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Last 5 reviews
"It's Just Like Christmas Morning!"
After having been to Churchill to see polar bears, we talked about a desire to see grizzly bears. Our Churchill guide recommended Spirit Bear Lodge as a place to see grizzlies & the chance to see SPIRIT BEARS... a variety of bear we weren't familiar with... and this turned out to be excellent advice. After a flight from Vancouver and a quick boat ride we arrived at Spirit Bear Lodge where were greeted as family. The Lodge & staff were extremely knowledgable & very accommodating. The staff does its best to fill your desire for the day, grizzlies, black bears, Spirit Bear, seals, eagles or whales? Our 1st day gave us the chance to see the Spirit Bear and we were rewarded with an 1 hour viewing, before he decided to wander off. By our 3rd day their, all the check marks were marked off for what we hoped to see... The food was excellent, the coffee strong and the cookies tasty. The Lodge is moving towards 100% First Nation staff members & that added a nice addition to our learning experience. The pride of the People is well represented by a tour of the Big House, George & his granddaughter do the Axi/Axis people proud. Our 5 night stay flew past & the experiences were so satisfying. The camera got a huge workout... and each day started out like Christmas morning, knowing that wonders abound and it was time to go out and grab them.
Tale of Three Bears - or, When the Spirit Moves
My husband and I spent a week at Spirit Bear Lodge (our first 2011) from September 15 to 21 this fall. For uniqueness, 10/10. Although there are other 'bear spotting' options at lodges in British Columbia, this one is First Nation run, in a First Nation village and has an element of indigenous culture you would not get elsewhere. For bear viewing, 10/10. The guides have scouted out rivers and streams for new places to see the bears. This is partly because some traditional areas suffered from the collapse of their salmon runs (climate change) and no longer support a bear population. For the difficulty of access to many of the sites, 9/10. When the lodge says you need to have good mobility to get in and out of the zodiacs, climb rough trails and navigate bogs, and patience and endurance to sit for hours, sometimes in the pouring rain, waiting for those elusive bears, they are being serious. If you are a fit senior, ready to wrestle your packs/ drybags/ lunches/ cameras out of the zodiacs and up the trails, you can do it. For the bears, 10/10 The three bears? Grizzly, black, Kermode (white, Spirit Bear). We watched them all. Actually, we saw over 20 in total: grizzlies, including a sow with triplets, black bears climbing wild apple trees feasting on the grape sized crab apples, and a lovely 6 year old Spirit bear who entertained us for over 3 hours as she fished for salmon, aware of us but content to go about her business - fattening for a long winter hibernation.
Unmatched Wilderness Experience
We spent 6 nights at the Lodge. The days are structured Breakfast, onto a boat to transport you to a viewing sight, a full day watching wildlife, back for cocktails, dinner, and an informational talk. Getting in and out of the zodiacs and hiking to viewing spots requires some effort and fitness. All worth it. Pristine wilderness and amazing views of bears and other wildlife. The guides are extremely well informed and do an excellent job of maximizing your viewing experiences. We saw spirit bears, black bears, and grizzlies. We have done bear viewing in any places (Alaska, the Yukon, BC, Montana, etc). On this trip we observed interactions among multiple bears that we had not seen before. The Lodge itself is friendly and well-appointed, friendly and helpful staff, and very good local food. If your interest is seeing wildlife, especially bears, in their natural setting, I can't recommend this highly enough. Oh yeah, and the daily boat trips are wonderful.
It's a unique experience!
Staying at the lodge is a packaged experience. Included are all of your meals (very healthy and good) as well as daily activities that you are assigned to. For such a remote location, the meals were surprisingly varied (fish, chicken, pork and vegetarian options when I was there). There are at least 4 different activities that are available as well as the departure day activity. At meal time, the discussion is, of course, centered around sitings of the spirit bear. After dinner, there may be an optional presentation in the adjacent lounge. This was the only negative aspect that I encountered as the lounge and dining room are all part of the same great room. So, if there are parties still talking after dinner in the dining room, the presentation has competition and the sounds bounce around in the high ceilinged room (there is additionally a loft balcony adding potentially more noise). The rooms themselves are large and comfortable, the bathrooms on the wee side (my bathroom door couldn't clear the toilet but I understand not all rooms are like that). Would definitely recommend if you are fit enough to do the hikes that some of these activities require.
Wonderful lodge, wonderful people.
We were lucky to have spent 5 days at Spirit Bear Lodge, a very comfortable base to explore The Great Bear Forest The lodge staff, food and surroundings were exceptional and the bedrooms were spacious.We were treated to superb wildlife sighting on our ( sometimes) arduous expeditions in search of grizzly, black and spirit bears. The guides were all extremely knowledgeable and made great travelling companions. Certainly a wildlife trip we won't forget. Thanks John & John and ALL staff at Spirit Bear Lodge, long may you prosper.
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