By: Oksana & Max, Drink Tea & Travel
The Great Bear Rainforest is one of the most unique and special destinations in British Columbia. Spanning 21 million acres, this is the largest intact coastal temperate rainforest on the planet, that in recent years has been protected from logging and industrial development. The region is home to thriving biodiversity and acts as an important grizzly bear habitat.
The region is best visited in late summer (August to early October) when the opportunity to see grizzly bears feasting on salmon offers one of the greatest wildlife shows on the planet.
The heart of the action is the Bella Coola Valley and the adjacent Tweedsmuir South Provincial Park. If you are visiting for a chance to spot the grizzly bears, the park offers a number of viewing platforms where you can observe the bears from a safe distance.
And there is plenty to do aside from grizzly bear watching. Thanks to the abundant river systems and diverse fish species, angling is a popular activity in the park. The Turner Lake Canoe Circuit offer spectacular 3-5 day canoe trips.
Hiking is another popular way to experience the park. There are trailheads starting in Bella Coola Valley, trails starting near Turner Lake and at the Rainbow Range Trailhead. Most of the trails are long (12-20+ kms in length) and suitable for experiences hikers only. THe Rainbow Mountain Range hike is one of the most popular, as it offers the shortest route to the alpine and stunnign views along the way.
Where to Stay:
If you want to stay in the heart of the action, Tweedsmuir Provincial Park offers 24 vehicle-accessible campsites and 2 tenting campsites. Facilities are limited to drop toilets, so campers need to be self-sufficient.
For a more comfortable stay, there is Tweedsmuir Park Lodge, a luxury wilderness hotel located right on the Atnarko River. The lodge offers multi-day Grizzly Bear Safari packages that include accommodation in their spacious chalets, 3 delicious a la carte meals a day, along with guided nature walks, grizzly bear viewing, river rafting excursions, hikes and even a unique via Ferrata adventure. It’s an incredible place where bears can be seen from the dining room or from the comfort of your private veranda. Sows with their cubs can be spotted playing on the grass and offer some incredible wildlife encounters.
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