Wildlife Viewing Lodges:A highlight for any holiday to the untamed lands of British Columbia has to be a stay in a remote, luxury wilderness lodge deep in the mountains. Give yourself the best chance to view wildlife up close and personal in their natural habitat with a bear-viewing wildlife package or simply enjoy the peace and solitude of the Rockies.
Here are a few of our favourites.......
Grizzly Bears of Knight Inlet
Accessible by floatplane from Campbell River and set in the heart of the Great Bear Rainforest, this newly furnished 18-room floating lodge is situated in Glendale Cove, an area of B.C that's home to the largest concentration of Grizzly bears in the world. At 100-miles long, Knight Inlet is the longest fjord on the British Columbia coast and is surrounded by the most dramatic scenery.
Bear viewing season starts in late spring. Famished after hibernating, the bears return to the estuary to feed. This is prime time to see the cubs and mothers. The juicy berry crop is in abundance come summer and although you'll not see the high numbers of spring, you can normally see bears every day by either boat or purpose-built stands. Come autumn, it's the famous salmon season and from platforms you'll view the grizzlies gathering in the spawning channel to feast on the salmon run.
Bear viewing is not the only wildlife option at Knight Inlet, you'll also get to experience a marine wildlife tour that changes from season to season and can include encounters with orca and humpback whales. As well as all the wildlife viewing, interpretive walks and presentations, all meals at the lodge are also included. Season is 29 May to 15 October with 2/3/4 night packages available.
Great Bear Nature Tours - Great Bear Lodge
Rated by National Geographic Adventure as one of the "Best Adventure Travel Companies on Earth" - Great Bear Lodge is accessible by seaplane from Port Hardy. Set in a remote coastal valley, this floating eco-lodge offers a back to nature experience in a truly spectacular setting. Near the mouth of a major salmon abundant river, the lodge is powered by wind, solar and micro-hydro electricity. Not only is it in keeping with its eco-policy, but equally, it doesn't disturb the bears habitat. Only 16 guests stay at a time and bedrooms are situated on the second floor with views over the Great Bear Rainforest.
Each day you'll look for bear from behind viewing blinds carefully placed in prime areas. When the bears move to the river, so do you, as you'll spy the grizzlies from the comfort of a boat. Each season offers a unique wildlife perspective with spring bringing the bears down to the estuary to forage and mate. Whilst during the summer the bears move locations when feeding. In autumn it's the return of the Pacific salmon and you'll be able to view these magnificent creatures fishing from the riverbanks! Wildlife viewing, interpretive rainforest walks, and gourmet meals with soft drinks and wine and beer are included in your stay. Season is 7 May to 16 October with 3/6 night packages available.
Spirit Bear Lodge
Set on the waterfront on Klemtu, this 12-room lodge is accessed by seaplane from Vancouver to Bella Bella and then water taxi to the property. The Spirit Bear Lodge pays homage to the traditional long houses built here for centuries. Owned and operated by First Nations, many of the guides were born and raised in Klemtu.
The Great Bear Rainforest is the largest piece of intact temperate rainforest left on earth and the Kitasoo/Xai'xais First Nation people share it with the world's only white, black bear. The White Kermode, or Spirit Bear, is one of the most elusive creatures in the world and the Kitasoo Spirit Bear Conservancy was set up to honour and protect them. The best time to try and spot the almost mythical creature is September to October. They aren't the only bears in town though, grizzly bear viewing is good from mid-June to mid-October. Wildlife viewing, interpretive evening talks and meals are included in your stay. Season is 01 June to 06 October with 3/4/5 night packages available.
