Mother Bear showing love to her cub

Grizzly Bears of the Great Bear Rainforest

Spectacular Scenery & One of the World’s Great Predators

Mother's love

Grizzly bears are one of the most majestic predators on the planet, and there are not many places in the world where you can observe them up close, in their natural habitat. The Great Bear Rainforest, a vast stretch of wilderness on Canada’s remote west coast is also one of the most beautiful – and remote places – to visit. You can only get there by small boat or floatplane, and the area is an ecological paradise - from the big mammals (Grizzly and Black bears; Humpback and Orca whales), to the schools of migrating salmon and the bald eagles that feed on them, down to the infinitely diverse and colorful tidal estuaries. It is also an area rich in aboriginal culture and history.

  • Starting From

    $3,440 USD

    per person
  • Trip length

    8 days

    7 nights
  • Hot Spots
    Vancouver, Port Hardy
LET’S PERSONALIZE THIS TRIP

Private Viewing Platforms & Boats


This is really a unique opportunity because you’ll enjoy boats and private viewing platforms to really get up close to the bears. With our expert guides you will get as close as possible and learn about their social interactions and behaviors

It’s nearly impossible to describe seeing your first Grizzly – breathtaking, thrilling and humbling all in one moment. Keep an eye out too for Black bears, wolves, Bald Eagles and Killer Whales. A photographer’s dream!

Getting There is Half the Fun


There are not many places in North America that are more remote. There are no roads to get you there. Typically we fly into Vancouver then travel to the east coast of Vancouver Island, then take a small boat or a floatplane across the Inside Passage to an area of mainland Canada that is a patchwork of deep fjiords and high mountains.

The weather can be unpredictable on the north coast but even when the mist and rain is rolling over this temperate rainforest, it is awesomely beautiful and peaceful.

Expert Guides and a Wonderful Cozy Floating Lodge


After each game drive, you’ll return to a lovely floating lodge nestled on the edge of land and sea. Your hosts include wildlife biologists and nature guides, and in the evening everyone relaxes and shares stories over a gourmet meal and a glass of wine.

YOUR TRIP
DAY-BY-DAY

Think of this itinerary as just a starting point. Our experienced Canadian Insiders will create a personalized experience for you that matches your schedule, travel style and budget.

VIEW MAP List days
Day 01

Arrive in Vancouver

Today you arrive in the beautiful coastal city of Vancouver. Surrounded by mountains, ocean and forest, Vancouver is one of a kind. Tonight you settle into a welcoming Vancouver hotel – the comfortable atmosphere, welcoming staff and beautiful views make for a great first night.

Private Transfer from Vancouver Airport

(1 of 1 activities)

Bypass the crowds and start making the most of your vacation. A friendly driver orients you to the city as you drive in.

Overnight in Vancouver

Overnight in a Superior level hotel, such as the Sutton Place Vancouver. Superior Hotels are perfect for travelers wanting great value plus more upscale accommodations. Exceptional service, location, and quality characterize these properties.

Day 02

Explore Vancouver

You have a full day to explore Vancouver. Included is a small group tour, to explore Vancouver’s beautiful North Shore, where you’ll see beautiful ocean vistas and stunning old growth rainforest.

Peak and Canyon Vancouver Area Tour

(1 of 1 activities)

This tour takes you to the amazing temperate rainforest of Vancouver’s North Shore. Enjoy light adventure on this half-day excursion into the stunning nature that surrounds the city of Vancouver.

Day 03

Vancouver to Port Hardy

This morning you will be taken by private transfer to Vancouver Airport’s South Terminal for your flight to Port Hardy. Enjoy the bird’s eye view of British Columbia’s rugged coast line on your journey to the northern tip of Vancouver Island. Upon arrival make your way to your charming Port Hardy hotel. Be sure to get lots of rest, tomorrow your Great Bear Lodge experience begins.

Private Transfer to Airport

(1 of 2 activities)

A private vehicle and driver will meet you at your hotel and take you in comfort to Vancouver South Terminal Airport.

Flight from Vancouver Airport to Port Hardy

(2 of 2 activities)

Today a flight takes you from the Vancouver Airport's South Terminal to Port Hardy.

Overnight in Port Hardy

Overnight in a Comfort level hotel, such as the Quarterdeck Inn Marina and Resort. Our well-situated Comfort level hotels are typically rated at 3 stars. You'll enjoy clean and comfortable accommodations, plus great service.

Day 04

Port Hardy to Great Bear Lodge

Leave urban noise behind as you take off in a seaplane for Great Bear Lodge, your haven in British Columbia’s remote wilderness. Take in the sights as you soar over the Georgia Strait and the pacific temperate rainforest. Step into the world of grizzly bears and stunning vistas as you arrive at the lodge, your home for the next few days.

