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/ferry
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 (the airport
is in nearby Hagensborg), or by
boarding a ferry in Port Hardy (Northern Vancouver Island).
There are many rundown buildings in Bella Coola, occasional garbage on the
streets and old busted cars here and there, but, overall, it's a relaxed,
slow-pace place in a beautiful setting, and the locals are friendly.
1. A sign (just before the bridge seen in 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.
BC Highway 20 West near Bella Coola British Columbia
2. Welcome to Bella Coola.
Welcome to Bella Coola sign
3. Bella Coola RCMP detachment.
RCMP Bella Coola 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
Totem Pole Bella Coola BC Canada
5. The Co-op food store on Mackenzie Avenue.
Bella Coola Co-op Food Store
6. Aboriginal art on the side of the store (across from the totem pole).
Bella Coola BC Aboriginal Street Art
7. Now looking down Mackenzie Avenue from the other side, with the Co-op
food store visible on the far left.
Mackenzie Avenue Bella Coola BC Canada
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.
Bella Coola Carwash
9. One of the family houses in Bella Coola.
Bella Coola British Columbia Canada
10. Bella Coola elementary school.
Bella Coola Elementary School
11. A neat-looking unknown building at 800 Mackay Avenue.
800 Mackay Avenue Bella Coola BC Canada
12-13. The following two photos were made in July of 2019, when we returned
to Bella Coola, and found this fine piece of art on River Road.
Native Woman Totem Pole Bella Coola BC Canada
14. We are back on Highway 20, heading towards a wharf, about 3
kilometers from the center of Bella Coola.
BC Highway 20 in Bella Coola British Columbia Canada
15. It's a pleasant short drive.
BC Highway 20 between Bella Coola and Government Wharf
16. The wharf view is very picturesque.
Bella Coola Government Wharf
17. BC Ferry Northern Sea Wolf docking at the Bella Coola terminal. July
of 2019 photo.
Northern Sea Wolf BC Ferry in Bella Coola
18. Just past the wharf, Highway 20 comes to its western end, and
asphalt is replaced by gravel.
Western end of BC Highway 20 near Bella Coola Canada
19. One and a half kilometers later, Clayton Falls Conservancy is in
front of us. To the left is the beginning of Clayton FSR leading to
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
Gravel Road West of Highway 20 near Bella Coola BC
20. Here is the very short path to Clayton Falls (to the left of the
A path to Clayton Falls near Bella Coola BC Canada
21. Approaching the observation platform.
Approaching Clayton Falls Observation Platform near Bella Coola British
22. Here is the observation platform. A sign advises against jumping
into the falls and the creek, due to very strong currents.
Clayton Falls Observation Platform near Bella Coola BC Canada