"Spirit Bear Lodge in Klemtu, BC is a world-class, extraordinary, life-changing wildlife experience. We saw the exceedingly rare white spirit bear, lots of grizzlies, humpback and orca whales, sea lions and fantastic jellyfish. The food and lodging at the lodge were superlative, and the local Kitasoo/Xai'xais people are lovely and extremely welcoming. Everything was beautifully organized to make it a five star experience."-Alex Shoumatoff, Vanity Fair
Tweedsmuir Park Lodge
Located in the Bella Coola Valley, on the edge of the Great Bear Rainforest, this historic lodge was originally built in 1929. The classic wilderness property is set on 60 acres of private land in Tweedsmuir Provincial Park, the largest protected park in B.C. Accessible by floatplane from Vancouver to Bella Coola and road transfers into the park, there are just nine log cabins and chalets scattered around the grounds. Often visitors spy local wildlife, including the odd grizzly or two, strolling across the lawns. Explore the culture and and history of the local Nuxalk First Nations people The tranquillity and remoteness make it the perfect place to be one with nature.
Bearing view here is from wildlife viewing stations or thrilling boat-based trips. Drift along and observe black and grizzly bears gorging on spawning salmon on the banks of the Atnarko River. Wildlife viewing, float trips, interpretive talks,and meals are included in your stay. Season is 22 August to 13 October with 3 night packages available departing on Fridays.
Farewell Harbour Lodge
This Berry Island wilderness retreat is nestled on the edge of Broughton Archipelago Marine Park, just off the northeast coast of Vancouver Island. Accessible by water taxi from Alder Bay in Telegraph Cove, this charming lodge has just 12 en suite guest rooms. Four rooms are on the floating part of the lodge, whilst the other eight ocean-side suites are located on land. An impressive wrap-around deck surrounds the lodge, a perfect place to watch wildlife and spectacular sunsets.
From zodiac boats, you'll hope to see humpback, orca, gray and minke whales. Have your camera ready to capture the bald eagles, sea lions and great blue herons, that call this incredible part of Canada home. When it comes to bear watching, the lodge does not use viewing platforms, they prefer wildlife sightings in their natural settings at eye level from boats or on foot. Wildlife viewing, interpretive walks and presentations and all meals at the lodge are also included. Season is 16 May to 17 October with three to seven night packages available.
Sonora Resort combines five-star luxury with exciting outdoors adventures amidst the wilderness beauty of the Discovery Islands and Desolation Sound. Accessible by seaplane or helicopter from Vancouver or Seattle, or relaxing water-taxi from Campbell River, this exclusive resort is everything you’d expect of a Relais & Chateaux property. Five-star accommodation, gourmet meals, extraordinary service and an impressive programme of outdoor adventure. Enjoy world-class fishing, eco or Grizzly tours, plus marine wildlife viewing and ocean kayaking. Back at the resort, enjoy a game of tennis, a round of golf, or a bit of pampering at the elegant Spa and Wellness Centre.
The resort is open 11 May to 16 October and each of the luxury rooms and suites offers commanding ocean views. Gourmet meals and all beverages, both soft drinks and alcoholic, are included in your stay. Also too, resort amenities including outdoor heated pool, hot tubs, steam rooms, mineral pools and sauna. You'll also have access to the fitness room, yoga studio, tennis courts, games room and state-of-the-art movie theatre. If that doesn't keep you busy, there is also a stocked rainbow trout fishing pond with fly-fishing equipment, as well as, mountain bikes.
Tyax Wilderness Resort & SpaTucked away in the southern Chilcotin Mountains lies the largest log lodge in the West. Some five hours' drive from Vancouver (SUV car hire recommended), 90 minutes from Lilloet, or accessible by float plane from Whistler. Nestled on the shores of Tyaughton Lake, this lodge has just 29 elegant rooms with views of snow-capped peaks rising up to 10,000 feet.
Activities include hiking, biking, heli-skiing, riding, fishing and kayaking. However, most come to relax in the serene surroundings and take advantage of the wellness Spa. In the evening, enjoy a sumptuous meal in the western-style restaurant followed by a chilled glass of wine under the stars on the large wraparound balcony.
