Spirit Bear Quest, Klemtu Search for the Elusive Kermode Bear in Northern BC

3 nights

This holiday offers a great chance to see and learn about Spirit (Kermode) bears; actually a black bear with a recessive gene and only found in a small area of the Great Bear Rainforest of British Columbia.

It must be emphasised that you are not guaranteed to see a Spirit bear; Kermode bears are rare, just 10% of black bears are born white. However, Klemtu is one of your best chances.

Even if you don't see a Spirit bear you almost certainly will see grizzly or black bears. Part of the wonder of this holiday is walking through the forest and sitting quietly on the river bank waiting for the bears to come and then watch them catch the returning salmon from an astonishingly short distance: an awe-inspriring and wonderful experience. You will also discover the local First Nations culture, see the ancient and modern cultural sites, as well as watch marine wildlife, wolves, bald eagles and other birds.

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The Breakdown

Here's a day-by-day guide to your itinerary. Feel free to ask us to add other days or ideas and excursions by adding them to your wishlist, so we can give you the best price.

Day 1

Vancouver to Klemtu

Depart Vancouver aboard Pacific Coastal Airlines scheduled 2-hour afternoon service to Bella Bella. You will then have a short transfer by 15-passenger van to the boat dock where you will be met by Spirit Bear Lodge staff aboard the water taxi for the 90-minute journey to Klemtu and Spirit Bear Lodge. On arrival and check in, there will be a welcome orientation, followed by a buffet dinner at 7pm and a next day activity briefing. There will also be an evening presentation at 8pm on coastal ecology.

Day 2


After breakfast, you will meet on the dock at 8am for the first full day bear viewing adventure in one of the main grizzly viewing estuaries. You will also have the opportunity to see the spectacular waterfalls in Carter Inlet and undoubtedly see other wildlife. You will return by 6pm in time for buffet dinner at 7pm. Dinner will be followed by an evening presentation on some the Great Bear Rainforest, Bears or First Nations culture.

Day 3


Breakfast will be at 7am, then you will be on the water at 8am for Spirit Bear viewing safari, which will take place on foot in one of the Spirit Bear rivers. Again, you will return by 6pm for dinner and an another interesting evening programme.

If you stay at Klemtu for a longer holiday you can choose from the following trips: full day Spirit Bear quest and exclusive access to the Canoona River, full day Spirit Bear quest to other areas on Princess Royal Island and in the Spirit Bear Conservancy, additional full day excursions for grizzly viewing at Carter Bay or Green River, daytrip to UNESCO World Heritage candidate site Dis’ju, marine tour for Humpback whale viewing (seasonal) in Finlayson Channel, boat excursions to Kitasu Hill, the best preserved volcano in Milbanke Sound.

Day 4

Klemtu to Vancouver

After breakfast, you have a choice of a morning sea kayak paddle along the shores south of Klemtu, a rainforest walk or a cultural tour. At 11am, you will board the water taxi for the 90-minute trip back to Bella Bella, arriving in time to catch your afternoon flight back to Vancouver, which arrives between 5-7pm.

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The View

A selection of images representing the areas and places you will be visiting to give you a glimpse of what lies in store during your holiday.

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This is a selection of hotels for this itinerary. Some areas have many more choices; please use the search function above if you wish to find an alternative hotel.

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We are here to make sure we tailor-make your holiday to suit your specific requirements and our friendly, knowledgeable staff are all ready to help.


Booking your holiday with us doesn't end when we send your confirmation out to you, either. Talk to us about adding excursions or room upgrades or even restaurant recommendations; we are here to offer advice all the way up to your departure date. Even when you have left the UK, we are still here to help. For example if your flight that we have booked is delayed or cancelled due to ash cloud, strike, etc, it is down to us to re-arrange your travel. We will do everything we can to make sure your holiday runs smoothly. And better still, we are fully bonded with ATOL and ABTA, so your money is completely protected.

The holiday

This holiday is available for 3, 4, 5, or 6-night packages. However, if viewing the elusive Spirit Bear is  your priority, it is strongly suggested to consider a minimum 5 day/4 night package or longer and to consider coming in August, September or October. (see below).


2017: Low Season: June 1 – July 31, Shoulder Season: August 1 – August 28, High Season: August 29 – October 10. Tour start dates on any day from June 1. Last tour start dates of the year vary depending on package length; last guests will all depart the lodge on October 10th.


June is Spring in the Great Bear Rainforest when the sedge grass, the main early season protein food source for the Grizzly Bears, is most abundant.  The combination of the deep green sedge grass and wildflowers is also great for keen photographers. There is a also a good chance of seeing Grizzly mums with cubs in tow or sub-adults who 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. Humpbacks are also a relatively common sight as they forage the shore for krill, herring and mackerel.

July is very similar to June and is also the month with typically the best weather; the warmest days and the most sunshine. The grizzlies will be moving between the estuaries for sedge and the forest for berries. Later in in the month is the beginning of the salmon spawning season in the outer coastal rivers where black bears will begin to to be seen in greater numbers.

August is when the bears start to know that it is the beginning of the great salmon feast. Salmon begin to school in greater numbers at the entrances to the rivers and the bears then begin to congregate near the river mouth of many systems. By mid to late August, the spawning has begun in the inner coastal rivers. Also, although Spirit Bears can be seen anytime after they emerge from their dens in early Spring, the first good sightings are typically in August.

By September, the salmon spawn is well underway and grizzly bears, black bears and Spirit Bears will all be vying for the best fishing opportunities. The bear numbers begin to spike upwards at this time as they are feeding almost continuously.

October often sees another spike in bear numbers as the spawned-out salmon are being pushed back down to the river mouth, making the fishing easier. Bears are keen to fatten themselves up before winter so activity can be busy and exciting. While bear viewing can be excellent in October, this month also often brings with it the start of the seasonal rains that gives the Great Bear Rainforest part of its well-earned name.

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