Province/Territory: British Columbia

Drifting for Grizzlies

  • 25-hectare lodge property
  • 05-m McKenzie drift boats
  • 350-kg grizzly bears

Atnarko River stretches out before you, winding for more than 100 km through expansive Tweedsmuir Provincial Park—an ecosystem of soaring bald eagles, of salmon struggling to spawn and of powerful grizzly bears roaming the waterway and fattening up for winter. Hop aboard a classic McKenzie drift boat and float downstream, getting up-close with these giants of the rainforest as they feed on fish and patrol the waterway. Disembark and wander the evergreens on a guided tour, searching for bear sign amongst the towering Douglas fir and Sitka spruce. Discover the rich culture of the Nuxalk First Nations via centuries-old petroglyphs. Retire for the evening in a private wilderness chalet after a sumptuous, locally sourced dinner. Welcome to Tweedsmuir Park Lodge—home to unique drift-boat grizzly viewing tours, Aboriginal cultural excursions, comfortable chalet accommodation and family-run hospitality. Enter one of British Columbia’s largest provincial parks—and drift for grizzlies in the Bella Coola Valley.

Why you should visit
  • Photograph 300-kg-plus grizzly bears feeding on salmon as you float quietly along the Artnako River in a stable drift boat.
  • View 15 to 20 or more grizzlies during your daylong excursion; get up-close yet stay virtually oblivious to these impressive bears.
  • Experience serenity in the heart of one of BC’s largest nature preserves—981,000-hectare Tweedsmuir Provincial Park.
  • Embark on a guided hike through old-growth forest, searching for grizzly bear claw marks, scrapes, fur tufts and footprints.
  • Discover the ancient culture of the Nuxalk First Nations; tour a petroglyph garden and marvel at stone carvings hundreds of years old; attend an Aboriginal potlatch.
  • Venture on a variety of additional outdoor tours—sport fishing, helicopter tours, powerboat adventures, heli hiking, cultural and historical tours and even summertime heli-skiing.
  • Savour meals prepared from organic produce, locally sourced meats or fresh-caught seafood; sip a glass of BC wine on the lodge deck and spot wayward grizzlies passing through the forest fringes.
  • Be regaled by tales from lodge manager and local backcountry legend, Peter “Swede” Mattsson; retire for the night in one of the Lodge's 10 private chalets.

Weather

  • Expect warm to mild weather throughout the bear-watching season (late-August through October), with cooler weather patterns towards the end of the season. Average daily temperatures are approximately 17°C in August, 13°C in September and 8°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 viewing packages run from late-August to end of October.
  • September and October are the peak months for grizzly bear tours.
  • Lower rates apply for early August and October packages.
  • Summer (June to August) scenic drift boat tours are available; grizzly bears are present, but in fewer numbers.
Need to know
  • Bear-watching groups are a maximum of four adults.
  • Tweedsmuir Park Lodge operates in an environmentally sustainable manner.
  • Guests are responsible for all apparel and personal items.
  • Multiday bear viewing packages include all meals, accommodation, park fees, guided excursions and local transportation.
  • Dietary requests can be accommodated by operator.
Getting Here