Grizzly Bears of Knight Inlet
BEAR & WILDLIFE VIEWING
There are few places in the world where so much magnificent wildlife, scenery and native culture can be experienced from one location. Knight Inlet is such a place; in the heart of the Great Bear Rainforest, Knight Inlet Lodge offers guests spectacular scenery and wildlife amidst tree-lined shores and snow-capped mountains. From grizzly bears to killer whales, sea lions to dolphins the seasons bring a constant variety of wildlife opportunities.
The floating lodge is tucked into Glendale Cove, home to one of the largest concentrations of Grizzly bears in British Columbia. There are often up to 50 bears within 10 kilometres of the lodge in the autumn, when the salmon are returning to the river. Although they are abundant in the fall, it is not the only season that grizzly bears can be found in Glendale Cove.
Located 80 kilometres by air north of Campbell River, British Columbia, is a wild and remote area of the Pacific Northwest known as Knight Inlet. As the longest fjord on the B.C. coast, Knight Inlet offers visitors spectacular scenery set against a backdrop of dramatic mountain peaks plunging into the Pacific Ocean. Situated 60 kilometres from the mouth of the inlet is Knight Inlet Lodge. The floating lodge, tucked into Glendale Cove, offers one of the few protected anchorages in the inlet, and it is here that you will begin each day’s adventure.
Grizzly Bears of Knight Inlet
More about the incredible Knight Inlet
View Bears Safey
How you view the bears differs from season to season. In the spring you set out in boats to get close (50 metres) to the shore to have a good view of the bears feeding, but remaining far enough away as to not disturb them. The early summer program continues on the water, but if the opportunity arises there may be a chance of using purpose-built tree stands. By mid-August viewing moves to platforms at the spawning channel, as well as continuing to use the tree and river stands. Guest safety is of utmost importance with all bear viewing programmes, as is protecting the bear’s natural environment to avoid any negative impact on them.
The newly refurbished lodge floats on the ocean, nestled in the only protected cove on the 100 mile long inlet. The only neighbours are the bears, mountain goats, otters, seals and eagles that all make the inlet their home. The lodge is a modern one storey facility consisting of 5 cement floats, like a floating village.The lodge is finished with western cedar board to give it a real west coast British Columbia look and feel. There are 2 outside deck areas, one complete with gas fireplace, for relaxing on those warm summer evenings.
The Lodge’s 16 guest rooms feature comfortable queen size beds and private washrooms with showers. There are a limited number of rooms with bunk beds for families looking to share a room, as well as rooms large enough for a roll away bed to be added. Local alder hardwood furniture is featured in all rooms. Guestrooms all have views of either Glendale Cove or the shoreline behind the lodge where it is not uncommon to see bears through your window.
Meals at the lodge are included in all packages and area highlight in themselves. The Knight Inlet Lodge dining room is home to bountiful and sumptuous West Coast and Continental cuisine, with delicious daily specials, fine wines and sinful desserts. They often feature crab, salmon and prawn harvested fresh from the pristine glacier fed waters of Knight Inlet. With fresh ingredients flown in daily and with expert chefs, this is a dining experience that receives almost as many compliments as the bear viewing! With advance notice most dietary preferences can be accommodated.
Bear Viewing Season
Starting in late April the bears return to the estuary from hibernation and start the year off feeding on the sedges, succulents, grasses and barnacles that abound in the estuary. This is the time to see the
tiny cubs emerge with their ever-cautious mothers in close proximity. In the summer the berry crop is very heavy and this helps keeps the bears in the general area. You do not get the high numbers of the spring and late summer/fall season viewing, but you can usually see some bears every day. The fall season is the salmon season, so this sees the bears gathering in the spawning channel awaiting the salmon run.
More than Bears
As well as bear viewing, there are a number of other tours available from the lodge. A marine wildlife tour is offered in all of the seasons but it changes greatly as the seasons change. In the spring, travel throughout the inlet viewing the seals, sea lions, porpoises, dolphins and the occasional Minke whale that may travel though these waters.
From July onwards, tours have the added attraction of the orca (killer) whale and you may journey to the world famous Johnstone Strait, you are almost assured of spending some great viewing time with these magnificent marine mammals. Not only do you view the whales, but also the tour includes all of the spring marine viewing as well, so the program lasts for up to 10 hours.
In September, add the humpback whale to the list of marine mammals as they start to arrive from Alaska on their way to Hawaii. The viewing of these gentle giants is infrequent, but when it does happen, it is spectacular.
In addition, there are estuary tours, Knight Inlet boat tours, Jetboat tours up the Kliniklini River, excursions to the upper reaches of Knight Inlet, and day trips to the Thompson and Bond Sounds. These offer great photographic opportunities whether the viewing is of birds, bears, other wildlife or scenery.
Length of Stay
The 2 night package (1 night at Knight Inlet Lodge) will give you opportunity to sample just a taste of what the lodge has to offer. You will, of course, join a bear viewing excursion, but you may miss out on the other activities that the lodge can also offer. In order to fully experience all that the lodge has to offer we strongly recommend a stay of at least 2 nights at the lodge (our 3 night package). This will allow you to participate in some of the other activities that are available, which include whale watching, jet boat tours, estuary cruises, canoe trips, rainforest hikes & interpretative hikes. Packages are also available for stays of between 3 & 7 nights - please call for prices.
Knight Inlet and Bear Conservation
Knight Inlet Lodge is a founding member of the Commercial Bear Viewing Association of British Columbia, an organisation that is committed to ensuring a sustainable grizzly bear viewing industry that respects the bears and their ecosystems.
In 2005, Knight Inlet Lodge, in partnership with Dr. Owen Nevin and the University of Central Lancashire in the United Kingdom, began a long term population study of the grizzly bears of Knight Inlet. They successfully satellite collared a number of bears, giving them the ability to track denning and range characteristics on the local bear population.
The conservation of the bear population and their natural habitat is key to everything that the Knight Inlet team does; after all, without the bears and other wildlife, there would be no Knight Inlet Lodge.
That’s why they are working unequivocally to ban the currently legal trophy hunting of grizzly bears in British Columbia. In the meantime, they have adopted innovative strategies of working with the hunting community to restrict trophy hunting in critical grizzly bear viewing habitat in coastal BC and financially support key conservation groups both in the United States and Canada that work on behalf of the bears and their environment. If you’d like to learn more about how you can personally help in our campaign to stop the trophy hunting of grizzly bears in BC visit the Knight Inlet website.
Getting to the Lodge
The lodge is not accessible by road; the only access is by floatplane from Campbell River (on Vancouver Island). A short 30 minute included floatplane flight takes you from Campbell River to Glendale Cove where the lodge is located. Due to the early departure time of the flight, a pre tour night in Campbell River is essential and this is also included in all our packages.
Accommodation in Campbell River is at Comfort Inn & Suites, a modern downtown hotel surrounded by shopping, restaurants and offers excellent views of Discovery Passage and Quadra Island. All rooms feature air-conditioning and facilities at the hotel include indoor pool, fitness centre and breakfast room. Should this hotel be unavailable, an alternative will be offered.