Departure to Great Bear Lodge

(1 of 2 activities)

Today begins your first day of your bear viewing experience. Upon arrival, settle in to your second-storey bedroom – including a private en-suite bathroom with shower – with lovely views and in-room binoculars! Get ready for your first grizzly bear safari today and meet your fellow guests.

Accommodation at Great Bear Lodge

(2 of 2 activities)

This charming, self-contained floating lodge is situated at an outstanding wildlife viewing location, offering spectacular beauty and solitude. Each room has the comforts of your own ensuite bathroom and offers wonderful views. Get to know your fellow travellers in the common area inside, or head out to the natural wood decks surrounding the lodge, a perfect place to enjoy a glass of wine and soak up the beautiful scenery.

Bear Viewing in Spring

(1 of 3 options)

Spring on the estuary is a beautiful time of the year. The mountaintops are still snow covered and the valley bottoms are cloaked in the fresh green of spring. The valley bustles with animal activity as they all take advantage of the season of growth and renewal. The bears are feeding on the sedges and other plants of the estuarine grasslands. It is also the mating season for the bears, which often occurs near the estuary. On sunny days, this can be an excellent time for photography. Bird song and sightings tend to be most varied at this time of the year. Birds commonly seen are bald eagles, waterfowl, and passerines such as warblers seem to be everywhere. Our spring tours run from May 7 to June 29.

Bear Viewing in Summer

(2 of 3 options)

During summer some bears are still feeding in the estuary and on vegetation along the lower river. They are also feeding heavily on berries and skunk cabbage at this time. These plants are common and widely distributed so we tend to have to look farther afield to find bears, which are no longer concentrated near the rich estuary. Additionally the total numbers of individual bears seen is lower. During summer mostly use boats for our wildlife excursions. Summer can be a great time to see the new life of the Great Bear Rainforest. We will often see curious seal pups ignoring their mother’s signal that its time to move on, or common mergansers with a dozen or more ducklings trailing behind. Humpback whales arrive in the area in July, and on occasion it is possible to see humpback whales from the lodge. Then sometime in late July or early August, we spot a handful of coho salmon in the river. They are too fast and elusive for the bears. But with the passing days they continue to trickle in. Our summer season starts on June 30 and continues to August 19.

Bear Viewing in Autumn

(3 of 3 options)

The salmon arrive in significant numbers sometime in late August, with their run peaking in September and October. During the salmon run we see the largest number of bears for the year. The salmon run also attracts a great number of bald eagles, gulls, ravens, and other fish eating birds. This is the best season for seeing cubs. The salmon run continues into December, however many bears begin to move towards hibernation by the end of October. There are five viewing platforms built at the best fishing spots on the river. They are accessed from the lodge by bus, along a wilderness track. Some platforms are covered to keep you dry during rain, while others are open that you can feel immersed in the rainforest. Our autumn season runs from August 20 to October 19.

Day 05

Exploring Smith Inlet

Today you embark on your scheduled morning and afternoon bear viewing sessions in the Smith Inlet accompanied by an experienced wildlife biologist, observing bears in their natural habitat.

Discovering the Inlets and Bear Viewing

(1 of 1 activities)

In the morning, you will be on the trail of the grizzly bear again after some good coffee and breakfast. A typical viewing session lasts three hours. After a morning of adventure, you will return to the lodge for lunch and a chance to relax. Spend the early afternoon exploring the surrounding area with the guide. A popular activity is the interpretive rainforest walk, examining bear sign and the general ecology of the area. In mid-afternoon you will venture out to see the bears before relaxing in the lodge for dinner. On clear nights, the stars are amazing.

Day 06

Exploring the Shores of the Central Coast

Another day of exploration today in search of bears and other wildlife in and around the shores of the Central Coast. Enjoy other daily guided activities between morning and afternoon viewing excursions.

Discovering the Coast and Bear Viewing

(1 of 1 activities)

As your stay at the lodge continues, you begin to settle into the natural rhythm of the valley. The bears are generally most active in the early morning and late afternoon hours, which is why we focus our viewing sessions on these times. Over the course of your stay we will take you a variety of sites, depending on the bear activity. For the afternoon recreation today we may take a boat excursion to explore the glacier-carved inlet. Or you may prefer to relax and enjoy the view from the lodge. The Great Bear Rainforest is home to many animals, including grey wolves, otters, black bears, mink and bald eagles. One of our favorite dishes is marinated salmon baked on a cedar plank.

Day 07

Great Bear Lodge to Port Hardy

This morning you go out on your final excursion, be sure to bring your camera along for those last great photos! Return to Port Hardy this evening for a relaxing night stay.

Last Day at Great Bear Lodge

(1 of 1 activities)

After your parting session with the bears, lunch and an afternoon activity, you will be returned to Port Hardy by floatplane in the afternoon sometime between 4pm and 6pm. You will then be transferred to the airport or your hotel.