West Coast Wilderness LodgeThis unspoiled and secluded timber lodge is located in the tiny fishing village of Egmont on the northern tip of British Columbia's Sunshine Coast. Just three hours by car and ferry, or a short float plane hop from Vancouver, you'll soak up the spectacular water views of Jervis and Hotham Sounds.
The 20 tastefully furnished rooms boast either forest or water views, with private balconies. There are plenty of optional activities including ocean kayaking, fly-fishing and nature hikes, plus the lodge provides adventure tours which you can confirm locally. As the sun goes down, relax in the cliff-side hot tub, sip a beverage in the fireplace lounge or check out the views from the restaurant's elevated patio.
Nimmo Bay Wilderness Resort
Nimmo Bay Wilderness Resort is the very definition of a secret hideaway. Nestled into the old growth forests of British Columbia's Great Bear Rainforest, this luxury all-inclusive resort is accessible by floatplane from Port Hardy, or Vancouver, or by boat from Vancouver Island.
Classed by National Geographic Magazine as one of the "Unique Lodges of the World", the family-owned property is one of the first eco-lodges in the world. The lodge has just nine cosy two-bedroom chalets and delivers a high-end wilderness experience in one of the most remote and stunning places on the planet. Spend your days exploring from sea level to 7,000 feet. Watch orcas or bears, kayak among salmon and sea lions, or soar high into the mountains by helicopter and hike landscapes where few have ventured. Savour the fresh coastal cuisine and evenings of music and laughter around the fire on the floating dock. This is nature as it should be.
Three and four night packages are available from 01 May to 26 October departing on Mondays and Thursdays. Price includes accommodation, wifi, gourmet cuisine,soft drinks and alcoholic beverages, fishing equipment and adventure gear, star viewing, laundry service and gratuities.
Echo Valley Ranch & Spa
Surrounded by tranquil wilderness and endless wide open spaces, this family-owned ranch is nestled in the breathtaking Cariboo Mountains.A five-hour drive from Vancouver or 2.5 hours from Kamloops and you'll arrive at this part ranch, part spa, part wilderness experience. Take gentle meadow hikes with the ranch collies then get pampered in the award-winning spa. See the backcountry on horseback and enjoy western style cook-outs under the stars. Cosy cabin and lodge accommodation is scattered throughout the ranch with views over grazing horses or snow-capped mountains.
Included in your stay is three meals a day, wine with dinner, all soft drinks, guided nature trails (one per stay), daily Thai yoga and fly-fishing. The ranch's weekly entertainment programme includes camp fires and BBQ dinners plus you have use of all ranch facilities such as indoor pool, sauna, fitness centre and games room. Guided horseback rides, 4x4 canyon safari, white water rafting and other activities are available at extra cost.
Rockwater Secret CoveWelcome to Rockwater Secret Cove on British Columbia’s Sunshine Coast. If you’re seeking a romantic getaway or peace and quiet amidst some of Canada’s most beautiful coastal scenery, this is it. Less than a three hour drive and ferry journey from Vancouver, or a short floatplane to Sechlt, discover a tucked-away resort with unique guest room options. Choose from tenthouse suites on stilts overlooking Malaspina Strait, oceanfront cabins or poolside suites.
This region boasts some of the world’s best scuba diving and fishing. If it’s gentler activities you desire, shoreline strolls, biking coastal trails or golfing can all be done at your leisure. There's also the spa for a bit of pampering. The Activities Concierge will help you make the most of your time in what is considered British Columbia’s best kept secret. Dine with a view in the evenings at the resort's fine dining restaurant overlooking the Georgia Straits.
Clayoquot Wilderness Resort
Remote, refined, remarkable...Clayoquot is THE ultimate luxury wilderness resort experience. Set in the breathtaking landscape of British Columbia's Clayoquot Sound on a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve.This all-inclusive, eco-safari camp is the perfect combination of nature + luxury. Privately owned, the Relais & Chateau property is intimate with only 25 luxury prospector-style guest tents. There's a full complement of staff, wilderness guides and food and beverage artisans.
