Those taking the Discovery Coast Passage should be aware that, depending on their departure time and length of trip, they may have to ‘camp’ one night aboard ship. A sleeping bag or warm blanket will enhance your comfort in one of the reclining seats. Alternatively, bring along a camping mattress and stretch out on the floor. A small number of cots and blankets are available onboard. Hardy types are also permitted to pitch their (self-supporting) tents on the deck.
As BC Ferry sailings are scheduled in the early morning, you will probably wish to spend the night nearby in either Port Hardy or Prince Rupert. For the Queen of Chilliwack‘s mostly early morning departures from Port Hardy and Bella Coola, it’s wise to book accommodation nearby.
In Port Hardy, private campgrounds are available half a mile (1 km) north of the ferry dock, as well as on the road to the ferry.
In Prince Rupert, Prudhomme Lake Provincial Park offers camping close to the ferry. This park offers vehicle accessible campsites on a first-come, first-served basis. Nearby Diana Lake Provincial Park provides opportunities for a variety of day-use activities. It also has a fascinating nature trail that winds through lush coastal rainforest. All five species of Pacific salmon, as well as steelhead, rainbow trout and dolly varden can be found in the lakes and creeks around this park. Observe spawning salmon in Diana Creek in August and September.
In Bella Coola, the nearest campground to the ferry terminal is in Hagensborg, 10 miles (16 km) east of Bella Coola. Two private campsites are both located on the Bella Coola River east of Hagensborg.
On the Bella Coola River, near the western boundary of Tweedsmuir South Provincial Park, McCall Flats is a Forest Service recreation site with vehicle-only sites. No tenting is allowed because of the bear hazard. The main features of this site are its sandy riverside beach, sportfishing, and numerous roads and trails nearby for hiking, mountain biking, or horseback riding. Travel south from the park entrance/exit sign on Hwy 20 at Burnt Bridge for about 1.5 miles (2.5 km), then turn west onto the gravel Talchako Forest Service Road. After crossing the Talchako Bridge, turn right (north) onto the Noomst Forest Service Road at the west end of the bridge. Travel 0.5 mile (1 km), then turn right (east) at the sign indicating the site, which is just over 1 mile (2 km) from Hwy 20.
In summer, accommodations fill up quickly at both ends, so reservations are recommended.
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Forest Service campsites located close to Bella Coola include those at Odegaard Falls and Nusatsum River. Just southwest of Bella Coola, Blue Jay Lake has vehicle/tent campsites and lakeside picnic areas. It’s a popular spot for canoeing, angling, and swimming. A float is anchored about 150 feet (50 m) offshore for swimmers.
Campgrounds in Tweedsmuir South Provincial Park are located on the Atnarko River near park headquarters, at the bottom of the Hill and farther west at Fisheries Pool, near Stuie. The Atnarko Campground is situated in a grove of old-growth Douglas fir and is popular with anglers, as is Fisheries Pool Campground. Most trailers and RVs can be accommodated, although no hookups are provided. The park abounds with recreational opportunities for those who desire, and are prepared for- a wilderness experience. Grizzly and black bears range throughout the park, and grizzlies congregate on the Dean and Atnarko Rivers between May and October when salmon are in the river.
People should be particularly cautious when fishing and hiking. South Tweedsmuir is located on Highway 20, approximately 400 kilometres west of Williams Lake, midway between Anahim Lake and Bella Coola. The highway from Williams Lake consists of both gravel and paved sections and is well maintained; travel time is between 4 1/2 and 6 hours depending on your destination within the park and road conditions. The Hill is the stretch of Highway 20 between Heckman Pass and Atnarko Campground – though steep (up to 18% grades), it is passable throughout the year even by semi-trailers.
Campgrounds & RV Parks
Information on Provincial Park Campgrounds and Reservations, National Park Campgrounds and Reservations, Camping on Crown Land in BC Recreation Sites, Frequently Asked Questions on Parks and Campgrounds, and Provincial Park User Fees. Go to Campgrounds & RV Parks.