Hiking the Rainbow Range

If it’s an outdoor holiday you’re after, you couldn’t do better for a destination than the Bella Coola Valley, an isolated paradise of old growth rain forests, soaring peaks and spectacular wildlife. It’s also home to Tweedsmuir Park Lodge, our luxury eco lodge in Canada, where (despite its remote location), the only hardship is in deciding which of the many activities available to experience first. Ideally you should allow at least four nights for your visit to really get a sense of this beautiful valley, taking in a combination of grizzly bear viewing, fishing, relaxing, and of course, a spot of hiking.

One of the best trails, if that last option hoists your backpack, is the glorious Rainbow Range, which stretches across the Tweedsmuir South Provincial Park into the Itcha Ilgachuz Provincial Park beyond. It was first named Tsitsutl (“rainbow mountains”) in the the Ulkatcho dialect of the Carrier language, after the wild variations in colour of its terrain, and in fact the highest peak of the range still bears this name. The mix of hues is due to heavy mineralisation in the volcanic lavas and sands, complemented by intense spots of colour from foliage and wildflowers, not to mention the piercing blue of the sky. It’s like the whole valley has taken its colour temperature up a few notches. After just a ninety-minute-or-so hike, you’ll be rewarded with jaw-dropping panoramic views, often without another soul in sight but for the odd eagle wheeling overhead.

There are, of course, a number of more (or less) advanced hiking options in both the range and the Bella Coola area, and Tweedsmuir Park Lodge staff will be happy to advise. The luxury eco lodge in British Columbia also offers guided nature walks (ideal for families) as well as heli-hiking – the fastest way to access the most magnificent views. With emerald lakes and snow-capped mountains stretching out before you, it really is like finding yourself on top of the world.


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