Where to Find the Best Bear Watching in Canada

Experience the heart-pounding excitement of bear watching in Canada, where nature's giants take centre stage against a stunning backdrop.

Best Bear Watching

Bear watching in Canada is one of the most memorable experiences where you can see these incredible animals in the wild. Wondering about the different types of bears in Canada? Curious about the best bear watching spots and times? We've got you covered. Dive into this guide to uncover the ideal seasons for Canada bear watching and pinpoint the country's top destinations for bear enthusiasts. And for those who prefer a touch of luxury, we'll introduce you to exclusive bear watching holidays in Canada, combining comfort with the call of the wild. Whether it's grizzly bears in Canada or brown bears in Canada you're after, our guide aims to make your bear watching adventure successful.

What kind of bears live in Canada? 

In Canada's vast and beautiful lands, a variety of bears roam free. During your visit, you’ll likely encounter mighty grizzly bears in Canada, also known as brown bears, demonstrating their overwhelming strength in the country's rugged mountains and expansive forests. Or, you might discover the adaptable black bear, which is visible across the nation. Meanwhile, the Kermode Bear, also known as the "spirit bear," is a rare subspecies of the black bear that roams the forests of British Columbia. And let's not forget the majestic Polar Bears, iconic creatures of Canada's far northern Arctic regions.

The Brown Bear (a.k.a Grizzly)

Brown bears and grizzly bears in Canada exhibit majestic and powerful presences. These colossal creatures, with adult males weighing up to 400 kilos, have shared features, including a distinctive shoulder hump and a fur palette from blonde to almost black. Their solitary natures lead them through the extensive Canadian wilds, utilizing their sharp senses for foraging and avoiding human interactions. However, there are differences between the two.

All grizzly bears are a category within brown bears, but not all brown bears are grizzlies. The term "grizzly bear" is designated for those residing in North America's inland regions. Conversely, brown bears in Canada along the Pacific coast are called brown bears. They relish a milder climate and a diversified diet, abundant in calorie-laden salmon, enabling them to attain larger sizes and higher population densities than their grizzly counterparts in the northern and interior regions.

It's important to be cautious and respectful around these bears. If you're venturing into bear territories, make noise, hang tight in groups, and always have bear spray handy. And remember, no feeding the bears.

The Black Bear


Black bears are smaller than brown, but don’t be fooled - adult males can still weigh up to 270 kilos. They sport a variety of colours, from black to brown and even cinnamon. Black bears in Canada tend to be more adaptable to different habitats. They live in forests, swamps, and other areas, even those close to human settlements. Just like their grizzly counterparts, they have a varied diet, feasting on plants, fruits, insects, and small mammals.

Stumbling upon a black bear in the wild? Stay calm. It’s crucial to avoid surprising them. Make noise while hiking, and keep your food stored properly if you come across a black bear, back away slowly and avoid direct eye contact, which they might see as challenging.

The Kermode Bear 


The Kermode bear is a rare and unique subspecies of the black bear in Canada. Also known as the "spirit bear," these creatures have a special place in the hearts and traditions of the Indigenous peoples of British Columbia.

The Kermode bear is often white or cream-coloured, making them stand out against the lush green forests of the Great Bear Rainforest, where they predominantly reside. Despite their colour, they're not albinos. Their white coat is due to a unique recessive gene.

Encounters with these magical bears are rare and precious. However, treating them with the same respect and caution as any other bear is essential. Make some noise as you move through their habitat, and carry bear spray just in case.

The Polar Bear 

The polar bear is the majestic monarch of the Arctic. Renowned for their thick, white coats that camouflage them in their frosty habitat, these enormous bears are marine mammals superbly adapted to their harsh environment.

Polar bears roam the ice floes and coasts of the Arctic regions in Canada, hunting primarily seals. Their incredible sense of smell, strong swimming ability, and sharp hunting skills make them phenomenal predators.

Even in the stark and remote Arctic, human and polar bear paths can cross. Safety and respect are crucial in such encounters. It's vital to avoid attracting bears by properly managing food and waste. If you're in polar bear territory, travel in groups and carry deterrents. These steps are essential in safeguarding both human and polar bear lives.

