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Canada bear viewing holiday at the Spirit Bear Lodge Number 1

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Canada bear viewing holiday at the Spirit Bear Lodge – Number 1

Spirit Bear lodge richly deserves its number 1 status within our countdown of our Top 5 Canada wildlife holidays and is certainly rated by our clients, as one of the best Canada wildlife tours. When we and our clients think of what makes a Canada wildlife tour special, we focus in on three key points. They are the location of the Canada wildlife lodge, quality of the bear viewing in Canada and the expertise of the wildlife guides who accompany you on the wildlife safaris. If all these 3 areas score 4 or 5 stars as part of your Canada bear watching holiday, then you are ensured of a bear safari which will live long in the memory.

Best time to visit Canada for Spirit Bears?

When we first visited the Spirit Bear Lodge in 2004 the management were mainly promoting the month of September as the prime time to take a Spirit Bear safari. Even then, they were keen to point out the difficulty of seeing these elusive bears and that your wildlife experience at the Spirit Bear Lodge needs to be gauged as a ‘total wildlife viewing experience in Canada’; where you look for grizzly bears fishing for salmons, black bears, bald eagles, Dolphins, Porpoises, Orcas and Humpback Whales. September remains the best time for a Spirit Bear safari, but it is also possible to see them in August and the first 2 weeks of October. As with many other resident wildlife in western British Colombia, the strength of the annual salmon run can affect your chances of seeing a spirit bear in the wild.

Spirit bears tours and safaris at the Lodge – what to expect?

In recent years the Spirit Bear lodge has set up hundreds of camera traps to get a clear understanding of the resident population of spirit bears movements and help design their spirit bear tours to maximise sightings. It is still not easy to see them, but with the camera traps, local expert guides, small boat safaris and…………..this is important……..an increase in the physicality of the spirit bear safaris; they are increasing the chances of success. So, to be clear, there is a lot more walking in the Great Bear Rainforest, as it is often necessary to go deeper into the forest and find the little creeks and waterways where the spirit bears are fishing for salmon; or locating alternative food resources. So, we would certainly say that a medium level of fitness is required to ‘fully enjoy’ all activities at the Spirit Bear Lodge. They are very well set up for such ‘immersive’ bear safaris and can provide waterproof clothing and waders/wellies - so you do not need to bring such heavy gear with you.

Spirit Bear Facts

North America’s rarest bear is the all white Kermode or Spirit Bear which is a genetic variation of Black Bear born white due to both parents possessing a rare recessive gene. They can occur in any black bear population but the greatest concentration of Spirit Bears is found on a small cluster of densely forested islands off the central coast of British Columbia where 1 in 10 bears are born white. On one of the smaller islands in the group the ratio is as high as 1 in 4. The Spirit Bear has great spiritual significance to the First Nations population of these islands who consider its appearance an extremely good omen, and among North American fauna it is something of a holy grail which few outsiders have seen, let alone photographed.

Your Spirit Bear guides from the Kitasoo/Xai'xais community in Klemtu

A boat is used to access remote locations on the surrounding islands and adjacent mainland where Spirit Bears are known to fish for salmon, or have been regularly seen in recent weeks, and the group (maximum 12 people) led by a local First Nations guide then hikes to a position offering the best view. Depending on the level of success with Spirit Bear sightings, there are also several locations in the area that the group can elect to visit in order to also observe Grizzly Bears in a similar fashion. The guides accumulate a great deal of knowledge about the whereabouts, habits and movements of Spirit Bears in the area from members of the community who come into contact with bears while working out in the field (e.g. forestry & fishery workers) in their traditional tribal territory, and from scouting locations themselves, prior to, and during the salmon season.

How to organise your Spirit Bear Safari in Canada?

The Spirit Bear Lodge now promotes 4, 5, 6 and 7 days tours and based on 13 years of sending clients to the Klemtu community, Wildlife Trails would recommend the 5-day tour as the minimum length bear safari which will give you a realistic chance of seeing them; of course, the longer the better. We have excellent rates with the property; which we regard as one of the best wildlife lodges in Canada. Check out this 6 day Spirit Bear Lodge safari.

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