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Clayton Falls Recreation Site

The view from Clayton Falls

Oceanside park sits near run-of-river hydroelectric facility

The Clayton Falls recreation area is the only ocean-front park in the Bella Coola area. The Bella Coola Valley stretches from the Pacific Ocean in the west, to the Chilcotin Plateau in the east.

Clayton Falls is located on the traditional territory of Nuxalk Nation.

Where it is, what to do & safety information

Clayton Falls is located on Clayton Falls Creek about 5 km west of Bella Coola. To get an idea of the layout of the recreation site, see our area map. Use this Google Maps link for directions to the rec siite, or this Google Maps link to Bella Coola.

The Clayton Falls Recreation Area is the only ocean-front park in the vicinity of Bella Coola and is the only oceanfront park currently owned and maintained by BC Hydro.

Facilities include:

  • Wheelchair accessible picnic area with picnic tables
  • Fire pits
  • Pit toilets
  • Parking
  • Sorry, no drinking water

Walking trails lead to a viewpoint of Clayton Falls and the spawning channel, and provide ocean access.

  • Clayton Falls is a day use recreation site only. Overnight camping is not permitted.
  • Trails are closed to all motorized vehicles.

Strong underwater currents in area

There are strong underwater currents in the vicinity of Clayton Falls. Please obey all posted warning signs and do not enter Clayton Falls Creek in the vicinity of the falls.

Pack out your garbage in off season

This site is open to the public year round but only maintained on a regular schedule from May through September. During the off season place pack out your garbage and leave the site tidy for other visitors.

History & hydroelectric operation

Bella Coola’s first electrical system was established in 1955, with the commission of a diesel- fueled generating station.

Clayton Falls Hydroelectric Generating Station was built in 1962 to reduce demand for diesel fuel. This is a run-of-river facility that requires no storage of water in the Clayton Falls headpond.

As water runs through the dam and penstocks, it causes the blades of turbines to rotate. The turbines drive generators that convert mechanical energy into electrical energy. The diesel generating station supplements hydroelectric operations to provide the total electricity required by Bella Coola and surrounding communities.

In 1991 the Clayton Falls Hydroelectric Generating Station was upgraded to further reduce the demand for diesel fuel. The generating capacity of Clayton Falls Hydroelectric facility was increased from 500 kilowatts to 2,000 kW of power.

As part of this expansion project, the dam tailrace was relocated to serve as a fish channel to provide improved spawning and rearing habitat.