Province/Territory: British Columbia

Wild Range of the Spirit Bear

  • 8.4 million hectares (21 million acres)
  • 1,000 year old Western Red Cedar trees
  • 10,000 year old First Nations history

Delve deep into one of the last remaining tracts of unspoiled temperate rainforest on Earth—home to grizzly bears, black bears and the  rare white Kermode (or "spirit bear"). Here, black-tailed deer, bearded mountain goats and spawning salmon feed a predatory chain of cougars, coastal grey wolves and eagles. Tour old-growth forests with a biologist and hear the  "bear whisperer" speak to grizzlies. Board a luxury yacht to tour BC's wildest coast. Contemplate thousand-year old pictographs and an untamed landscape where First Nations people and their culture still thrive after thousands of years.  Visit a traditional Big House and take part in an authentic potlatch in the land of the spirit bears.

Outdoor adventure

  • Kayak or fish for crab or prawns in the Inside Passage on an eight-day BC Ferries expedition to Prince Rupert.
  • Go tubing or waterskiing in a secluded fjord on a luxury cruise along the GBR coastline on a Pacific Yellowfin yacht charter.
  • Learn the names of the resident grizzlies in Glendale Cove, on a river boat tour in the Knight Inlet.
  • Sail from Bella Bella on a Bluewater Adventures cruise, spotting whales en route to Fiordland Conservancy to bear-watch.
  • Float down the Antarko River in a drift boat to fish and photograph wildlife in Tweedsmuir Provincial Park.

Arts & Culture

Nature & Wildlife

  • Photograph grizzly bears on a Cariboo Mountains eco-tour with "The Bear Whisperer" as your expert guide.
  • Travel through the Campania Sound and Whale Channel with Bluewater Adventures to spot Steller sea lions and humpback whales breaching.
  • Take a Tweedsmuir Park Explorer trip to hike through old-growth forests in the shadow of the Coast Mountains. Soar by seaplane from Vancouver Island to see whales and bears, and hear a biologist's presentation on forest ecology at the floating Great Bear Lodge.

Accommodation & Relaxation

  • Heli-hike, heli-fish, take glacier tour and stay in a luxury intertidal cabin at Nimmo Bay Resort
  • Watch orcas, dolphins and sea lions from the Great Room at the oceanfront Spirit Bear Lodge in Klemtu.

Weather

  • June, July and August are the warmest months in the northern and coastal regions of the Great Bear Rainforest.
  • In the northerly town of Prince Rupert, summer highs reach 17°C and winter lows hit -2°C.
  • At the southern end of the Great Bear Rainforest, in Port Hardy on Vancouver Island, average annual highs are 17.9°C in August with lows in January of 0°C.
  • From end to end, the Great Bear Rainforest is a rainforest with chances of precipitation requiring boots, hats and other suitable raingear.
  • Sunny days annual averages in the Great Bear Rainforest include: Port Hardy (284), Bella Coola (268) and Prince Rupert (250).
  • Expect moderate winter snowfalls along the coast, with colder temperatures and more snow at higher elevations.
  • Discover local weather information. Research local weather patterns at Environment Canada's Canadian Climate Normals Website.
Quick facts

Total Area: approximately 64,000 sq-km (24,700 sq mi)
Protected Area: 20,000 km (7,700 sq mi)
Coastline: 400 km (250 mi)
Cities Towns & Villages: Prince Rupert, Port Hardy, Bella Bella, Bella Coola, Klemtu
Coastal First Nations Population: 18,000 to 20,000
 

When to go
  • View grizzly bears feeding on spawning salmon at estuaries and along river banks in autumn.
  • Ski or snowshoe in winter at the eco-friendly Great Bear Chalet in Tweedsmuir Provincial Park.
  • Take a summer interpretive tour with First Nations guides in Klemtu to the Kitasoo Spirit Bear Conservancy.
  • See pink shooting stars and chocolate lilies blooming along the river banks in spring.
Getting Here
Getting around
  • There are few roads in the Great Bear Rainforest. Access is by remote hiking and water routes. Local tour operators offer guided yacht, kayak and eco-tours.
  • Find general information on Getting Around BC.
  • To help plan your drive route to Great Bear Rainforest access points such as Prince Rupert and Port Hardy at DriveBC.