Drive to Bella Coola, British Columbia

We went into the Visitor here in Williams Lake to use their WIFI signal. The young woman behind the desk asked if we had ever seen Bella Coola. We said no. She said it was beautiful and we should go see it as part of our journey to Alaska.

It didn’t take us long to decide that this would be a fun adventure. What finally tipped the scales was the promise of fresh seafood when we arrived in Bella Coola and experiencing the last 50 miles of the road into Bella Coola called Freedom Road.  So at 3 pm in the afternoon we turned west onto Route 20 and began our first adventure on the journey north…..a 600 mile detour for fresh seafood down Freedom Road.

The Freedom Road was built in 1953 to open up Bella Coola to road traffic. Until that time the only way to get to Bella Coola was by ferry. It’s 27 miles of switch backs and 9km of the road is 18% grade.

After 120 miles on Route 20 we came upon this sign telling us that we had arrived at Barney’s, the RV park we had called to make reservations before leaving Williams Lake.

The park was a pretty little park and the mountain lake next to our site was beautiful.

We got up early the next morning and began the 175 mile journey from Barney’s RV to Bella Coola. The snow covered mountains that we were going to be traveling over on Freedom Road waited for us off in the distance.

 The scenery on route 20 as we approached bella coola was impossible to drive by without stopping for pictures.


Mom told me i’d see these critters with four wheels….boy are they weird!!

young moose

One more mountain river obviously made for spectacular picture taking. It was hard not to just hang out and take in the peace and quiet. But like the water under the bridge, we too had to move on to the destination that was calling us.


The tension began to build when we saw this sign.

freedom road

The fun begins

road sign

Our first bear since arriving in Canada

black bear

Should I climb this tree to be safe?? Maybe I’ll just keep and eye on them for a minute.

balck bear

The road begins its switchback journey down into the bella coola valley off in the distance.

bella coola road

Now it’s beginning to get interesting. The jeep was built to drive on “straight down” mountain roads.

steep road

Rugged terrain and the rugged ancestors who lived their lives in this spiritual place.


As you lift your eyes toward the mountain peaks you can see the glaciers feeding the valleys below with water.

hanging glacier

The fertile valley nurtured by the mountains that surround it.

mountains and valley of Bella Coola

The ferry landing at Bella Coola and fishing boats docked in the distance at the Bella Coola pier.

Bella Coola

Local artwork in the town of Bella Coola.

totem pole

The clouds are thickening over the mountains, it’s time to begin the 180 mile journey back to barney’s rv park and a glass of wine. Its been a long day, but a day we wouldn’t have missed!!

We were about half way back up freedom road when this guy graced us with his presence.

grizzly bear

As we watched him walk across the road in front of us, it was obvious that he is fully aware that he is at the top of the food chain. He barely even bothered to glance over at us and he definitely wasn’t in any hurry. The only word that even begins to capture his presence is “majestic”. It was hard to breathe watching him. (zoom in on his claws!!)

The man of the mountain.

grizzly bear

Ok, i’m done posing for pictures…..time to get back to eating grubs…..or berries……or actually, eating whatever I “want” to eat.

grizzly bear

Wild cows just don’t measure up after you’ve seen a grizzly in the wild.


It’s going to feel good to kick off our shoes and relax after a 400 mile day of driving.


What a great day!!!!
See you down the road. ….yawn.

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