From Bear Viewing to Bird Watching, you’ll be Thrilled by Bella Coola’s Wildlife.
Think of the Bella Coola Valley as a vast, wilderness viewing stage. The lush meadows, dense forests and high mountain ranges are home to grizzly & black bear, blacktail deer, wolves, cougar & mountain goats. Salmon spawn & schools of silvery trout are found in pristine rivers & creeks. The saltwater estuary is alive with the sounds and sights of birdlife & waterfowl. Watch an eagle swoop down to fish or even to spot a bear beside the road or ambling through a garden.
Essential Wildlife Viewing Tips:
- Treat wildlife with respect. Always keep a safe distance & use binoculars.
- Pay attention to local signage advising of area bears
- Never approach a wild animal under any circumstances.
- Never attempt to feed or touch a wild animal.
- Do not bring dogs or other pets to sighting areas.
- Avoid nesting sites & dens of wild animals.
- In autumn, avoid areas & trails near salmon streams.
- When hiking make noise to avoid surprise encounters.
- If you have a surprise encounter, use a calm voice to identify yourself & slowly back away from the area. Do not turn & run
Remember that these are wild animals that can be dangerous. For the best wildlife sightings, sign up with a local guide, you’ll have stories to tell when you go home.
How & Where to see Bella Coola Wildlife:
Harbour seals, Bald eagles and Blue heron are commonly seen at Clayton Falls Recreation Park (2 km west of the public dock)
- To spot Mountain Goats, check out the cliffs above Firvale & the area around Assanany Creek, west of Firvale
- In Spring, take a Guided Tour to explore the wildlife-rich Estuary & keep alert for Bears on the shoreline, soaring Eagles, a variety of Waterfowl & Seals
- During Spring & Early Summer, drive high in the alpine regions on forest service roads to spot black & grizzly bears before they migrate to the Valley floor for salmon season
- In the Fall the river banks & coastal areas that contain salmon are frequented by bears
- During July & August, from the highway bridges at stream crossings between Bella Coola & Hagensborg watch & revel in the phenomenal spawning process of the Chum & Pink Salmon.
- During the month of September, the Bear Viewing Station at Belarko, in Tweedsmuir Park 30 minutes “Up Valley” from Hagensborg, provides a safe way to get close to bears; watching from a platform as the bears dive & splash in the river. The station is open 7 days a week & is fully staffed.