Grizzly Bears of the Wild: A First Nations Wildlife Journey into the Great Bear Rainforest
Get up close and personal with British Columbia’s grizzly bears on an intimate and immersive wildlife watching experience. Join First Nation guides on a tour through the awe-inspiring waterways of their people’s traditional territories.
Join with us to reconnect with nature and learn about First Nations culture in an all-in-one experience that combines respectful wildlife viewing with a sustainable tour through the super natural scenery of northern Vancouver Island and coastal mainland BC.
Low volume tours take a maximum of twelve guests on authentic adventures through the natural habitat of Western Canada’s grizzly bears. Pacific white-sided dolphins dance alongside the bow of our boat, Sea Wolf, as we make the one hour and 45 minute journey from Port McNeill or the First Nations’ village of Alert Bay into the beautiful territory of the Musg̱a̱makw Dzawada̱’enux̱w. Eagles soar overhead and wolves roam the shell-strewn beaches where ancient villages were once occupied by our people. Enjoy a continental breakfast as we navigate waters favoured by migrating orcas, and listen to your guide’s Indigenous interpretation of local landscapes.
Your adventure continues to wherever the best bear viewing opportunities are. Earlier in the season (June and July) we usually stay on the boat and view grizzly bears foraging along the shoreline as we explore the Kwakwaka‘wakw Nation’s beautiful coastline. If you have mobility issues or have anxiety around hiking on trails in bear country, viewing grizzlies from the boat is the best choice for you.
Later in the season (August through October) the grizzly bears might be up the river fishing for salmon. If we head up the X̱a̱ḵwika̱n or Hada river to discover the backcountry home of the grizzly bears we will leave the boat and respectfully place ourselves at a quiet and safe sitting area while we wait for our friends to show up. This experience is best for guests with proper footwear and good physical fitness who are keen to get off the boat and out into the forest.
It is important to note that every season is different and we will take you to wherever we believe you will have the best experience.
After lunch, our traditionally trained guides chart us past old village sites, the birthplace of our ancestors, in the Broughton Archipelago. There we share stories about the historic and cultural significance of our existence and occupation of the area. This truly unforgettable wildlife experience ends in the Broughton Archipelago and Queen Charlotte Strait, where we often encounter the gentle giants of the Pacific: migrating humpback whales.
Safety and reliability is a high priority for you and your family, click here to learn about our vessels.
2 people minimum. 12 people maximum.
Minimum age for the Grizzly Tour is 10 years old. If you are interested in touring with children under the age of 10, check out our Family Tours.
Departing Port McNeill 7am daily (July through October) from North Island Marina. Meet at MacKay Whale Watching at 6:45am, 1514 Broughton Blvd. Click here for directions.
Tours average 10 hours but may run shorter or longer depending on weather and other factors. Included in your trip:
- boat transportation
- breakfast, lunch, snacks, and drinks
- rain poncho
- cultural sustainability fee
Important message for Grizzly Tour! From August through to October this is a wilderness trip that requires participants to be able to walk through the forest on uneven ground. Guests joining our tours at this time must come prepared with proper footwear and clothing for moderate hiking in the forest and on rocky terrain. Bear viewing areas are subject to change without warning due to weather or lack of sightings. If you like to adventure off the beaten path then you’ll like this experience!