Bear watching activities


There are bear enthusiasts out there who want nothing more in life than to spend three nights in a bear hide, watching these extraordinary creatures in action. Or five days at sea observing polar bears devouring seals, with five nights devouring knowledge from expert lecturers and exchanging bear knowledge.

However, if that is all a bit too intense for you and you would like to find a few other ways to immerse yourself in the wonders of these wild places, bear with…
Hiking in national parks
Katmai National Park in Alaska, Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming and Pacific Rim National Park in British Columbia all have bear populations, but also have impressive hiking trails. Like all North American national parks. Consider extending your wildlife vacation for a few days of hiking in these wild places. Be bear aware though.
Northern lights
It might be just too much excitement in one day for some people, seeing polar bears by day and the Northern Lights by night. Thrill seekers should head to Churchill, Canada, as the best time to see polar bears here is Oct/Nov, when the light shows kick in too.
Whale watching
Humpbacks and grey whales in British Columbia’s Pacific Rim National Park, orcas off Vancouver Island, beluga whales off Churchill, Manitoba are all en route for bear watchers. In these areas, a day of whale watching is usually included in a tour operator’s itinerary, depending on the season. And if it isn’t, it is worth enquiring about.

Tips for other activities

responsible travel asks the experts

Catherine Mack, author of our in depth guide to US National Parks:
"If you are going all the way to Yellowstone National Park to see bears, take time do a few days’ hiking as well. There are over 1,500km of excellent walking trails in the park and even though this, the first national park in the world, is very famous, it’s actually less crowded than some because it is harder to get to. After your bear watching vacation, you will be well briefed by on how to act safely when there are bears around, so you can walk with confidence and know how to stick to the safety rules".
Roy Atkins, naturalist and expert guide at our supplier Speyside Wildlife, which specialises in bear watching in Canada, Finland, Spain and Yellowstone National Park:

“There is so much wildlife to see on our bear watching trips. In British Columbia, for example, we include whale-watching for humpbacks, grey and killer whales plus boat trips for sea otters. There are also raccoons, deer, beavers and lots of great birds too. There is always lots of other wildlife on all our trips”.
Photo credits: [polar bear: Polar Cruises] [Hiking: Yellowstone National Park] [Bald Eagle: Yellowstone National Park]
Written by Catherine Mack
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