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The Hill Bella Coola

London, United...
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The Hill Bella Coola

I have visited this subject before and decided to take another route instead as I chickened out of the Hill, however I would like to take the ferry from Port Hardy to Bella Coola to experience that beautiful route,visit Tweedsmuir and drive down towards Williams lake direction towards Vancouver taking a week to complete, as I am better at going down high mountain roads rather than up them can anyone let me know if I drive down the Hill from Bella Coola if so would the drop be on the far side of the car or are there shere drops both sides of the road, getting queasy even thinking about it but do not want to miss out on the beautiful scenery and wildlife due to fear.

Vancouver, Canada
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1. Re: The Hill Bella Coola

Ok, the hill goes from the high Cariboo plateau down to the narrow valley that has Bella Coola at its end. (If you think about it, Bella Coola has to be at sea level, right, so you would be going UP from there.) It is a dirt road with very steep switch backs, but keep in mind that they do this hill in tour buses (although I'm glad I"M not driving them!) . The road is cut into the side of a steep bluff, so as you switch back and forth, you have the steep cliff up one side and the drop down on the other. There's not a lot of traffic on the road, so you should be able to drive away from the edge for the most part.

I wonder if, psychologically, its better to tackle going up the hill rather than down, which would be heading from Bella Coola to Williams Lake.

Vancouver, Canada
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2. Re: The Hill Bella Coola

We've never done "The Hill" up from Bella Coola. We have done Highway 3 both climbing out of the Okanagan Valley at Osoyoos heading east up to Anarchist Summit and heading west down from Anarchist Summit down to Osoyoos. As someone who has a height problem, I prefer the trip going down west. Somehow it feels better (I'm always the passenger) going down and down and down, even if there is still a significant drop from the side of the road, than going up and up and up. Just my 2 cents (oh, dear, are we going to be able to use this expression after the fall?).

Edited: 01 April 2012, 03:41
Vancouver, Canada
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3. Re: The Hill Bella Coola

:-) @ itchy!!

Vancouver, Canada
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4. Re: The Hill Bella Coola

(to the OP - itchy means "after the autumn" and its a reference to the fact that we are retiring the penny at the end of the year. ;>)

Vancouver-by-the-Sea
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for British Columbia
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5. Re: The Hill Bella Coola

The first mistake visitors unfamiliar with driving in mountainous country make is to forget that 'Eyes Lead The Wheels'.

That means *not staring @ the patch of pavement in front of the car* but raising the head/focusing far as ahead as possible-the Briddish in particular are notorious for poor driving here in BC for just that reason.

London, United...
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6. Re: The Hill Bella Coola

Thanks everyone much appreciated, have looked at some utube must say it looks scary but beautiful, if we did the reverse journey and drove up from Williams lake to Bella Coola to take the ferry to Port Hardy we would be going down the Hill am I right that it looks as though you would have a bank of rocks and trees the whole way down on the passenger side.

Port Moody, Canada
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for Vancouver, British Columbia
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7. Re: The Hill Bella Coola

Sorry to disappoint you but no matter whether you drive up the hill or down the hill you will have some drops on either side. It's because of the nature of the switch backs. I've gone up and down this road as a driver, as a passenger and in an old school bus. I absolutely hate heights but have been fine on this road. As Sam says if you're driving you're looking ahead on the road and if you're the passenger then look ahead as well. The HIll goes pretty quickly as it's just a small part of the "Freedom" Highway. We've often driven from Nimpo Lake down to Bella Coola if the wind has come up and we can't fish.. takes about 1.5 hours or so...the only part that isn't paved is the hill which is a good thing as it slows people down. It's a beautiful part of the country....and we always laugh because we'll see people pulling off into small clearouts to [ark and hike down to the river go fishing and then 100 meters down the road we'll see bears wandering down to the river to go fishing!

I can say I much prefer driving into Bella Coola as opposed to flying in as the valley is long, narrow and surrounded by mountains!

Vancouver, Canada
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8. Re: The Hill Bella Coola

@ Sam - that's because the roads are so crowded in the UK you can't see more than a few meters ahead anyway! :>

London, United...
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9. Re: The Hill Bella Coola

Hi traveller47 as back in 2008 on one of our first adventures in Canada you answered by sending me a link as I was worried then about the road between Pemberton and Lillooet your words and the link you sent helped me then and I have done that trip several times since, once in very heavy mist, I will do this one as vertigo can absolutly rule your life if you let it.

Thanks again traveller47 and all who answered with constructive help much appreciated.

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10. Re: The Hill Bella Coola

The hill has switchbacks so the drop is on both sides. Growing up in Bella Coola all my life, I think most people have less trepedation about going us, than coming down. The sad part about going us is you are leaving Bella Coola!

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