2006 Keystone Cougar
2006 Keystone Cougar
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In a green valley surrounded by towering mountains on British Columbia's central coast, Bella Coola offers visitors a chance to experience true Canadian wilderness. Until 1953, there was no road into the valley, and access was only via boat. Now, there is a steep road through the mountains and an airport, but many visitors still arrive via ferry. The small towns of the Bella Coola Valley still retain a feeling of remoteness in the pristine wilderness that surrounds them.
You won’t find big-city amenities like movie theaters and casinos here. Thanks to the concerted efforts of the independent-minded residents, you won’t find any national chains, either. The town even produces its own electricity via a hydroelectric plant that isn’t connected to the BC grid.
But what you will find is wilderness unlike anywhere else on Earth. Towering trees. Sky-piercing mountains. Abundant wildlife. Book an RV in Bella Coola, and you'll find yourself on the threshold of one of North America's last great wildernesses.
At the southern edge of BC’s mythical Great Bear Rainforest 620 miles north of Vancouver, Bella Coola is the gateway to virtually endless outdoor recreation. The valley sits at the top of a long fjord, so while it’s quite far inland, it also offers access to the sea. You’ll find some of the best fishing anywhere on the planet in the cold fertile waters of the Bentinck Arm. And if you visit during the fall salmon run, you’ll witness one of nature’s great spectacles.
The forests that surround Bella Coola are full of hiking trails that vary from leisurely afternoon strolls to strenuous hiking expeditions. Tweedsmuir South Provincial Park sits at the inland end of the valley and offers all kinds of outdoor adventure. Hunlen Falls, one of Canada's highest waterfalls with an unbroken 850-foot drop, is a truly magnificent sight. You can also canoe through the Turner Lake Chain, a route that can take days to traverse through breathtaking scenery. Tweedsmuir Park is home to all kinds of wildlife, including bald eagles, mountain goats, wolves, and mountain lions, but bears are the most famous wild inhabitants. Both black and massive coastal grizzly bears live here, and if you visit during the autumn salmon run, you're practically guaranteed to see these majestic animals in their natural habitat. You can also take a raft trip down the spawning rivers to watch the bears feed on the thousands of fish that spawn here.
On the Chilcotin Plateau above the Bella Coola Valley, Williams Lake is the closest big city to Bella Coola. Here you'll find chain retail stores, hardware stores, and anything else you might need. You'll also see a marked change from the mountain and rainforest scenery of the valley. Williams Lake is in the heart of lake and cottage country and is an excellent destination for fishing, canoeing, or horseback riding. Rent a motorhome in Bella Coola, and you can plan to spend a night or two in Williams Lake to experience another side of the BC backcountry.
The staggering mountain scenery of Jasper National Park can be reached in your Bella Coola RV rental. The long drive takes you through breathtaking BC scenery to a world-class destination for skiing and snowboarding. Perched on the border between BC and Alberta, Jasper is an unforgettable destination that’s worth a detour in your Bella Coola luxury RV rental.
One thing you won’t find when you book an RV rental near Bella Coola is a lot of RV sites with fabulous amenities. This is an unspoiled natural area, and the residents like it that way, so most sites are undeveloped.
That doesn’t mean you won’t find somewhere to stay when you rent an RV, though. One of the best options in the valley is Gnome's Home RV Park, which offers full hookups, showers, and laundry facilities. Despite being easily accessible just off Highway 20, Gnome's Home can provide a serene riverside setting surrounded by tall trees.
Right next door, you’ll also find the Rip Rap Camp. With full hookups, toilets, showers, laundry, and Wi-Fi, this site has everything you need to enjoy your camper rental in Bella Coola. It also has a viewing deck on the river where you can watch the bears pass by during the salmon run for a truly British Columbian experience.
For a more rustic experience, consider the Atnarko Campground within Tweedsmuir Park. There are no fancy amenities, but you will find water, flush toilets, and a dump station. And the setting is unbeatable. Just remember that this is very much bear country, so be careful with your food.
No one is going to mistake Bella Coola for a bustling metropolis. But the small town, along with the other valley communities such as Hagensborg, has everything you need for a memorable trip. There are a gas station and a superstore, plus a public library. With a handful of restaurants in town, you'll be able to find fresh seafood along with Italian and Japanese cuisine and even some vegetarian options.
A visit to Kopas Store in the heart of the town is highly recommended. Founded by one of the early pioneers, the store is still run by the Kopas family and is a great place to get more information on this fascinating community. Nearby, the Bella Coola Gallery showcases the cultural life of the valley. And for a unique cultural experience, visit the Petroglyph Gallery, dedicated to the art of the valley’s First Nations inhabitants. From here, you can tour the ancient rock carvings of Thorsen Creek, some of them thousands of years old. This site is sacred to the Bella Coola people, so you should only go with a native guide.
For an insight into the boom-and-bust history of this unique community, visit the abandoned Tallheo Cannery on the other side of the inlet. Not only will you see how the first European and Asian settlers lived and worked, but you may also encounter porpoises, orca, or whales on the boat trip across the water. You can also indulge in a visit to the natural hot springs for a relaxing soak with a spectacular view.
There’s so much to do in and around the Bella Coola Valley, you’ll wonder why you never visited before. And Bella Coola RV rentals by owner are the perfect way to visit this magical part of the world. Once you’ve been to Bella Coola, you’ll never forget it.