Overnight in Port Hardy

Overnight in a Comfort level hotel, such as the Quarterdeck Inn Marina and Resort. Our well-situated Comfort level hotels are typically rated at 3 stars. You'll enjoy clean and comfortable accommodations, plus great service.

Day 08

Port Hardy to Vancouver – Depart with Fond Memories

This morning, return south to Vancouver to connect with your flight home. Much too soon, you leave the clean air and colorful sights of Canada behind as your vacation comes to an end.

Flight from Port Hardy Airport to Vancouver

(1 of 1 activities)

Today a flight takes you from Port Hardy airport to Vancouver Airport's South Terminal.

WHERE YOU’LL STAY

Below you'll find examples of this trip's accommodation options.
Please call us for the full list or advice on how to customize your experience.

WORKING TOGETHER
Let's personalize this trip idea with your own flair so that it's unique to you.
INSIDER EXPERTISE
We're always here to open up possibilities and clear up uncertainties.
HELP ON HAND
We're with you every step to help you plan and enjoy your trip, and get you home safely.

HERE'S WHAT YOU GET

To make sure that your holiday is full of only good surprises, here's a comprehensive list of what is (and isn't) included in your package.


Accommodations:

  • 2 x hotel nights in Vancouver
  • 2 x hotel nights in Port Hardy
  • 3 x lodge nights at the Great Bear Lodge with private bathroom and shared shower facilities

Vancouver Activities Included:

  • Vancouver North Shore Tour

Bear Lodge Experiences:

  • Welcome orientation briefing at lodge
  • Wildlife biologist guide
  • Evening interpretative program
  • Bear viewing trips, and additional guided activities such as rainforest walks or boat tours

Meal Inclusions:

  • Full board meals while at the Great Bear Lodge, including wine and beer

Transfer Inclusions:

  • Private airport transfer from Vancouver Airport to Vancouver hotel
  • Private airport transfer from Vancouver hotel to South Terminal for flight to Port Hardy
  • Roundtrip air between Vancouver and Port Hardy
  • Return transfers between Port Hardy and the Great Bear Lodge (by float plane)
  • All transportation to bear watching sites at the Great Bear Lodge

Other Inclusions:

  • Great Bear Lodge provides rain ponchos and rubber boots, if necessary
  • First Nation fee
  • BC Provincial Bear Viewing License Fee
  • Brown Bear Research Network contribution
  • Documentation package
  • Gratuities for private transfer and tours (unless otherwise noted)
  • Gratuities for staff at Great Bear Lodge
  • Fresh Tracks Canada customer service – from the time you book, you are assigned your own personal Vacation Coordinator whom you can reach out to with any questions or requests.

Important Schedule and Trip Notes:

  • Vancouver North Shore tour is not available on the October 10 and 13 departure dates.
  • Canadian sales taxes
  • Trip Cancellation & Medical Insurance (highly recommended)
  • Airfare from your home to Vancouver
  • Meals, except at the Great Bear Lodge
  • There are currently no seasonal restrictions

PRICES & DATES

This trip is available for departures between May and October.

Starting From

$3,440 USD
per person

based on double occupancy, May 2019 departure and our base class.

We offer a range of packages across all four seasons. Please speak with one of our travel advisors about personalizing your trip and getting a comprehensive quote.

Get a personalized quote

CUSTOMER REVIEWS

5 reviews
Trish

Trish

NSW, AUS

03 Oct 2016

There were so many things I loved

I loved working with the Fresh Tracks staff. Their knowledge of all things Canada is fantastic. They listen to what I wanted in my holiday and then make that happen! There were so many things I loved. The absolutely best part was my visit to Bella Coola and Tweedsmuir Lodge to see the Grizzly Bears catch salmon, I wish I… Read More

Jack

Jack

SA, AUS

02 Oct 2014

We saw spirit bears

Look what we saw today – spirit bears!

Steph

Steph

SA, AUS

02 Oct 2014

I always recommend Fresh Tracks to others as you give a fantastic, reliable, exceptional service.

In a ‘nutshell’ we had another wonderful, exciting time in Canada and yes we are planning another trip, probably 2016, for the east coast. Looking for another active and eye-popping holiday. So glad we did this active tour and we added extra days, it would have been rushed if we had not. We felt we had enough days to fully… Read More

Margaret

Margaret

, GBR

27 Feb 2012

Out of this world

We have returned from our vacation having had a most fantastic time. Everything worked well and the hotels got better and better as the trip went on. Knight Landing was literally out of this world. Thanks to you for advising us and arranging the trip so effectively.

Ash & Sarah

Ash & Sarah

, UK

12 Jun 2007

Many many thanks

It was absolutely great, and my wife Sarah and I were extremely impressed with the level of detail that your company advertised and delivered. At first I was very sceptical about booking a holiday with a company on another continent however I was proven wrong and have already passed your details onto friends and associates as they too are thinking… Read More

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