Grizzly bear crossing a stream (Canadian Tourism Commission photo)
Unlike more inhabited areas where wildlife corridors have been squeezed tight by housing developments, the creatures of Port Hardy and northern Vancouver Island have plenty of room to roam.
Wildlife near Port Hardy includes black bears, grizzly bears (on the adjacent mainland coast), timber wolves, bald eagles and Orcas. While some visitors may spot a black bear on the drive up to Port Hardy, there is always the option of a bear watching tour. Great Bear Nature Tours offers excursions to the Great Bear Rainforest to looks for grizzly bears and other resident creatures. Whale watching and bird watching are also excellent here.
Don't be surprised upon spotting a black bear rummaging alongside Highway 19 on the trip north to Port Hardy in spring and summer. These surprisingly shy omnivores graze for berries, green vegetation, roots, insects and grubs. They also have a taste for garbage, and this is where the meeting of wild creatures and humanity proves tricky. Rule number one for campers and hikers: store trash in bear-proof containers and hang both it and all food supplies in tree branches well removed from the campsite.
Great Bear Nature Tours
Departing from Port Hardy, Great Bear Nature Tours (rated one of the "Best Adventure Travel Companies on Earth" by National Geographic) take small groups by floatplane to its solar-powered lodge on the edge of the Great Bear Rainforest. Twice-daily trips by boat allow close encounters with grizzlies in the wild. Other possible sightings out in the wild: black-tailed deer, Roosevelt elk, timber wolves and, on extremely rare occasion, cougars.
3 Bear Watching in Port Hardy
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Great Bear Nature Tours
Port Hardy, British Columbia
Journey to the heart of the Great Bear Rainforest to view and photograph grizzly bears. The floating Great Bear Lodge, with a maximum of 16 guests, is the perfect place to enjoy the wildlife & wilderness of British Columbia. Upgraded in 2014, the new lodge uses locally sourced woods and large windows looking onto the forest and fjord. Experienced biologists lead the twice-daily bear-viewing sessions and activities such as interpretive hikes and boat excursions. Tours begin in Port Hardy, on northern Vancouver Island, with a spectacular seaplane flight to the Great Bear Lodge. Voted by National Geographic Adventure as one of the Best Adventure Travel Companies on Earth, and recognized by the Canadian Tourism Commission as a Canadian Signature Experience.
Other businesses with Bear Watching
Bluewater Adventures offers 'once in a lifetime' wilderness expeditions along the north coast of BC and Southeast Alaska. Our multi-day, live aboard trips explore the remote wilderness of coastal British Columbia and Southeast Alaska. Travelling with renowned naturalists and our skilled crew aboard 68' expedition yachts we keep watch for whales and other marine mammals, coastal birds and bears, old-growth forests and ancient native villages. We focus on animal behaviour, ecology, sustainability and local history. Small groups of 12-14 guests ensure quality, informality and a 'hands-on' experience for all aboard.
Bluewater Adventures adheres to the principals of ecotourism by supporting local communities, promoting conservation, ensuring our practices are low impact, and by providing guests with world-class knowledge about the coast.
1790A Campbell Way
Port McNeill, British Columbia
Guided sea kayaking tours of northern Vancouver Island, The Great Bear Rainforest & Haida Gwaii (Queen Charlotte Islands). Base camp & expedition-style tours ranging from 4 to 15 days. Join us at our Orca Waters Base Camp for the best in wildlife & whale viewing or an expedition to Gwaii Haanas National Park for the ultimate in wilderness adventures. Family specific departures are available. All tours are fully inclusive & no experience is needed for most tours.