Great Bear Rainforest
Raw untamed beauty awaits in the Great Bear Rainforest, a pristine wilderness the size of Ireland, home to a variety of marine and wildlife and the only place on the planet to see the elusive white Kermode, or Spirit Bear.
The Great Bear Rainforest is one of the world’s greatest wildlife areas, stretching along the central and northern coast of British Columbia from Knight Inlet all the way up to the Alaska Panhandle. The area has 25% of the world’s coastal temperate rainforest and this incredible landscape includes glacier-cut fjords, majestic granite cliffs, the Coast Mountains, remote islands and a myriad of waterways.
This is a brilliant spot to see bears including grizzlies and black bears and the only place in the world to see the famous white Kermode, or Spirit bear, a subspecies of the black bear. The best time for bear watching is during the annual salmon run when the bears come out to hunt for fish from late August to October. For the best chance to see Kermode Bears, we suggest you stay near Klemtu on Swindle Island at Spirit Bear Lodge, an ecotourism venture owned and operated by First Nation Kitasoo/Xaixais. We would also advise taking a guided tour with a local expert for all bear spotting trips. Other wildlife includes coastal wolf, mountain goat, Sitka deer, cougar and elk, while marine life includes orca, humpback, grey and minke whale, sea otters and dolphins. So, whether you’re on a boat tour, kayaking, rafting, sport fishing or hiking, keep your eyes peeled and your binoculars close to hand.
It doesn’t get more off-the-beaten-track than the Great Bear Rainforest and with few roads the area is best accessed by floatplane or boat. One of the main gateways to the region is Bella Coola in central British Columbia, a 75-minute flight from Vancouver. Alternatively, you can take the Inside Passage ferry route and base your adventures at a remote coastal lodge, such as Nimmo Bay or Knight Inlet. Although the best way to see the area is on the water, for those staying at Tweedsmuir Park Lodge, there is the opportunity to go Heli-hiking in the Bella Coola Valley, where there are several First Nation villages and totem poles spread across the scenic valley landscape.
For those who really want to get away from it all and experience Canada’s magnificent wildlife in its natural habitat, we think a trip to the Great Bear Rainforest offers an off-grid adventure that will stay with you forever.