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In the wild and pristine Pacific Northwest, a few select travellers can enjoy the incomparable thrill of encounters with massive brown bears, soaring bald eagles and large pods of orcas. Most viewing is done from boats, which allows you to get remarkably close.

Situated 70 kilometres north of Campbell River, and accessible by floatplane, Glendale Cove used to be the site of a cannery as well as a First Nations village. However, nowadays this location is renowned for having one of the largest concentrations of brown (grizzly) bears in Canada. The number of bears only grows when the inlet’s abundant salmon run beings in earnest in the late summer months, which leads to unrivalled opportunities to watch and photograph these magnificent creatures.

This remote area can be a place of immense silence in the calm of the temperate rainforest, and one of immense power in the face of the many thundering waterfalls that are fed by glaciers. Knight Inlet and Glendale Cove really start to come alive from late April onwards when bears emerge from hibernation and are eager to feed on the succulent spring growth - you can see as many as 15 grizzly bears and 5 black bears feeding on sedge grasses, mussels and barnacles along the shoreline. This is the time to see newborn cubs as they venture out for the first time with their cautious mothers. Most viewing is done from boats, which allows you to get remarkably close. Seeing bears at eye level without disturbing them is an unforgettable experience, and offers some of the year's best photographic opportunities, with lush vegetation and spectacular backdrops.

Towards the end of August hundreds of thousands of pink salmon start to surge up the inlet into the Glendale River, attracting dozens of grizzlies who converge on the channels where they spawn to gorge themselves and fatten up in preparation for the coming winter – this really is a must-see wildlife spectacle.

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Key info

  • Ideal for viewing: American black bear, brown bear, humpback whale, orca, pine marten
  • Where: British Columbia, Canada

Wildlife trips

This wildlife location is featured in the following itineraries:

The Bear Essentials

Focus on seeing British Columbia’s largest carnivore - the brown or grizzly bear. Fly by floatplane to your wilderness lodge of choice, and enjoy daily bear watching trips, either by boat, kayak or from hides, affording some remarkably close up encounters and an unforgettable experience.

  • When to go: May-Oct
  • Duration inc. flights: 8 days
  • Price inc. flights: From £4,595 pp
  • Trip type: Tailor-made trip idea

Festival of Bears

In 2018 our annual Festival of Bears returns to one of our favourite locations for bear watching – Knight Inlet in Glendale Cove. Renowned conservationist Mark Carwardine and Wildlife Worldwide founder Chris Breen accompany a special visit to the Great Bear Rainforest to see grizzlies at prime time.

  • When to go: Oct
  • Duration inc. flights: 9 days
  • Price inc. flights: From £6,495 pp
  • Trip type: Group tour

Kayaking with Whales & Grizzlies

Seeing a humpback whale lunging through a school of bait fish, or a pod of killer whales surfacing in unison, are often considered to be once in a lifetime experiences, yet they are both possible on this water-based tour, along with the other star of British Columbia’s extraordinary wildlife – the grizzly bear.

  • When to go: Jul-Sep
  • Duration inc. flights: 10 days
  • Price inc. flights: From £3,345 pp
  • Trip type: Tailor-made trip idea

Orcas, Bears & Totems

This trip visits a stunning archipelago in British Columbia, one of the best places in the world to watch orca as they gather to forage for salmon. Sailing on board a specially designed yacht, the adventure continues to Knight Inlet, where brown bears come to feed in the summer.

  • When to go: Jul-Aug
  • Duration inc. flights: 10 days
  • Price inc. flights: From £4,745 pp
  • Trip type: Group tour
Suggested accommodation is shown below. Please contact us for further recommendations.

Knight Inlet Lodge

Some 60 kilometres inland along the largest fjord on the British Columbia coast, Knight Inlet Lodge is tucked into Glendale Cove. Situated in the heart of the Great Bear Rainforest, this floating lodge offers boat trips to explore the hidden coves of the inlet, allowing you to view bears at eye-level.