Imagine taking a once-in-a-lifetime journey to one of the world's last remaining truly wild places, so remote that it's completely black at night on satellite images.
B.C.'s Great Bear Rainforest (GBR) is such a magical place. The world's largest remaining tract of unspoiled ancient temperate rainforest, this vast, mostly uninhabited archipelago twice the size of the Serengeti was named for the Grizzlies, American black bears and mystical, white Spirit bears that inhabit its thickly forested islands and inlets. Stretching from the northern tip of Vancouver Island to the Alaska border, the GBR is also home to countless species of birds, marine life and other mammals, including coastal wolves that can hunt salmon from streams like bears and swim like sea otters.
Today, you can cruise the famed Inside Passage aboard BC Ferries along the coast of this magnificently rugged, rain-swept wilderness. Up here, snowcapped peaks loom over precipitous, forested fjords that plunge into deep dark channel waters, and mist lingers in the tangy salt air, lifting to reveal rainbows gracing a world of untouched natural beauty.
From Prince Rupert, you can travel to the famed Khutzeymateen or "Valley of the Grizzly" to view the resident ursine populations in their natural environment. Or take a whale watching cruise and view orca whales, Humpbacks, porpoises and seals. As you explore some of the same secluded bays, marshy inlets and swift-flowing channels that early European explorers once charted and First Nations peoples have called home for thousands of years, watch for whales, wolves, dolphins and grizzlies. In late August or September, you may even spot the elusive Spirit bear, which rarely emerges from deep within the forests until fall salmon spawning season. Watching a 400-pound grizzly and her fluffy cub grazing on shoreline sedges and giant-leafed skunk cabbage from the safety of your zodiac is unforgettable. Munching their way toward the water's edge, the bears take turns rearing up on hind legs to locate each other in the tall sedge. That's when the cub looks right at you, and the magic of this moment hits home: deep within a timeless world so remote, rugged and spectacularly scenic, you've finally entered the lair of the great bears.
Prince Rupert Adventure Grizzly Bear Tour offers a cruise to the pristine wilderness of the Khutzeymateen Valley
Prince Rupert Adventure Tours offers full-day bear viewing excursions in the Khutzeymateen
Grizzly Bear Sanctuary, from mid-May until August, and humpback whale watching tours until mid-October.
Both offers available at bcferries.com/vacations