Trip 131 - May 18-19, 2018 (Friday-Saturday)

Visit To Bella Coola BC

And to Clayton Falls & Clayton Falls Recreation Area

Distance From Vancouver to Bella Coola:
(via Highways 1 East, 97 North, and 20 West): approximately 1,000 kilometers.

Liked: Several neat buildings, 24-hour car wash, wharf view, waterfall view, natural views from the Clayton Falls recreation area.

Of note: Waterfall is a dangerous area - swimming is not allowed. Camping is prohibited in the recreation area.

Cariboo Chilcotin Coast Backroad Mapbook (2015 edition) Coordinates: Page 22 (Bella Coola) D2. The latest edition of Backroad Mapbook for this and other regions, as well as GPS maps, are available for purchase at

Related Link: Town of Bella Coola (Wikipedia).

At the end of our previous trip report, we have reached the town of Bella Coola, located at the western end of BC Highway 20. This trip report covers the town itself, as well as the nearby wharf, Clayton Falls, and Clayton Falls recreation area. Bella Coola has a total population of about 2,000 people, and is home to Nuxalk aboriginal people. Aside from driving on Highway 20, it is possible to get to Bella Coola by taking a regularly scheduled flight from Vancouver, or by boarding a ferry in Port Hardy (Northern Vancouver Island).

1. A sign (just before the bridge seen on the last photo of the previous trip report) indicates that turning to the right (after the bridge) would lead to the centre of Bella Coola, while the wharf could be reached by going straight.

2. Welcome to Bella Coola.

3. Bella Coola RCMP detachment.

4. The centre of Bella Coola is very small, and consists of several blocks of businesses, including hotels (mostly along Mackenzie Avenue) and family houses. There is also a large totem pole across from the food store.

5. The Co-op food store on Mackenzie Avenue.

6. Aboriginal art on the side of the store (across from the totem pole).

7. Now looking down Mackenzie Avenue from the other side, with the Co-op food store visible on the far left.

8. Immediately to the left of where we took the photo above, there is a 24-hour car wash. If you are very quick, it is possible to wash your entire vehicle for one dollar.

9. One of the family houses in Bella Coola.

10. Bella Coola elementary school.

11. An neat-looking unknown building at 800 Mackay Avenue.

12. We are back on Highway 20, heading towards a wharf, about 3 kilometers from the centre of Bella Coola.

13. It's a pleasant short drive.

14. The wharf view is very picturesque.

15. Just past the wharf, Highway 20 comes to its western end, and asphalt is replaced by gravel.

16. One and a half kilometers later, Clayton Falls Conservancy is in front of you. To the left is the beginning of Clayton FSR leading to M. Gurr Lake trail, which we will cover in the next trip report. To the right is a short road which leads to Clayton Falls (eventually on the left side) and Clayton Falls recreation area (eventually on the right side).

17. Here is the very short path to Clayton Falls (to the left of the fence).

18. Approaching the observation platform.

19. Here is the observation platform. A sign advises against jumping into the falls and the creek due to very strong currents.

20. Clayton Falls.

21. A cool bench at the observation platform. The bench is dedicated to the memory of Wayne MacIntosh.

22. And this is the entrance to Clayton Falls recreation area, located on the other side of the short gravel road from Clayton Falls.

23. Here is the parking area. Alas, camping is not allowed.

24. The views from the recreation area are very good.

25. This body of water is called North Bentinck Arm.

26. There is this rusty ship nearby (much zoom used).

The town of Bella Coola and its surroundings feature several fine views, and is certainly a good place to visit, if you would find yourself in the area.

<--- Trip on BC Highway 20   M Gurr Lake Trail Hike --->

 -> 131 Town of Bella Coola (and Clayton Falls & Clayton Falls Recreation Area)