Quest for the Great Spirit Bear
PRICING (per person in Canadian dollars; GST is not included) Child rates are based on the child staying in a room with 2 double rate guests. Below rates are based on nights of lodging i.e., SBL4 is 4 nights, SBL5 is 5 nights, etc.
Shoulder Season August 1 - August 28
SBL4 - Double $3,245 / Single $4,850/ Triple $2,905 / Child (12-16) $1,955
SBL5 - Double $4,050 / Single $6,050 / Triple $3,625 / Child (12-16) $2,435
SBL6 - Double $4,930 / Single $7,370/ Triple $4,415/ Child (12-16) $2,965
SBL7 - Double $5,740 / Single $8,595 / Triple $5,150 / Child (12-16) $3,450
High Season August 29 - October 10
SBL4 - Double $3,585 / Single $5,410/ Triple $3,120 / Child (12-16) $2,155
SBL5 - Double $4,475 / Single $6,820 / Triple $3,920 / Child (12-16) $2,690
SBL6 - Double $5,365 / Single $8,220/ Triple $4,720/ Child (12-16) $3,220
SBL7 - Double $6,255 / Single $9,635 / Triple $5,525 / Child (12-16) $3,755
NOT INCLUDED IN PRICING
- Goods & Services Tax (GST) (5% for residents and 2.5% for non-residents)
- Gratuity for staff (recommended $30.00 per day per guest for duration of stay. As a community owned business, all our staff are included in the general gratuity pool so we discourage direct tipping)
- Items of a personal nature while at the lodge (telephone, laundry, alcoholic beverages except wine with dinner etc.)
The Great Bear Rainforest and the Legend of Spirit Bear The Great Bear Rainforest of British Columbia is the largest piece of intact temperate rainforest left on the planet. Towering green, forested mountains give way to richly biodiverse river valley bottoms and estuaries which teem with wild salmon. It is the home of the great Grizzly Bear, coastal wolves, cougar and many other terrestrial mammals.
The Pacific Ocean, which laps the forest’s shores, is home to pods of Orca and Humpback Whales who swim and hunt in the labyrinthine complex of fiords and channels. It is here in the Great Bear Rainforest that the Kitasoo/Xai’xais First Nation has lived since time immemorial. They have shared the forest and the salmon with a very special creature they call moskgm'ol (white bear). Their legend of the origin of moskgm'ol holds that “Goo-wee (Raven) made one in every ten black bears white to remind the people of a time when glaciers covered this land and how the people should be thankful of the lush and bountiful land of today.” Many of the Kitasoo/Xai’xais believe the Spirit Bears hold super-natural powers, hence the name Spirit Bear – a name that suits its mythical like presence. In the Heart of the Rainforest It is only fitting then that Spirit Bear Lodge is situated in the small, remote Kitasoo/Xai’xais fishing village of Klemtu. Located 280 nautical miles north of Vancouver, Klemtu is truly in the heart of the rainforest. Nestled in a remote archipelago of small islands and thus protected from the wild Pacific, Klemtu is centrally positioned to offer unparalleled access to some of the best grizzly and Spirit Bear viewing in the region.
Because Spirit Bear Lodge is owned and operated by First Nations, our staff, many of whom were born and raised in Klemtu, have exclusive access to some of the special Spirit Bear viewing areas in the recently created Spirit Bear Conservancy. Spirit Bear Lodge Spirit Bear Lodge was built in 2007 and features 12 rooms with a mix of occupancy types including twin, double and triple.
Listen to the silence as you revel in the natural wonders of the pristine and raw landscapes that surrounds you in this unique culturally authentic accommodation. Each room in the Spirit Bear Lodge is afforded with a private bathroom and all rooms take full advantage of the ocean and rainforest viewscapes.
Grizzly bear viewing and the quest for the Spirit Bear Guests depart Vancouver’s South Terminal in the early afternoon for the two hour flight to Bella Bella. After collecting your luggage, you’ll take the short 10 minute ground transfer to the dock where our water taxi awaits to whisk you to Spirit Bear Lodge in the small First Nations community of Klemtu. Enjoy the scenic 90 minute journey through the maze of coastal islands as you travel deep into the heart of the Great Bear Rainforest – keeping your eyes out for Humpback whales, Dall’s porpoises or Orcas. Approaching the lodge, guests will receive a short orientation on the lodge facilities and our bear viewing program and will arrive in time for a sumptuous supper. After supper, guests will be briefed on the details of their first bear viewing excursion departing the following morning. After your briefing, enjoy a glass of premium BC wine as you take in an evening presentation on some aspect of bear ecology or Aboriginal culture and history. In the morning, arise early for a hearty breakfast and your first full-day bear viewing adventure!
