Discover the Great Bear Rainforest

A 5-day, immersive lodge stay near
Bella Coola, British Columbia

Photo: Destination BC/@jesajaclass

Photo: Destination BC/@jesajaclass

Enter a world of pristine rivers, lush valleys and coastal cliffs on this all-inclusive multi-day getaway to the luxurious Tweedsmuir Park Lodge. Nestled in the heart of the Great Bear Rainforest, this Climate-Positive-certified wilderness lodge offers world-class service in an awe-inspiring setting and acts as your homebase to explore the spectacular Bella Coola Valley.

Embark on guided small-group excursions through the region’s diverse landscapes, discovering the jagged Pacific coast, the temperate rainforest and the Chilcotin Plateau. Wildlife viewing, delicious chef-prepared meals and deluxe on-site amenities add to the magical experience. In September and October, the area is known for its grizzly bear population, which emerges to feast on salmon.

British Columbia's Bella Coola Valley

The Bella Coola Valley is located at the heart of an extraordinary area where the world’s most extensive interconnected fjord system, the world’s largest intact temperate rainforest, and a very dramatic mountain landscape of glaciers, plunging creeks, pristine rivers, and granite cliffs converge.

Much of the area is now protected as part of either the Great Bear Rainforest or Tweedsmuir Provincial Park.

Day 1: Arrive in Bella Coola

Marvel at the impressive Coast Range Mountains and expansive fjord network of the British Columbia coastline as you fly from Vancouver International Airport's South Terminal directly to Bella Coola.

Bella Coola is located The flight will take approximately 70 minutes.

Your guide will meet you at the Bella Coola airport and then drive you to the Tweedsmuir Park Lodge, your home base for the next six days. The Lodge is located approximately 45 minutes from the airport

Upon arrival at the Bella Coola airport, you will be met by your guide for introductions. They will assist you with your bags before transferring you ~45 minutes to the lodge.

Alternatively, you can arrive at the lodge by car. Check in is 2pm. If you arrive early, enjoy a bite to eat in the main lodge or relax with a cocktail on the sun deck.

In the evening, enjoy a multi-course dinner in the dining room. All meals incorporate locally grown, fresh organic produce, and herbs from the kitchen garden add fresh daily accents to each plate served. Seafood is also supplied locally and is caught wild in the waters off Bella Coola. 

After dinner, enjoy an evening under the stars.

Day 2: Explore Great Bear Rainforest

After breakfast, you'll head out for a full day of exploring the nature, wildlife and culture of the Bella Coola Valley. The lodge is ideally located to take in the beauty of the glacier-fed river and the surrounding mountains. In the morning, head out on the river and in the afternoon, take in the magic of the rainforest. A packed lunch is provided. In the late afternoon, you'll return to the lodge for a rest and snack. You can take full advantage of the amenities at the lodge, such as the sauna or hot tub, before feasting on a multi-course dinner.

Morning: Atnarko Scenic River Drift

Drift down the meandering Atnarko River between lush green forests and with the snow capped peaks of the Coast Range Mountains towering overhead.

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. This is the best activity for serious photographers. The Atnarko River features Class One waters. These drifts are not about the thrill of running rapids, but are about the serenity of traveling at a slow pace in a pristine environment with plenty of opportunities to capture amazing memories and photographs.

During Grizzly Bear season, you'll be able to observe the bears in their natural environment, foraging for food and looking after their young. For the bears, the salmon that arrives in the local river system to spawn is an easy meal. They congregate at the water's edge to feast and fatten up before winter. Due to the abundance of food, the bears are less shy than usual and more tolerant of each other, as well as the people drifting by with their cameras.

Afternoon: Guided Interpretive Walk

To gain a full appreciation of this magnificent part of the world, it is best to venture out with a local guide who will draw on their own personal experiences and knowledge of the area to share information about the various temperate climate zones and their ecology. Together, these factors make the Bella Coola Valley one of the most interesting and biodiverse places to visit in the world.

They will also share their knowledge of the specific plants and animals that are native to the area. The stories shared will help to provide context to the geography and history that gave rise to this incredible landscape.

In autumn, Tweedsmuir Park Lodge is all about bears and a highlight activity is to venture out on foot, with a guide, to discover these majestic animals in their natural habitat. Guests will learn about bear ecology and how to cohabitate safely amongst these magnificent creatures. Guides will take guests to some of the bears’ favourite hang outs and will point out signs of bear activity such as claw marks, day beds, scat, and tufts of fur stuck in the bark of rub trees.

Other wildlife species that also inhabit the forest include black bears, mule deer, moose, American beaver, mountain goats, bald eagles and numerous amphibian species. The adjacent lands are also a significant habitat for Vaux’s swift, the Peregrine falcon, fisher, wolverine, and Townsend’s big-eared bat.

Day 3: Climb & Hike

Enjoy a healthy and hearty breakfast that will fuel you for a day of adventure. This morning, you'll head out on a guided climbing adventure followed by an afternoon guided hike. A packed lunch is provided. In the late afternoon, enjoy a dip in the river and soak in the hot tub before heading to the dining room for another spectacular dinner.

Morning: Via Ferrata Climbing Adventure

This assisted climbing experience provides you with a spectacular self-propelled mountain adventure, amazing scenery, and an exciting feeling of exposure with low risk.

The experienced guides will help you up short rock faces, across thin ledges and along ridge lines, all at your pace, making sure you can make the most of the stunning natural landscape in a safe manner. There are two route options; a moderate vertical ladder route and a more advanced route that includes 2 aerial wire bridge sections with overhead support cables. The guide, with input from you, will determine which route to take. Perched atop the two climbing routes is a lookout deck with stunning views of the Bella Coola Valley and its surrounding peaks. Here you can celebrate your journey to the summit and enjoy an optional charcuterie board and sparkling water.

Afternoon: Guided Bella Coola Valley Hike

Discover extraordinary hikes with the support of a local guide. These hikes are a step above your ordinary walk in the park. The scenery is jaw dropping and the forests and rivers remain pristine. Options include: an easy stroll along the Tote Road for a glimpse into Bella Coola’s pioneering past; a moderate loop trail that follows in the footsteps of Sir Alexander Mackenzie on his epic crossing of Canada in 1793; or a vigorous and exercising climb up to elevation points to enjoy views of the valley, waterfalls and mountain views.

All tours are are led by one of our experienced local guides. They will share their interests in wildlife, geography, forest ecosystems and photography to ensure that the guest experience is truly memorable and well spent.

These eco tours involve approximately 2 hours of hiking on forest trails and tracks. The pace varies from moderate to vigorous walking based on the difficulty level of the trail and fitness level of the group.

Day 4: Indigenous Teachings

After breakfast, set off to learn about the original inhabitants of the land. You'll learn about the history and geography of the region before boarding a shuttle that will take you to various points of interest in the region. Return to the lodge for a snack on the deck. The rest of the day is yours to enjoy the amenities of the property before and after dinner.

Highlights of the Bella Coola Valley

This well-rounded multi-stop tour of the Bella Coola Valley is designed to immerse you in a sense of time and place. While it is not possible to see everything in the Valley in one visit, you'll be able to see some of the highlights that make it so special. An Indigenous guide from the the Nuxalk or Ulkatcho First Nation will help you see the region through the eyes of her original inhabitants.

You will stop at the Norwegian Heritage House, see the Totem Poles, have lunch at the Clayton Falls and see the Giant Cedars Trail.

Day 5: Final Morning

Enjoy one last peaceful morning in the forest and another delicious breakfast before saying goodbye to the Bella Coola Valley. After checking out at 11 am, you’ll transfer to the airport or ferry terminal for your return home.