What to know before you go... Bella Coola
Congratulations! You made the very wise decision to visit the Bella Coola Valley located in the Great Bear Rainforest on the Central Coast of British Columbia. That is great news!
To make the very best of your trip, planning is key. Some of the best things about the Bella Coola Valley and what makes it so special is what could cause challenges if one fails to plan.
The Valley is quite spread out (approximately 75kms long) and there are glorious sights to behold from the harbour to “The Hill.” That does not even cover the adventures that can be had off the highway on the forestry service roads that lead to recreation sites, hikes and some of the most spectacular views around. The best way to see the sights and make the most of your trip is to have a vehicle that can take you where you want to go. A vehicle with 4x4 capabilities is a must on the old forestry roads and is highly recommended. If you are looking to rent a vehicle with off-road capabilities be sure to book ahead with Bella Coola Vehicle Rentals. Their reliable vehicles and friendly service will help you have the adventure you’ve been waiting for.
Don’t forget to pack a lunch and plenty of water for day tripping. We are lucky enough to have a few cafes and lunch stops to serve you a fresh, delicious bite to take with you on a day trip around the Coast Mountains. Please ensure you are packing out what you pack in to help keep our wildlife healthy and wild. Enjoying breath-taking scenery, safely viewing wildlife and adventuring can really work up an appetite. If you decide to join us for dinner at Brockton Bistro, please be sure to book your table for dinner to avoid disappointment. Brockton Bistro features beautifully prepared seasonal entrees featuring the freshest ingredients utilizing local products whenever possible.
One of the biggest mistakes guests to the Valley make when planning their trips is that they don’t give themselves enough time here. Be sure to allow ample time to enjoy all Bella Coola has to offer. We suggest at least 3 nights. Too many times we have had guests disappointed that they did not allot enough time to their stay and that they did not get to nearly all the things that they wanted to see and do.
Another factor to keep in mind when planning your trip is connectivity. Although many people come to this region to “get away from it all,” they may not be ready to totally unplug. We do have cellular signal in the most populated parts of the Valley (Hagensborg & Downtown) but many places are still without service. In addition, many international networks do not connect to our network here. Do your research before you leave if to ensure you will stay connected if it is necessary. Although most properties do have wifi, you may find it slower than you are used to and this can make streaming and downloading large files difficult to impossible at times.
Did we mention that we are in the Great Bear Rainforest? Although we get less rain than other parts of our region, it is a good idea to pack for the possibility of rain no matter what the season. In order to enjoy your trip to the absolute utmost, be sure to pack rain gear so that a little weather won’t slow you down. Along the same lines, summer afternoons can get pretty hot. Be sure to stay sun safe and pack your water to stay cool. Weather can change very quickly and can be unpredictable. Be prepared for changes and your trip will be memorable for the right reasons.
One of the most alluring aspects of our region is the abundance of wildlife. However, it is important to keep in mind that our animals are wild, and we would like to keep them that way. Please be respectful when viewing wildlife by watching from a safe distance with binoculars, telephoto lenses and not approaching. Be especially vigilant if a bear has cubs. A mama bear can get pretty serious pretty quickly when it comes to protecting her young. Always be safe and respectful when in the wilderness. Pack out your garbage and stay on the trail. To read more about safe wildlife viewing practices, click here
The Bella Coola Valley is full of amazing artists and talented people. While you are here be sure to check out some of the local galleries and support our brilliant local artists. For authentic Nuxalk art including masks, jewelry, carvings, prints and clothing Petroglyph Gallery is a must see. Mark is very knowledgeable and personable, and you are sure to have a memorable experience. Downtown Bella Coola next to the Tourism Info Booth you can find Copper Sun Gallery which provides Nuxalk artists a venue to sell their artwork. From Copper Sun Gallery you can also book your tour with Copper Sun Journeys to see the ancient . Heading east between downtown Bella Coola and Hagensborg be sure to stop at Dragonfly Café & Gallery to admire the beautiful work of Tahirih Goffic resident artist and entrepreneur. Stop for the artwork, stay for a latte or one of Tahirih’s famous cinnamon buns. Another highlight while you are in the Valley is to stop in at the Bella Coola Art Gallery in Hagensborg. This lovely gallery showcases the work of many local artists in seasonal shows. Don’t miss the gift shop to find the perfect authentic Bella Coola memento.
Many people don’t realize when they plan their trip t our Valley has a strong agriculture and culinary community and there are many local foods that are not to be missed on a trip to Bella Coola. During the summer the Farmer’s Market on Sunday Mornings and the Night Market on Wednesday evenings gives local producers the chance to sell everything from cherries to kale to baked goods and preserves. You might even be lucky enough to catch some local music at the Night Market on Wednesdays! That is not all the local fare we have to offer either. Many people don’t realize that there is a local coffee roaster right here in Bella Coola either. End of the Road Coffee is ethically sourced, smooth and delicious. Stop by Little Nook at the Bella Coola Airport to try End of the Road Coffee in your favorite coffee drink. While you are at it, grab a bottle of Wildway Kombucha (brewed right here in the Valley) to quench your thirst. Finally, a must on your Bella Coola adventures is Bella Coola Valley Seafoods. Here you can buy a beautiful variety of local seafood including smoked and candied salmon.
We hope you feel more prepared for your amazing trip and that you love your stay in this very unique place. We highly recommend that you download our Trail Guide and Visitor Guide before your trip and check out bellacoola.ca for more great suggestions for your trip.