Our bear viewing program takes us daily to different pristine river valleys and estuaries located in our traditional territory which, in good weather, are typically about 90 minutes from the lodge. On arrival at our destination we will disembark the water taxi to explore the lush river valleys and broad, braided estuaries on foot. Our guides have an intimate knowledge of the behavior and movement patterns of the bears and will often situate guests under the forest canopy or on a rocky outcropping to get intimate and special eye-level viewing and photographic opportunities as the bears forage for roots, berries or feast on salmon.
Depending on our location we may also board small zodiacs and propel silently under oar or by small outboard motor deeper up a river or into the braided channels of an estuary to view bears. Anyone over the age of 11 years old who is active and mobile is suitable for our tours. It is truly an exhilarating and unforgettable once-in-a-lifetime experience to be in the company of wild bears whilst taking advantage of the experience and judgement of our seasoned bear guides.
Spirit Bear Lodge is open from June 1st to October 10th. When should you come? Each month has a different seasonal feel and attraction. Some of the mental attributes of happy guests are a sense of wonder, a sense of adventure, patience and an understanding that wild creatures don't always move according to our schedules. As for physical attributes - our daily bear viewing adventures take us to hidden rivers and broad, braided estuaries. Trails can be overgrown, uneven and sometimes we make our own. Guests should be physically active and good mobility is essential for travel on the trails and for embarking and disembarking our vessels onto rocky shorelines and beaches. The rewards are often intimate encounters with some of nature's most charismatic creatures in some of nature's most awe-inspiring places.
June is Spring in the Great Bear Rainforest. Sedge grass, the main early season protein food source for the Grizzly Bears, is abundant at this time. The deep green sedge grass dotted with wildflowers is a big favorite of photographers. Grizzly mums with cubs in tow or sub-adults will often seek out the outer fringes of the big coastal estuaries to feed on the grass un-disturbed by the larger males who may still be working their way down from the upper alpine meadows and avalanche chutes. Seeing a grizzly mum frolic with young cubs in the early Spring air is a breathtaking sight. Humpbacks are also a relatively common sight as they forage the shore for krill, herring and mackerel.
We will see Humpbacks frequently right through until we close in October. July is very similar to June and is also the month when we typically receive the best weather – warmest days and most sunshine. The grizzlies will be moving between the estuaries for sedge and the forest for berries. Later in July, we will also see the beginning of the salmon spawning season in our outer coastal rivers where black bears will begin to appear in greater numbers. August is when the bears begin to sniff the beginning of the great salmon feast. Salmon begin to school in greater numbers at the entrances to the rivers waiting for that perfect combination of mysterious factors that cue them to swim up river and spawn. Bears begin to congregate near the river mouth of many systems.
By mid to late August, the spawning has begun in the inner coastal rivers. Although Spirit Bears can be seen anytime after they emerge from their dens in early Spring, August is when we typically get our first good sightings. By September, the salmon spawn is in full swing and grizzly bears, black bears and Spirit Bears will all be vying for the best fishing opportunities. We often see our bear numbers begin to spike upwards as the bears all begin the hyperphagia phase of their life cycle – that is, feeding almost continuously. October often brings another spike in bear numbers. Bear numbers are at their peak as spawned-out salmon are being pushed back down to the river mouth, making the fishing easier. Bears are keen to pack on the last bit of fat before winter denning so activity can be feverish. While bear viewing can be excellent in October, this month also often brings with it the beginning of the seasonal rains that gives the Great Bear Rainforest part of its well-earned name.
In short, the grizzly bears are active from early June to mid October as the bears move from early foraging for roots in the Spring to savoring wild berries in the Summer before moving on to the great Fall feast during salmon spawning. Guests can come for grizzly viewing on packages which range from 4 days/3 nights (SBL4) to 7 days/6 nights (SBL7). Guests who are intent on viewing the elusive Spirit Bear are strongly suggested to consider a minimum 5 day/4 night package (SBL5) or longer and to consider coming in August, September or October. While our guests who choose the SBL4 night packages and who come earlier in the season may well see the Spirit Bear, this creature is elusive and shy and generally those who stay for longer – on the 5, 6 or 7 day packages – are more likely to get rewarded with the moving experience of seeing the bear known as moskgm'ol. Although these are wild animals and we can never guarantee Spirit Bear sightings, Spirit Bear Lodge guests will benefit from the experience of local First Nations skippers and guides who work closely with the Coastal Guardian Network of ‘watchmen’ in the region who all communicate with each other to maximize viewing opportunities. We also utilize an extensive network of remote, infra-red trail cameras to assist in targeting specific river systems for viewing and research. Of course, in addition to bear viewing, our guests will have the opportunity to visit culturally significant sites including our spectacular Big House and learn about the First Nations culture that has flourished in this area for thousands of years and is embarking on a hard-earned renaissance after 200 years of social and cultural turbulence.