Grizzly bear crossing a stream (Canadian Tourism Commission photo)
Vancouver Island is black bear territory, but grizzlies aren’t far away. Take a wildlife tour or go bear-watching in remote and wild areas of this region.
A short floatplane or boat ride from Vancouver Island leads to incredible grizzly bear watching in Knight Inlet and Bute Inlet. Interestingly, there have been a few cases of ambitious grizzlies spotted on northern Vancouver Island, presumably after swimming over from the mainland.
When driving through the more remote parts of Vancouver Island, there’s a good chance of spotting a black bear snuffling through grasses on the side of the road. To increase the odds of seeing a black bear, venture into the waters of Clayoquot Sound on a Tofino bear-watching tour or head to the Port Alberni boardwalk and gaze across the river.
Check with local Visitor Centres for information about bear-watching tours available on Vancouver Island.
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22 Bear Watching in Vancouver Island
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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.
Minstrel Island, British Columbia
Our grizzly bear/wildlife safari is for the adventurous person wishing to see & photograph the most complete wildlife population of the BC coast. Grizzly & black bears, orca & humpback whales, white-sided dolphins, eagles, sea lions & many more. An adventure you'll never forget.
Knight Inlet Lodge is Canada's premier grizzly bear viewing destination. We have been featured in productions by the BBC Natural History Unit (2008), National Geographic, Time Magazine, Disney & many others around the world as the best place to view grizzly bears in their natural habitat. Situated in the lush Great Bear Rainforest, Knight Inlet Lodge caters to the wildlife enthusiast wishing unparallelled viewing opportunities for grizzly bears, whales, birds & many other species of animals. 2012 & 2013 Travellers Choice award winner.
Telegraph Cove, British Columbia
See grizzly bears in the wilds of Knight Inlet. Tours depart daily from Telegraph Cove, the whale watching centre on northern Vancouver Island, by covered boat. Watch grizzly bears eat salmon, eagles pick the scraps. Sea birds, dolphins, seals, black bears, grizzlies. We depart early at 7:00 am to assure grizzly bear sightings; we had 99% sightings on 2014 trips. June is our best month. We run in a covered boat with on-board washroom, then at the grizzly bear hot spot we switch to big open skiffs to get in close to the action. Lunch & light breakfast is included amidst the splendour of Knight Inlet. In the fall, bears eat salmon. Departure times may vary in the fall.
Other businesses with Bear Watching
Coast Discovery Marina
Campbell River, British Columbia
Whales, Bears and Wildlife! Our West Coast Eco-Adventures take you into the heart of the Orca Realm of Johnstone Strait, the Discovery Island, and the Great Bear Rainforest. Cruise in style & comfort aboard our safe, covered cabin cruiser as we search for Killer Whales (Orca), Grizzly bears, Black Bears, Bald Eagles, Dolphins, Sea Lions, Seals & Sea Birds. Only company in town featuring kayaking boat-based day trips. Our Transport Canada certified boat & captains cater to small groups and families. Come for a scheduled trip or personalized adventure!
238 Matterson Dr
Ucluelet, British Columbia
Explore Barkley Sound's whales, bears, sea lions & more aboard our heated, washroom equipped, 12 passenger cruiser, M.V. Blackfish. 3 hr whale & wildlife watching: encounters with grey & humpback whales, black bears, sea otters, sea lions, sea birds & visiting orca whales await you in the magical waters of Barkley Sound. 6 hr Nature History Tour: travel through Barkley Sound on our day trip to the Broken Group & Deer Group Islands. Visit the village of Bamfield, beaches, galleries & learn about the rich history of shipwrecks & pioneers. Kayak transport service within Barkley Sound. Salmon & halibut fishing charters available.
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.
Minstrel Island, British Columbia
Clio Channel near Minstrel Island, Knight Inlet is home to Bones Bay Resort/Float Lodge. Centrally anchored in the remote, pristine waters of Bones Bay, our small, intimate guest lodge is perfectly located. We provide guests the option to book Wildlife Eco-Tours, Fishing Adventures or Combination Stays.
These unique opportunities appeal to individuals, couples or families wanting a diverse & exciting vacation holiday that will offer the experience of a lifetime. Join us at our remote lodge for custom designed, fully guided tours & adventures.
Tired of the everyday rat race? Make this 'Your Last Resort!'
Discovery Harbour Marina
Campbell River, British Columbia
Campbell River Whale Watching & Adventure Tours invite you to experience some of the most spectacular whale watching, wildlife & grizzly bear viewing in the world. Our commitment is to offer our guests an experience of a lifetime, to explore the natural wonders of the Discovery Islands & Johnstone Strait. We pride ourselves on maintaining a high standard which guarantees our guests a safe, educational & memorable experience. Not only are our guides expert mariners, they are also certified naturalists whose love & ethical regard for marine wildlife is evident.
411 Campbell St
Tofino, British Columbia
Tofino's true eco-tour adventure company! Whales, bears, birds, hot springs; open & covered vessels. Local expert guides with a dedication to the local marine environment. Come in & see our complete 12 m (40 ft) whale skeleton. A true West Coast experience. Specially designed vessels allow a quieter more intimate experience.