From the moment you arrive via 55 minute floatplane trip from Vancouver, your every whim will be catered for. Enjoy daily bespoke wilderness activities suited to your interests. Hike with First Nation guides, kayak in secluded coves or enjoy the scenery by horseback. The onsite JetRange helicopter is on standby to whisk you off sightseeing in remote, rugged regions. Here you’ll experience luxury gone wild, truly.
Sundance Guest Ranch
Located in British Columbia's high country, surrounded by magnificent scenery, the ranch is an easy four hour drive from Vancouver. This is an equestrian's dream with two daily sessions of exceptional riding through sage-covered hills, alpine meadows and river canyons.
You'll be impressed with the vast choice of horses available including chestnuts, sorrels, bays, pintos and appaloosas. Every rider, from total beginner to advanced, will find a suitable horse. Choose to ride according to ability, (beginner, intermediate or advanced) or with friends and family. Either way, you'll be in small parties, guided by a friendly wrangler, who will ensure the best possible experience for the group.
Take a break from riding in the large heated swimming pool, on the tennis court, in the games room or movie lounge. The dining room serves everything from fine cuisine to hearty comfort food and overlooks the horse pastures. Before dinner, meet your fellow riders in the adults-only BYOB bar. Season is 7 April – 22 October with a minimum two night stay which includes accommodation, all meals (starting with dinner the day of arrival to lunch on day of departure), twice daily horseback riding and use of ranch facilities.
Three Bars Ranch
Built in 1989, this family-owned dude ranch is set on 35,000 acres in the heart of the Rocky Mountains. Just a 4.5 hour drive from Calgary, or 15 minutes from Cranbrook Airport, this spectacular part of Canada offers an abundance of nature and breathtaking mountain vistas.
Three Bars Ranch is a world class horse riding training facility complete with marked riding trails and indoor/outdoor riding arenas. With plenty of horses to choose from, you'll be paired with your own for the entire period of your stay and be grouped with riders of similar experience. A diverse activities programme includes river rafting, mountain biking, fly-fishing, hiking and tennis. An indoor and outdoor pool, hot tub, petting zoo, campfire area, horseshoe pit, volleyball court and trap shooting range are also available. Lodging is in rustic, but modern, hand-built log cabins. One to three bedrooms are available all with snuggly beds, full bathrooms, seating area and front porch.
Season is 21 May to 7 October with 3-night packages starting on a Sunday or Wednesday and 6-night packages commencing on a Sunday. Rates include accommodation, all meals, daily horseback riding, use of ranch facilities, day and evening activities and use of fly-fishing equipment.
Siwash Lake Guest RanchIf an authentic ranch experience in the wilds is what you're seeking, look no further. This remote, sophisticated hideaway in the heart of cowboy country is surrounded by 80,000 acres of pristine wilderness. From Whistler, it's a four hour drive or opt for a short floatplane hop from Kamloops or Williams Lake.
One of National Geographic's "Unique Lodges of the World", this small, family-owned working ranch provides an oasis of solitude for adventurous travellers. Their award wining horse programme features a well-loved and responsive herd. You'll be matched with a horse which will be yours for the duration of your time at the ranch. The assortment of daily wilderness activities are geared to your experience and fitness level. After dinner each evening, you'll sit with your guide to discuss your bespoke plan for the following day taking into account the weather, wildlife sights and your appetite for adventure.
Luxury accommodations include the Ranch House Suite, Cariboo Suite and the sought-after, ultra-private Canvas Cabins - luxury tent suites overlooking Siwash Lake. Various dining venues are all serving extraordinary, locally sourced, gourmet cuisine. Season is 1 June to 30 September and rates include: luxury accommodation, all meals, soft and alcoholic beverages, activities with private guide including horse programme, fly-fishing, hiking, skeet shooting, archery, wilderness survival and foraging tours, kayaking, yoga and daily guided horseback rides. Nanny service is also available at extra cost.