Bella Coola Grizzlie Bears at the Tweedsmuir Park Lodge
Experience Tweedsmuir Park Lodge

Scenic River Drifts

Scenic River Drifts in Bella Coola to view Grizzly Bears, Black Bears & Eagles

River Drifts

We recommend these eco-tours as a 'must do' for all of our guests.They are appropriate for all ages and abilities.

Experience a scenic drift down the meandering Atnarko and Bella Coola Rivers between lush green forests, and with the snowcapped peaks of the Coast Range towering overhead. For long stretches there is simply no evidence of any human impact on the land.

Our Private river drifts are in McKenzie drift boats. These boats have comfortable seating for up to 3 adults (weight restrictions apply) and provide a stable platform from which to take photographs. The boats are non-motorized, which means we do not disturb the wildlife. Yes, relax and enjoy the scenery, but  keep your eyes open for bald eagles, river otters, and bears, as well as five species of salmon which call these waters home.

Our Semi-Private drifts are on a raft where a maximum of 6 guests and one guide can sit. Wether on a raft or a McKenzie boat, you will have an experienced guide who is an expert oarsman with many years of experience on coastal rivers. They know the wildlife and the fauna well and have extensive knowledge of the local history and geography.

The rivers are Class One waters. This means our drift trips are not about the thrill of running rapids, but about the serenity of traveling at a slow pace in a pristine environment with lots of time to enjoy the scenery and wildlife.

Types of Trips  

Our Scenic River Drifts take place from June 1st to August 23nd. Grizzly bear activity becomes much more frequent from late August onwards, if you are in Bella Coola l during the fall,  please visit our Grizzly Bear Viewing page. Note: it is still possible to view bears between June and early August, though they are more prominent in late summer and fall when the rivers are teeming with fish! If your specific reason for visiting us is to see grizzly bears, we STRONGLY recommend booking a trip in September or October. See our blog post on why October is a great time to visit us: Bella Coola Grizzly Bear Viewing in October.

Scenic River Drift - These trips are 2 to 3 hours long, depending on river conditions

June 1 - August 23

Drop in Scenic River Drift (rates available upon request):

While we only reserve spots for our guests participating in our Bella Coola Explorer package, it is possible from time to time, that we have available spots for drop in. Contact the reservations office or the Lodge for availability. These seats will be offered on a first come first serve basis.

August 24 - October 15

Rates are exclusive of tax: 2.5% for International guests & 5% for Canadian residents.

When is the Best Time to Take a River Drift?

The best time to drift down the Bella Coola and Atnarko Rivers is from early June to the middle of October. June and July are the perfect time to see the lush light green valley, and the snowcaps peaks above. You will experience migrating and resident birds as well as the chance to see a few of the early bears of the season. Late August to October is the optimum time for the Bella Coola Grizzly Bear viewing season. The Salmon travel up the rivers to spawn, and ultimately die. This attracts the Grizzly Bears to these rivers from a large region.

If you are interested in our Grizzly Bear Tours and Bear Viewing, make sure to to have a look at our special packages which have been selected by the Canadian Tourism Commission as part of their prestigious Signature Experiences Collection!

We strongly recommend pre-booking this tour prior to your arrival to ensure there is availability. Please contact us by email or toll free 1.877.982.2407 for reservations or to design a custom tour.

What to Bring

  • Good worn in hiking shoes. Low or medium cut shoes are suitable for most hikes
  • Small backpack for lunch, snacks, fluids and personal gear
  • Comfortable pants
  • Shirt, fleece or sweater
  • Fleece or knitted hat, baseball cap or sun hat
  • Thin gloves
  • Change of socks
  • Wind jacket and pants or thin rain gear
  • 1 litre water bottle
  • Sunscreen and lip balm
  • Camera with a large memory card for all those great shots
  • Binoculars
  • Personal medication if applicable


Important note:  Guests will be required to sign a waiver prior to this tour.