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Princess Royal Island is home to the rare honey coloured Kermode, or spirit bear, the unusual colouring of which is due to a double recessive gene.

The experience and knowledge of native Gitga’at guides turns searching for them into an adventure, involving boat trips and visits to viewing platforms beside salmon streams. Patience is likely to be rewarded not only with a sighting of spirit bears, but also black bears fishing for salmon.

Spirit bears are highly elusive, but the optimum period to see them is from late August to early October. June to August is an exceptional time for sighting humpback whale, orca, Dall’s porpoise, and Pacific white-sided dolphin. The lodge here has forged a close relationship with whale researchers based nearby sharing their knowledge.

In the heart of the Great Bear Rainforest, the island has a diverse habitat, with sandy beaches, lowland old-growth rainforest and alpine tundra, interspersed with fiords, estuaries, and lakes. 

View suggested itineraries

Key info

  • Ideal for viewing: Dall’s porpoise, humpback whale, orca, Pacific white-sided dolphin, spirit bear
  • Where: British Columbia, Canada

Wildlife trips

This wildlife location is featured in the following itineraries:

Great Bear Rainforest

A small ship adventure to search for the legendary all-white spirit bear, and humpback whales deep in the Great Bear Rainforest. A maze of islands and waterways, the area is also home to black bears and grizzlies, and there are daily sea kayak excursions to view wildlife and visit traditional communities.

  • When to go: Aug-Oct
  • Duration inc. flights: 12 days
  • Price inc. flights: From £5,495 pp
  • Trip type: Group tour

Spirit Bear Quest

Join acclaimed wildlife photographer Nick Garbutt on a stunning journey into the Great Bear Rainforest in search of the elusive spirit bear. Our week on a specially chartered vessel, followed by a stay in a remote floating lodge, offers exceptional viewing and photographic opportunities of grizzly, black and spirit bears.

  • When to go: Sep-Oct
  • Duration inc. flights: 16 days
  • Price inc. flights: From £8,795 pp
  • Trip type: Group tour
Recommended cruise vessel:

Island Solitude

The Island Solitude is a new vessel currently under construction, which will accommodate 12 guests in large, spacious cabins, each with two lower berths and an en suite bathroom. At 24 metres in length, she has been specifically designed for cruising the coastline of British Columbia.