Gateway to the Great Bear Rainforest
Great Bear Rainforest Bella Coola

Belarko Bear Viewing Station, Tweedsmuir Park

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.

© Michael Wigle Photography

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 more information on wildlife viewing, visit our WildSafeBC page. 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:

  • wildlife photo bear

    © Michael Wigle Photography

    Click for Larger View

    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. For details, visit: BC Park’s web page.

  • 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.

Bella Coola Valley Tourism is a proud member of the Commercial Bear Viewing Association of BC.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • If Pets need Care?

    There is no veterinary service in the Valley; the closest is in Williams Lake.
  • Pet Precautions

    The Valley also supports a healthy population of cougars (mountain lions). When visiting the Valley with your dog, keep it on a leash for its own protection.

Emergency Phone Numbers

  • Conservation Officer

    1 877 952-7277
  • Ambulance

    1 800 461-9911
  • Forest Fire

    1 800 663-5555
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