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Canada wildlife holiday visiting Bella Coola with two day Rockies rail journey

10 days from £3950*

Canada wildlife holiday visiting the Rockies. Photo of the famous Rocky Mountaineer train.

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Overview

One of our most popular Grizzly Bear destinations is the Bella Coola River Valley in the mountainous interior of British Columbia, a 1½ hour flight north of Vancouver. There are many places in Western Canada where you can see Grizzly Bears but what this makes this incredibly scenic location so special is the variety of ways in which you can observe them here, and how exhilarating and intimate the encounters tend to be in this natural and uncontrived setting. Whereas in other locations you can feel somewhat detached from the bears and their environment in an elevated viewing stand, here they can be safely viewed on foot or from the comfort of a boat drifting sedately down the river. This means you see them at eye level rather than looking down on them, and the nice thing about being in a driftboat or on foot is that you feel as though you are part of the environment, rather than just passing through it.

An intrinsic part of our wildlife tours in the Bella Coola River Valley is the private nature of the wildlife activities which is another important factor that will appeal to you. Here you can enjoy the undivided attention of an expert personal guide, and enjoy intimate encounters with the Great Northern Bear with no-one else around, save the occasional fly fisherman. This means your guide can tailor the activities around your particular needs, and you are not under any pressure to conform to the agenda of a larger group.

Another unique feature of this location is that it offers some scope for some self-guided bear viewing once you have become acquainted with the area, and with a patience and of course a little luck it is possible to safely view grizzlies feeding on salmon from various vantage points overlooking the river that are within walking distance of your accommodations. To some extent this means you can gain a lot by extending a stay to include free days for your own activities.

For keep photographers there is also a parks service that provided a regulated dedicated "bear viewing station" (free admission) that is no more than a 15 minute walk from Tweedsmuir Lodge. This "bear viewing station" is a fenced enclosure on raised river bank that affords visitors a commanding view, both up and downstream, of a large section of the river that is a particularly high bear traffic area. This year it is open 7AM to 11AM and then again 4PM - 7PM and there is a park ranger always on duty to answer questions and to make sure than safe viewing bear viewing practices are adhered to. Of course visiting the "bear viewing station" does bring you into contact with other bear viewers, and doesn't offer the same intimate and personal experience as the small group excursions featured in the itinerary above, but we do consider it a worthwhile addition to the self-guided bear viewing opportunities in the area.

The accommodation at Tweedsmuir is excellent with 9 self contained traditional log cabins, all built and furnished to the highest standards, and surrounded by some of the most spectacular scenery on earth, with 8,800 feet Mount Stupendous out front, and 7,000 foot Mount Walker to the rear. It’s not unusual to be sitting on the deck of your cabin and see grizzly bears traversing the meadow in front of the lodge en-route to/from the river. Some clients of ours last year were even prevented from returning to their cabin for a couple of hours by an adult male grizzly that had decided to take a nap right outside their door, and only 3 weeks ago there was the drama of a adult male grizzly bear which killed a cub in the meadow, having clashed with its mother minutes earlier. In addition, in recent years Tweedsmuir Lodge has opened its very own bear viewing platform within the private grounds of the lodge, providing yet another brown bear viewing option for those keen to maximise their wildlife photography while enjoying their Canada wildlife holiday in Bella Coola.

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Itinerary

This is a Small Group Tour

  1. Day 1

    Your Canada wildlife holiday starts with arrival in Calgary and a bus transfer to Banff. Overnight in a mid-rang lodge near the main townsite.

  2. Day 2

    Full day sightseeing bus tour of Banff national park and local attractions

  3. Day 3

    Walk to Banff station and check in for Silver Leaf Rocky Mountaineer train jounrney. This includes an overnight in a mid-range Kamloops Hotel

  4. Day 4

    Continue your amazing Rockies train journey through to Vancouver and overnight at a waterside mid-range hotel.

  5. Day 5

    Full day free for your own activities in Vancouver

  6. Day 6

    Transfer to Vancouver airport to connect with flight to Bella Coola. On arrival you will be met and transferred to the beautifully located Tweedsmuir Lodge.

  7. Day 7-9

    Three full days of grizzly bear viewing involving magical river drifts, walking safaris and a visit to the town of Bella Coola. All meals included and activities conducted in small groups (maximum of 6)

  8. Day 10

    Fly back from Bella Coola to Vancouver to connect with your onward international flight. End of your Canada wildlife tour.

Meals

Canada wildlife holiday summary: All meals included on the Rocky Mountaineer and at Tweedsmuir Wilderness Lodge. Room only for other hotels.

Costs do not include international flights and are based on two people sharing througout, Please contact Wildlife Trails quoting RMBC12 for a full itinerary.

This trip can be done on a private basis at Tweedsmuir Lodge for an additional cost; please email for a quote.

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* Based on 2 persons and not including flights

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