboo Coast circle route, From williams Lake BC. The distance is approximately 450 km from Williams Lake, with all but ~65 km of the road now paved/surfaced. West of Anahim Lake, the area of Heckman Pass is locally referred to as the HILL. This stretch is gravel and you will recognize the Hill (35 km west of Anahim) by the entrance to Tweedsmuir park, and the area for trucks to stop and check brakes.
First time travelers should take the hill decidedly slow to enjoy the views and sheer terror they often invoke (!), but really, it is in very good shape year round and suitable to all traffic in the summer months.
After arriving at the bottom of the hill you will again find comfortable paved roads on the floor of the Bella Coola Valley. You are now in the heart of Tweedsmuir Park, with the Atnarko river on your south side. Driving west another 40 minutes will bring you to Hagensborg, where the first services are located ( gas, food, and of course Coast Mountain Lodge).
The sharp contrast from the chilcotin Plateau, with its rolling hills and pine forests, compared to the lush Temperate Coastal Rain Forests of Bella Coola is evident as soon as you arrive on the valley floor. Here in Bella Coola's old growth coniferous forests, streams are full of salmon, bears roam the river banks and hillsides, and moss and ferns cover trees, logs and pathways of our forest trails.