Anahim/Nimpo Lake BC
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Bella Coola - At the end of Highway 20

The only Central Coast community in British Columbia with a highway link to the rest of Canada, Bella Coola sits at the end of Highway 20 West. It also sits at the west end of the 'Freedom Highway'. The Freedom Highway was so named to commemorate Bella Coola's inclusion with the rest of British Columbia by road - or by two ruts - as most described it. The government refused to help build an overland route from Bella Coola to Anahim Lake where Highway 20 continued to Williams Lake. Locals got together Bella Coola Harbour with $250, dynamite, equipment and two years of sheer determination and backbreaking work to build a road up the rock face of mountains in the Coast Range. On September 26, 1953, the catskinner from Bella Coola touched the blade of his cat to that of the cat driver moving the last of the boulders out of the way from Anahim Lake above. It still took 10 hours to drive the 90 miles from the port of Bella Coola to Anahim Lake but it was enough to convince the government that it could be done, and they took over road improvements in 1955. It is still an 'interesting' drive and the steepest highway in Canada with an 18% grade. Bella Coola is the terminus of the Discovery Coast Ferry Service, has its own airport and is a major supply area for delivery of goods and service to the largest community within the Central Coast. The townsite of about 1000 people offers amenities such as lodging, groceries and fuel. The Bella Coola Valley is surrounded by steep mountainsIt is also the jumping off point for ocean fishing should you wish to charter a boat out of the harbour. On the way to the townsite itself, you will go through several small communities that also offer various amenities. Hagensborg is the next largest community in the Valley and is just east of Bella Coola on Highway 20. You will hit blacktop at the foot of the 'Hill' and find it comfortable driving from there on in. The entire valley is surrounded on both sides by magnificently treed mountains sporting beautiful waterfalls. Along the way, you might wish to stop at the Fisheries campground along the Atnarko River, and try your hand at Salmon fishing. There are several excellent hiking trails in the area and for those who would just like a short day hike, there's the Kettle Pond and Burnt Bridge trails. If you would like a long hike, try Hunlen Falls Trail.
Hunlen Falls is named for the Indian Trapper, Hana-Lin and is the third highest free falling water fall in Canada at over 1000 feet. It is at the northern end of the Turner Lake chain and can be reached by flying in from Nimpo Lake or hiking 10 miles on the HunlenAtnarko River Trail. It starts at the bottom of the Bella Coola hill at the Atnarko 'tote' road and climbs over 6000 feet.
Make sure to bring your camera with you into the park, as it isn't at all unusual to have Black Bear, Grizzly and deer cross your path as you drive down the highway. Since Bella Coola has the ferry terminus many people like to take a circle drive when on vacation in the area. You can follow the highways from Vancouver, through Williams Lake onto Highway 20 west, right through the Chilcotin, down into the Bella Coola Valley and pick up a ferry down the coast back to Victoria or Vancouver. It just doesn't get any better than that!

Follow the links, and see what the West Chilcotin is really like!

Stop off at Eagle's Nest Resort on your way to Bella Coola.
Elkin Creek Ranch in Nemaiah Valley accommodation and activities.
Corkscrew Creek Adventures Outfitting & Trailriding
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