Bella Coola

Population: 2,200

Bella Coola is on the west coast of British Columbia, 279 miles west of Williams Lake via Chilcotin Highway 20.

Visitor Information: Bella Coola Valley Tourism. In the Co-op store on Mackenzie Street.

Alexander Mackenzie was the first white man to visit this settlement at the head of North Bentinck Arm in 1793. The Hudson’s Bay Co. established a trading post here in 1869.

Bella Coola was connected to Highway 97 in the 1940s, when local volunteers bulldozed what is now BC Highway 20 across the mountains. Besides the highway connection from Williams Lake, B.C. Ferries serves Bella Coola. The town is home to the Bella Coola Band of the Nuxalk Nation; look for totems outside the band office and the traditional house replica next to the church.The area offers visitors hiking, mountain biking, rock climbing and heli-skiing.

Bella Coola has all visitor services. Native jewelry and artwork, fishing and hunting licences and sundries available at Kopas Store; phone 250-799-5553. Campground available.


  • Take a boat trip Alexander Mackenzie Historic Park in Dean Channel, where the explorer left a record of his momentous journey: “From Canada by Land, 22nd July, 1793,” inscribed on a rock.
  • Special events include the annual Bella Coola rodeo, the largest amateur rodeo in Western Canada, which is held the July 1st weekend. The Discovery Coast Music Festival  takes place in mid-July.
  • The museum displays Hudson’s Bay Co. relics and items brought by Norwegian settlers.


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