Province/Territory: British Columbia

Wild Grizzlies and the Bear Whisperer

  • 30 years of guiding experience
  • 07 million sockeye salmon
  • 01 unforgettable grizzly bear safari

Imagine: you are deep within the world’s largest tract of interior temperate rainforest and up-close-and-personal with one of Canada’s most impressive natural spectacles. Perched aboard a jet boat and quietly drifting down a remote wilderness river—a waterway stacked-up with vibrant-red spawning sockeye salmon—witness grizzly bears, 300-kg-plus in size, lumber from the forest to feast on thrashing fish. Your guide, a real-life mountain-man nicknamed the “Bear Whisperer,” expertly pilots the watercraft in for close-up photo-opportunities—and at times actually communicates with the bears—while this cycle of life continues mere metres from your clicking camera.

Welcome to EcoTours BC—a unique bear-watching tour operation in the heart of British Columbia’s sprawling Cariboo Mountains Provincial Park. Accompanied by one of the province's most highly regarded wilderness guides and with a cosy eco-lodge as your home base, set out on an unforgettable safari in search of wild grizzlies with the Bear Whisperer himself.

Why you should visit
  • Drift along the serene Mitchell River to experience close-up-but-safe encounters with feeding grizzly bears; be guided by award-winning bear expert, Gary Zorn—a man dubbed the “Bear Whisperer.”
  • Watch as your guide actually speaks to the grizzlies, interpreting their moods and behaviour patterns throughout the tour; learn about grizzly lifecycles and habitats.
  • View thousands of blood-red sockeye salmon swimming upriver in their fight to spawn; explore a 116,000-hectare provincial park.
  • Spot more wildlife such as otters, beavers, pine martens, mountain caribou, moose, wolves, deer, lynx, wolverines and black bears during your time afield.
  • Hike through the world’s largest interior temperate rainforest; marvel at 1,000-year-old western red cedars.
  • Observe birdlife soaring overhead: eagles, osprey, geese, blue herons, trumpeter swans and mountain songbirds.
  • Appreciate the “leave only footprints” philosophy that ensures this habitat will be maintained for future generations.
  • Stay in a cosy mountain lodge, complete with stone fireplace and pool table and located on two hectares of riverfront property at the outlet of Quesnel Lake—the world’s deepest fiord lake.

Weather

  • Expect mild to warm weather during the bear-watching season (May through October), with cooler weather patterns in October. Average daily temperatures are 10°C in May, 13°C in June, 15°C in July & August, 11°C in September and 5°C in October.
  • Discover local weather information. Research local weather patterns at Environment Canada's Canadian Climate Website.
Visitor information
When to go
  • Grizzly bear watching tours run from May through October.
  • September is prime bear viewing season; viewing is done via jet boat.
  • Spring season bear viewing is done via alpine hikes.
  • May and October see the coolest weather; July and August see the warmest and driest weather.
  • Dominant year sockeye returns can see as many as seven million salmon return to the Quesnel River watershed.
  • Thousands of sockeye salmon return each year.
Need to know
  • Guests are responsible for warm and weatherproof apparel and personal items.
  • Quality camera with telephoto/zoom lens is recommended; fly fishing equipment can also be rented on-site.
  • Sturdy footwear is required for bear viewing excursions; hiking is a strenuous activity.
  • EcoTours BC supports conservation efforts & bear stewardship.
  • Packages include accommodation, meals and guided tours.
Getting Here