How To Get Here
Arriving by Car:
From Vancouver, British Columbia, it is a 12-14 hour drive to the Tweedsmuir Park Lodge. Yes its a long way, especially if you are used to European distances, but it is definitely worth the effort and there are many remarkable places to stop.
We recommend doing the Whistler, Pemberton, Lillooet route as it is much more scenic and interesting. You would start in Vancouver and head north on Highway 99 until it intersects with Highway 97 north of Cache Creek. This first part of the trip will take about 5 hours of driving. From there it's 2 hours north up to Williams Lake, and then 5 hours west on Highway 20. Consult the Drive BC website for the latest highway updates and conditions.
This last part of the drive is also the best. There is very little traffic and you really have the sense of heading into the wilderness, as the road first narrows from three lanes to two lanes and then narrows further and there is no longer a white center line. The last 60 kilometres into the Bella Coola Valley is a dirt road, but even this part is well maintained and can easily be driven by standard model cars. Four wheel drive is not necessary.
Without a doubt, the most impressive part of the drive is the 15 kilometres of road that drops 5,000 vertical feet from the Chilcotin Plateau down into the Bella Coola Valley. Don' t forget to gear down! This part of the road was built by the people of Bella Coola as a private initiative in 1953. At that time, the only way into Bella Coola was by boat. The government argued that building a road link would be too difficult because of the "extreme" terrian. However, not to be deterred, locals hired a couple guys with D9's, and with lots of volunteer help, clawed their way up out of the valley to link up with Highway 20, now also know as the Freedom Highway.
From the bottom of the "hill" it is another 17 kilometres to the Tweedsmuir Park Lodge. There are signs on the side of the road so we should be easy to find.
Arriving by Air:
The fastest and most convenient way to get to Tweedsmuir Park Lodge is by air. Its a 1 hour 10 minute flight along the the spine of the Coast Range. On a clear day the views are stellar and can include Mt. Waddington, the highest peak in BC.
During the summer months of July and August , there are are two daily flights with Pacific Coastal Airlines. At other times there is a single daily flight. PCA flights depart from the South Terminal of the Vancouver International Airport. The South Terminal is a five-minute taxi ride from the main terminal. Please arrive 45 minutes prior to your flight. If you have been staying in downtown Vancouver you should allow 1 hour traveling time to the airport for your flight.
On your arrival in Bella Coola we will meet your flight at the airport and transport you to the 45 minute drive to the Tweedsmuir Park Lodge. The charge for the shuttle service is C$140 (to be divided by the number of passengers). If you have booked one of our multi day adventure programs, the shuttle is included.
Remember, two small soft bags are better than one large bag. They are easier to load and store. There is a 50lb weight limit per passenger on Pacific Coastal Airlines and any excess luggage will be charged extra and there may not be space for it on your flight.
Arriving by Ferry on Discovery Coast Passage
Starting in June and running until about the second week in September, BC Ferries offers a ferry service to Bella Coola. This is another spectacular way to travel to Bella Coola.
The ferry departs Port Hardy on the north coast of Vancouver Island. From here you sail north aboard the Queen of Chilliwack. You cruise by small islands in Queen Charlotte Strait, and there is the chance to catch glimpses of harbour seals and sea lions. Also keep keep watch for orca and humpback whales blowing spray and breeching, as well as schools of dolphins that like to play in the wake. You will be travelling through BC's mid-coast, an area only accessible by air or water. You'll see wondrous granite cliffs, dense evergreen forests and, occasionally, deserted sweeps of beach pounded by the Pacific. Some sailings go directly to Bella Coola, others stop at remote coastal communities such as McLoughlin Bay, Shearwater, Klemtu and Ocean Falls. These sparsely populated areas are known for fishing, sea kayaking and visits to Aboriginal sites.
The direct sailing between Port Hardy and Bella Coola is 13 hours. There are departures once a week in both directions. The longer sailings can be either 24 hours or 36 hours, but if you have the time it is a unique opportunity to visit the remote and isolated coastal communities of British Columbia.