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 > Traveling From Bella Coola BC

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diazr2

Oregon

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Posted: 12/10/12 09:57am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Hi I am new to the forum but excited about the possibilities this forum will add to my travels. I live in Oregon and planning a trip to Vancouver Island. I am going to take a ferry from Port Hardy to Bella Coola. Then travel on Route 20 out of Bella Coola to the mainland. I was wondering has anyone on this forum traveled Route 20 out of Bella Coola lately. I know it use to be a gravel road and very treacherous but I have heard that they have fixed most of it in the last few years. I would love to hear from anyone that has traveled the road lately. Thanks in advance.,





paulj

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Posted: 12/10/12 10:20am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I drove it in 2004 right after they worked on it. They were spreading dust suppressant (calcium chloride) as I came down. They didn't change the grade or the surface, just widened it a bit. On the return trip I saw a brake fire on a pickup with camper at the bottom rest stop. I haven't read of additional road work since then.

I was in a small SUV, and had just driven some steeper roads in the Frasier canyon, so The Hill didn't frighten me. If you can handle gravel forest service roads in Oregon and Washington you can handle this. Going up should be less of an issue. The sign at the top warns of 10 and 11% grades. The gravel portion is from Anahim Lake to the bottom of The Hill. Hwy 20 reminded me a lot of driving to Alaska.

[image]

[image]

My picasa gallery

The highlights of our 4 day stay in the valley were the side trips to hikes and waterfalls. The owner of Gnome's Home RV park in Hagensborg was quite helpful.

Informative BC website

[image]
DriveBC has a webcam at Anahim Lake

The mods might move this thread to the Canada/Alaska section.

* This post was edited 12/10/12 10:43am by paulj *

diazr2

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Posted: 12/10/12 10:43am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Thanks Paul. I have traveled in Alaska as well and didnt find the highway too concerning. I have heard that they have done some real work on the road in 2006. I am planning on staying at Gnome as well. Thanks for the info. I really appreciate it. What part of Washington to you live in. I live on the coast here in Oregon

paulj

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Posted: 12/10/12 10:50am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

The photos and route shown on Google Maps are the same as what I recall. The bottom zigzag is the steepest and narrowest part.

diazr2

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Posted: 12/10/12 11:07am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Bottom zig zag in which direction :-)

paulj

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Posted: 12/10/12 12:54pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Coming from Bella Coola, the highway follows a major river valley for quite some ways. At the base of The Hill, the main river turns south toward Atnarko and Stillwater Lake, while the highway turns north climbing above a lesser river. Tweedsmuir summit is gentle, and doesn't drop much as you head toward Anahim Lake. It's not until you cross the Fraser River near Williams Lake that there is another noticeable grade.

If you like gravel roads, there's a lot to explore along the Fraser south of Hwy 20. Even the paved roads like 99 and 12 (around Lillooet) are scenic (and hotter than the coast).

In 2004 we drove in and out of Bella Coola on 20. The previous year we drove the length of Vancouver Island, and took the ferry to Prince Rupert. And previous year we drove to Cape Scott. So the 2004 trip focused more on exploring the interior.

* This post was edited 12/10/12 01:03pm by paulj *

Z-Peller

Oceanside BC

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Posted: 12/11/12 03:37pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

diazr2 wrote:

Hi I am new to the forum but excited about the possibilities this forum will add to my travels. I live in Oregon and planning a trip to Vancouver Island. I am going to take a ferry from Port Hardy to Bella Coola. Then travel on Route 20 out of Bella Coola to the mainland. I was wondering has anyone on this forum traveled Route 20 out of Bella Coola lately. I know it use to be a gravel road and very treacherous but I have heard that they have fixed most of it in the last few years. I would love to hear from anyone that has traveled the road lately. Thanks in advance.,



You didn't say what kind of rig you are travelling in....that will make a difference to your opinion of the Bella Coola Hill.....paulj's pic of the road is a good one...be prepared to meet any size rig coming downhill at you.....if you are in an RV then keep an eye on your Tranny temp....its a longer pull than it seems...

PS...don't miss "Farwell Canyon"... a short drive off Hwy 20, just east of Riske Crk...it is really scenic!

* This post was last edited 12/11/12 03:54pm by Z-Peller *   View edit history


Bill..
2017 Bigfoot 10.4 camper...2016 GMC 3500 4x4 Xcab Duramax Dually...

cbinpa

Olympic Peninsula, WA

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Posted: 12/13/12 04:37pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

We drove both up and down that hill in 2006, I think it was, maybe 2007--and they were about half way done with work on the hill. They did a lot of rock blasting to widen a few spots and particularly a few of the hairpin turns. They didn't take out the "steep" or "treacherous"--it's a long, long, long way down to the valley floor. I have to say though it is far far better than the cat track that existed on our 1974 venture. As PaulJ said, if you've been on Washington and Oregon logging roads, this will not bother you much--- it is, however, several degrees steeper than most logging roads on the Olympic Peninsula. Pulling anything of any length could be problematic, for sure. It's a beautiful trip, so if you are a good driver, have gauges to check your temp. etc., and are confident in your equipment, you will have a great time.

diazr2

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Posted: 12/13/12 06:25pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Thanks guys for all the info you all have been a great help. I think I will continue with my plans to see this part of the country in September. Thanks again for all your help.

Z-Peller

Oceanside BC

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Posted: 12/15/12 02:10am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

PS...just a heads up....that ferry to Bella Coola only runs in the summer months....look for "discovery coast" on BC ferries website for 2013 schedule....I think Sept 5th or 7th is last sailing for the season...

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