Trip Departure/Conclusion Point: Prince Rupert, British Columbia, Canada
I am thrilled to announce my latest spring grizzly bear photography tours in May 2023 to the northern reaches of British Columbia’s beautiful Great Bear Rainforest, including four full days in the world famous Khutzeymateen Grizzly Bear Sanctuary on each tour. The 8-day trip includes a 6-hour exploratory journey up the coast north of Prince Rupert to the Khutzeymateen and the neighbouring wilderness conservancies. On the longer tour, we spend 2.5 days looking for wolves and bears north of the Khutzeymateen, then move into the Khutzeymateen for the final four full days. On the shorter tour, we go straight into the Khutzeymateen and spend the entire trip there. On both trips, we spend the majority of our time searching for grizzly bears, black bears, wolves and other wildlife amid the magnificent coastal scenery of the Great Bear Rainforest. On the longer trip, participants may also see humpback whales, sea lions or orcas.
The lush, green Great Bear Rainforest is a globally-unique wilderness treasure — the planet’s last remaining intact coastal temperate rainforest. Located on the northern BC coast, it includes Canada’s only grizzly bear sanctuary, the Khutzeymateen. Participants on this trip will be one of less than 400 people annually who are gifted with the intense and intimate experience of sharing in the rich and diverse lives of the grizzlies of the Khutzeymateen.
This is a unique, one-of-a-kind trip that is only offered by Canadian Wildlife Photography Tours aboard the AfterGlow (the boat that I will also be aboard this year for my trip to the Great Bear Rainforest in September in search of spirit bears). In 2012 we saw more than 20 different grizzly bears in a wide variety of habitats and we also had three wonderful wolf sightings, while 2013 saw us photographing 17 different grizzlies and 3 black bears. 2014 was another banner year as we photographed 18 different grizzly bears, 2 wolves, 1 mink, 3 humpback whales, and a group of sea lions! And 2015 didn’t let us down, either, as we saw 21 different grizzlies, including Frank the Tank, and had 2 different wolf sightings. 2016 had us photographing 22 different grizzlies and we had two more great wolf encounters. In 2017, we saw 15 different grizzlies and had a whopping five wolf encounters! In 2018, my first year offering two different trips, we had four huge male grizzlies present for most of the eleven days, along with 15 other bears. And finally, when we were able to return the Khutzeymateen post-covid in 2022, we had 19 different grizzlies and had four wonderful wolf encounters, two on each trip!
The longer trip includes three days along the coast from Prince Rupert into Khutzeymateen Inlet, exploring and searching for wildlife along the way. We will explore old-growth forests, inlets, bays, rivers, and estuaries in search of bears and wolves. We may also find orcas, humpback whales, pacific white-sided dolphins, river otters, swans, and mink along our journey north.
The final four days of each trip will be spent in the Khutzeymateen Grizzly Bear Sanctuary, where you can expect to photograph and observe grizzlies from the zodiac and on foot at extremely close range (some of the photos shown on this page were taken with a 70-200mm lens) with a seasoned bear viewing guide. These are the first two trips of the season into the Khutzeymateen, so participants will be the first to see the bears as they emerge from hibernation and make their way into the quickly greening estuary.
The AfterGlow was chosen for this trip because the boat and crew have the reputation of being the best at what they do when it comes to operating ethical wildlife photography trips on the B.C. Coast. You can expect professional service, superb guiding, good food, and clean, comfortable quarters. We will use the boat as a base, and a motorized inflatable to transfer people between the boat and the shore, as we explore one of the last great temperate rainforests in the world.
Expect this to be a unique and exciting photo tour that will challenge every skill you have as a wildlife photographer. You will likely shoot hand-held or from a monopod in a wide variety of situations and weather conditions.
Itinerary of Longer Trip
This itinerary is a sample only – the exact itinerary of our trip will be dictated by factors such as weather, tides, and photo opportunities, with the crew working within the parameters of safety, time, and the highlights of the area.
Participants will be expected to arrive in Prince Rupert on May 9th prepared for an early morning departure on the 10th.
The first three days will be spent traveling north towards and beyond Khutzeymateen Inlet, exploring the Great Bear Rainforest and enjoying the splendor of the surrounding area. Opportunities for wildlife viewing and photography will occur on each day; however, please be aware that the weather conditions and the location of wildlife will dictate the frequency of such activities.
The final four full days will be spent in the Khutzeymateen Grizzly Bear Sanctuary focusing on photographing grizzly bears (though there may be lots of opportunities to photograph grizzlies in the days prior, this will be the primary focus of the final four days). After breakfast on the morning of the 17th, we’ll depart the AfterGlow aboard a float plane for our short trip back to Prince Rupert, where the trip will conclude.
This trip requires a moderate level of fitness and will involve a bit of walking and hiking on uneven and wet terrain. Participants should be mobile enough to climb ladders and get in and out of a zodiac. Weather conditions may be variable and participants must be prepared for adverse weather including torrential rain and cold spring temperatures. Although conditions may be difficult at times, the rewards are worth it, as you become part of just a small percentage of people who have explored the wonders of the Khutzeymateen Grizzly Bear Sanctuary and the Great Bear Rainforest!
Maximum six participants (plus your trip leader, Colleen Gara).
The Khutzeymateen Spring Grizzly Bear Photography Price includes the float plane trip from the AfterGlow back to Prince Rupert on the 17th (and the float plane trip into the Khutzeymateen on the 17th and out on the 21st for the shorter tour). It also includes accommodation and dinner in Prince Rupert prior to the start of the trip on the 9th and accommodation prior to the trip on the 16th.
All Canadian Wildlife Photography Tours are non-smoking tours. Participants will be required to sign waivers, accept Terms and Conditions, review our Covid policy working document, and provide proof of vaccination.
Please note that a $1250 non-refundable deposit via cheque or email bank transfer is required to reserve your spot on a Khutzeymateen Grizzly Bear Photography Tour. The balance owing, including gst, is due 120 days prior to your trip departure and is also non-refundable; however, upon cancellation, this balance owing may be transferred to another workshop or tour if John is able to fill your spot. We highly recommend all workshop and tour participants purchase independent trip cancellation insurance to protect against unforeseen circumstances.