The world’s largest rainforests are located in the Amazon, the Congo, and Southeast Asia, but you don’t need to travel that far to enjoy the beauty and magnificence of a rainforest. In fact, for U.S. residents, access to the rainforest is closer than you think.
Canada holds some of nature’s most beautiful landscapes and seascapes. For decades, nature lovers have been visiting Canada to tour the Great Bear Rainforest – a 250-plus mile expanse of rainforest along the coast of British Columbia. Canada’s pristine rainforest is abundant with wildlife including cougars, deer, mountain goats, salmon, and the elusive Kermode bear.
Traveling to Canada is simple if you’re a U.S. citizen – you only need a passport. If you’re not a U.S. citizen, depending on where you hold a passport, you might be able to bypass a visa and get an eTA instead. An eTA is a travel authorization that’s much easier to obtain than a Canada visa or Temporary Residence Permit. When traveling for tourism, an eTA is the best option.
The best time to tour the Great Bear Rainforest
According to National Geographic, the best time to tour the Great Bear Rainforest is between late August through mid-October when thousands of salmon return to the river, bringing bears along with them. The best time to fish for salmon is from April through October.
Unlike salmon fishing, trout fishing is year-round. If you want to see the rare, white Kermode bear, you’ll need plenty of luck and a local guide with expert bear tracking skills.
Great Bear Rainforest accommodations
To access this beautiful, remote rainforest location, you’ll need local accommodations and you’ve got a few options to choose from.
When touring the Great Bear Rainforest, you might want to stay at the Tweedsmuir Lodge in one of the 11 chalets and cabins. The lodge is located in the middle of the 60-acre Tweedsmuir Provincial Park.
While staying at Tweedsmuir Lodge from late August through mid-September, you have the option of floating down the Atnarko River for a guided grizzly bear tour. If you’re not interested in taking a floating tour to spot grizzlies, the other accommodation options might appeal to you more.
King Pacific Lodge
Another cool lodging option is the King Pacific Lodge – a floating resort anchored in Barnard Harbour. King Pacific Lodge has 17 luxurious rooms and is open from June to September. However, this lodge can only be accessed by floatplane. King Pacific Lodge offers full package tour deals that includes a room, guided tours, transportation, and meals.
Spirit Bear Lodge
Spirit Bear Lodge is a waterfront lodge that also provides a three-to-seven-night immersive cultural heritage tour. Between June and July, you’ll experience the fullness of roaring waterfalls and blooming flowers while August offers hikes through the forest and plenty of wildlife sightings. September and October fill the rivers and bring spawning salmon and plenty of bears in tow.
Book all-inclusive tours to make the most of your trip
When visiting the Great Bear Rainforest, it’s crucial to book your tour as an all-inclusive package deal that covers as many of your needs as possible. You’ll be in a remote location and will need transportation and meals. Since many areas require a floatplane, having a package that includes transportation will be extremely convenient.
Explore the restaurants in the area
While enjoying the breathtaking beauty of the rainforest, make sure to fuel yourself by eating well. There are several places to eat depending on your food preferences.
If you love fish ‘n chips, you’ll love Dolly’s Fish Market. Although Dolly’s isn’t fancy or luxurious, it’s efficient and pretty packed in the summer – a testament to the tasty battered and fried halibut.
Other places to eat include a diner called Bella Coola Valley Restaurant. Although you can find plenty of eclectic options on the menu, locals recommend sticking with their thick, juicy burgers topped with everything you can imagine.
Ready to tour the Great Bear Rainforest in Canada?
Are you ready to get a firsthand view of the 250-mile Great Bear Rainforest? If you want to go, but aren’t sure what to expect on the technical side, contact a travel agent to find out more about your options.
To catch a preview of what your trip might be like, check out this compilation of more than 150 photographs taken by photographer Ian McAllister. Once you see these photos, you’ll have to see it all for yourself.