The Best Time of the Year for Bear Watching in Canada

Embarking on a journey to explore the awe-inspiring world of wild bears is an enthralling experience. However, pinpointing the best time to see bears in Canada is crucial for ensuring an extraordinary and enjoyable view of these magnificent animals in their natural habitat. Northern Manitoba is a hotspot for those eager to spot Polar Bears. Various tours are available in July, August, and September, while October and November present more intimate, arctic, ground-level encounters. A lucky few might even get the chance to observe newborn cubs in February and March. In British Columbia, autumn (September and October) marks the prime time to observe the grand grizzly bears in Canada, and spring (May and June) is perfect for seeing the elusive black bears in Alberta.

Best Places to See Bears in Canada

Banff National Park 

On the lookout for the best place to see bears in Canada? Head straight to Banff National Park. It's nestled in the stunning Rocky Mountains, where the beautiful grizzly bear roams free. This park is one of the best places to see bears in Canada. If you are yearning to witness the majestic polar bears, Churchill, Manitoba, known as the "Polar Bear Capital of the World," should be your destination. Located along Hudson Bay, it's a vital route for migrating polar bears awaiting sea ice formation. We can even set you up on a guided tour in specialised 4×4 vehicles to ensure your bear watching is thrilling and secure.

With its Zodiac trips around Vancouver Island and bear lodges in the Great Bear Rainforest, British Columbia provides unparalleled opportunities to see grizzly bears, black bears, and the rare white Kermode bear. If you're pondering where do bears live in Canada, these remarkable locations offer answers and exceptional bear-watching experiences, making them the best places to see bears in Canada.

Where to See Bears Catching Salmon in Canada

If you're wondering where to see bears catching salmon in Canada, think about heading to British Columbia. Here, in the immense expanse of the Great Bear Rainforest, bears and salmon meet in a stunning dance of survival. It's a place like no other. Late summer and fall are the best times to go. The salmon swim upstream to lay their eggs, journeying to the very place they were born. And the bears? They're waiting. In places like this, they gather to feast and fatten up for the winter. They snatch the fish from the waters, showing off their incredible hunting skills. Another great spot is the Knight Inlet and it's just as breathtaking. But remember, while it's an amazing sight, staying safe is essential. Follow the guidelines to keep both you and the bears safe.

Luxury Bear Watching Holidays in Canada


Who says rugged wildlife viewing can't also be luxurious? Scott Dunn's offerings can take you deep within the Canadian wilderness while providing a comfortable experience.

Imagine this: you're waking up in a lavish bear lodge, and right from your cosy bed, you see a bear ambling in its natural setting. This thrilling sight is a part of the Canada bear watching holidays Scott Dunn offers. Stay in our top-recommended bear lodges and enjoy both immense comfort and an up-close look at bears and other local wildlife.

Are you a polar bear enthusiast? Our itineraries bring you right into the heart of polar bear territory, offering an unparalleled viewing experience. Your adventure continues with our exciting day tours. Embark on a coastal excursion in a Zodiac, effortlessly floating through Tofino's shallow bays. Here, fresh from semi-hibernation in May, black bears eagerly search the shores for food. You're fully equipped for this excursion with a Mustang floater suit, toque, and gloves, ensuring your journey is as comfortable as it is thrilling.

Or choose an exploration of Whistler and Blackcomb Mountains in a 4x4 vehicle. Navigate through diverse forests, meadows, and streams, visiting sites where bears feed, sleep, and hibernate during winter. You're in for a ride of a lifetime with a Scott Dunn holiday, pairing exciting explorations with the luxury and comfort you deserve. Your Canada bear watching holidays will surely be filled with breathtaking sights, exciting adventures, and memories that will linger long after you've returned home.

Visit Canada 

In Canada's vast, varied, and verdant landscapes, bear watching stands as a truly unmatched adventure. From the rugged backcountry, where the mighty grizzlies roam, to the pristine Arctic, home to the polar bears, Canada presents a world of opportunities for those eager to behold the majesty of these incredible creatures in their natural habitats.

Picture yourself bear watching in Canada from a secure and luxurious setting, observing the powerful brown bears in Canada as they traverse the wild, picturesque landscapes. Canada bear watching with Scott Dunn guarantees an unparalleled experience of comfort, luxury, and exhilaration. Contact us today to start planning your custom holiday.

Call us on 020 3918 9367 to start planning your holiday

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