Hotels, Eco Escapes & Lifestyle Resorts | Unearthing the Exceptional
Located at the heart of the Great Bear Rainforest, a breathtaking fifty mile seaplane ride from Port Hardy, British Columbia, a visit to Great Bear Lodge is like stepping straight into a nature documentary.
Accommodating just sixteen guests at a time, the wind-and-solar-powered floating lodge enjoys a spectacular wildlife viewing location, in a state that is home to more than half of Canada’s grizzlies. Two bear viewing sessions are scheduled daily, and vary depending on the animals’ movements, from trips to the custom-built hides to observing them from the river by boat, the only sounds the occasional splash of an oar or the crunch of bear on sedge.
With wildlife biologists as guides and long hours of summer daylight perfect for photography, it’s no wonder that National Geographic named us ‘one of the best adventure travel companies on earth’.
From the moment your twin-prop leaves Port Hardy, zigzagging over pristine valleys, lush rainforest, and salmon-filled streams before splashing down at Great Bear Lodge, you’ll find yourself in another world, one that combines the stillness and solitude of a simpler time with the thrill of encountering the local wildlife.
The self-contained lodge is surrounded by wooden decks, the perfect place to relax with a glass of wine in between bear viewings, and to contemplate the green slopes and rippling water, or simply breathe in the fresh air and the silence.
Accommodation is comfortable, while in line with our commitment to ecotourism, and our chef serves up wilderness-gourmet meals, made with locally caught seafood and organic vegetables. Each season is different here, but whenever you choose to join us, you’ll find a warm welcome and an unforgettable encounter with nature at its finest.
The charming floating lodge has eight bedrooms. The common area is a comfortable place for relaxing and listening to natural history presentations from our wildlife biologists. The wind and solar powered lodge is in keeping with our commitment to low-impact ecotourism. Natural wood decks surround the lodge, a perfect place to enjoy a glass of wine while enjoying the beauty of the scenery.
Wilderness-gourmet meals await you at the lodge on your return from the wilderness. We use the freshest possible local ingredients, and all organic food when it is available. A typical dinner might feature freshly caught salmon roasted on a cedar plank with a marinade of maple syrup, mustard seeds and balsamic vinegar. In between bear viewing sessions you will be able to join a guided activity such as an interpretive walk or a boat excursion, or you may choose to relax with a book from the extensive library. We are happy to cater for all dietary restrictions, with advance notice.
Tea/Coffee Making Facilities
Two bear viewing sessions are scheduled each day at the lodge, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. We tailor the sessions to the activities of the bears, observing them when they are most active in their chosen habitats. Viewing blinds have been constructed with photographers in mind. They are comfortable and optimal places to shoot from. When the bears move from the river to the estuary, we view them from a boat.
Guest safety is of utmost importance and our viewing program is organized using the protocols developed at McNeil River State Game Sancturary on Alaska’s Kenai Peninsula. This management philosophy is consistent with our goal of safely viewing bears in a natural setting while eliminating or minimizing impact on them.
Each season offers a unique view into the world of grizzly bears in the Great Bear Rainforest. A wonderful time for photography, spring takes us to the estuary to observe the grizzlies as they graze on grasses and sedges and engage in mating behaviour. Birdlife is abundant in spring, and long hours of daylight ensure optimal light for photography. At this time we view the bears from small boats, watching the bears quietly. During the summer season, the grizzlies move between the various habitats to optimize their feeding. We will find them gorging on berry patches, grazing on estuarine grasslands and scouting for the early salmon. The grizzly bears congregate at the river in autumn to take advantage of the best food source available on the coast, Pacific salmon, so we see our highest number our bears during autumn. Watch as each individual bear demonstrates its own fishing style, from methodically checking under riverbanks with their paws to charging up the river after salmon.
Along with grizzly bears there is a chance to view other wildlife like wolves, black bears, river otters, pine martens, mink, harbour seals and bald eagles. Bear viewing areas are reached by a boat or bus ride from the lodge, which are opportunities to spot other wildlife in the area.
One of earth’s great wildlife areas, the Great Bear Rainforest still hosts healthy populations of all wildlife species present when Captain Vancouver sailed up the coast in 1793. Though roughly the size of Ireland, it has a human population of less than 17,000 outside of the town of Prince Rupert, compared to 4.5 million in Ireland. Virtually roadless, it is a land of island archipelagoes and long fjords that reach back into the glacier-capped Coastal Mountain range. The Coastal Mountain range has isolated many wildlife populations from their conspecifics in the rest of North America. As a result the Great Bear Rainforest is home to many subspecies and genetically unique populations like, for example, the Spirit Bear or the coastal grey wolves.
We are fortunate to make this amazing place our year-round home and be able to share its wonders with you each summer.