Summary : Along the central coast of British Columbia, where the Coast Range meets the Pacific Ocean, lies a wilderness known and visited by few. Glaciers ice the summits of the peaks, spawning rivers that trace a path to the sea through ancient forests of cedar, hemlock and fir. The waters and woods of the Bella Coola Valley have sheltered great wildlife populations for millennia. Salmon, eagles and bears, totemic animals of coastal native peoples, are still abundant here, evocative of nature that is both primal and arresting. You are immersed in it, on this rare adventure into the Canadian wild.
Activities : Birding, Hiking
$999,999,999 to $0
After your group flight from Vancouver to Bella Coola, you are met by your Expedition Leader and transferred to Tweedsmuir Park Lodge, a remote but very comfortable base for your wilderness explorations. Set in a river valley at the base of a massive 8,000-foot rock mountain in Tweedsmuir Provincial Park, the views from the lodge are dramatic. The deck of the main lodge, as well as the porches and windows of each cabin, overlooks a broad meadow that is a well-known bear sanctuary where grizzlies are often seen.
A slow drift down the Atnarko and Bella Coola rivers offers an ideal pace and proximity for wildlife viewing. During the summer, the rivers are crowded with spawning salmon that attract bald eagles and bears, and you may see both on the banks as you float past. The peaks of the Coast Range rise all around, their serrated ridgelines veined in snow and ice.
This afternoon you are afforded a different perspective as you soar above them in a helicopter, dipping through passes where mountain goats are often spotted clinging to the granite above timberline. Fly over Hunlen Falls, Canada’s third highest, which offers yet another spectacle as it pours a thousand feet off a sheer rock precipice, its plume freefalling into spray over Lonesome Lake. If time allows, you may explore a secluded trail in Tweedsmuir Park to look for the rare cougar, gray wolves, bald eagles and other northern birdlife.
British Columbia is home to an estimated 6,000 to 14,000 grizzlies, among the highest bear concentrations in North America. The summer and early-fall salmon runs attract dozens of bears to this area, and though it is very likely you will see them during other activities, you spend this entire day focused on these magnificent creatures. Take another float trip, pausing along the riverbanks to watch for bears. The floor of the temperate rainforest is covered with giant sword ferns, devil’s club and tangles of huckleberries, blueberries, raspberries, salmonberries and thimbleberries. Though they gorge on salmon, bears love berries, too, and this vegetation is a draw for them. Of course, grizzlies are unpredictable and one can never guarantee their appearance, but the Bella Coola Valley is very rich with bears.
Along with prolific wildlife and spectacular scenery, the Bella Coola Valley is home to a group of First Nations peoples, the Nuxalk, a vibrant culture present here for millennia and still thriving today. On a visit to the village of Bella Coola, you are introduced to the Nuxalk culture through local artisans, storytellers, drummers and singers.
Where lush coastal forests exist, moisture abounds, and due to the unpredictable weather experienced in the Bella Coola Valley, traveling by helicopter for flightseeing is occasionally precluded. To ensure that you experience the optimal outdoor wildlife experience, your guides have arranged a “back-up day” in case of bad weather on the proposed flying day. If the regular itinerary can be maintained, you may take a trail upriver on the Atnarko, where eagles, possibly bears, and other wildlife can be seen fishing for salmon. In any case, exploration of this spectacular region will be extremely rewarding.
After free time this morning at the lodge, travel back into town for your group flight back to Vancouver, where you catch the return flights home.
Departure dates subject to change. Please contact ExpeditionTrips to confirm departure schedule before purchasing air tickets.
Group flights between Vancouver and Bella Coola:
There are pre-booked spaces for travelers on R/T flights from Vancouver to Bella Coola. These flight times are not determined until late spring. You will be notified when these times are determined so you may book your flights in and out of Vancouver. You will be invoiced for these flights upon booking. Please contact us with questions.
Accommodations; meals from dinner on Day 1 to breakfast on final day; bottled water; services of Expedition Leaders, local guides and lodge staff; some gratuities; airport transfers in Bella Coola on Day 1 and final day; permits and entrance fees; all taxes.
Travel to and from start and end point of trip (Bella Coola); alcoholic beverages; some gratuities; passport and visa fees; optional activities; items of a personal nature (phone calls, souvenirs, etc.); airline baggage fees; airport and departure taxes; optional travel insurance.