About the Great Bears of Bute

Now booking for 2022!

χawgəs, the Grizzly Bear, knows that around mid-August the annual salmon run begins in Orford Bay on the edge of the Great Bear Rainforest. Bears journey long distances to Algard Creek and the Orford River to feast on the spawning salmon and their eggs. It’s part of a quest to fatten up before a long winter hibernation. In doing so, they continue a cycle that has taken place for millennia on the traditional territory of the Homalco First Nation people. Be our guest as we enter their world.

Join your Indigenous guide in Campbell River to begin an exciting full-day tour that typically takes place aboard our new, custom-designed tour boats. The 12 passenger Homalco Tour vessels are unlike any other providing 12 comfort seats inside the cabin and 12 adventure seats outside the front deck. Our landing craft design provides options for guests with TWO seats for every passenger! The seating flexibility also delivers unmatched COVID-friendly spacing opportunities for added safety while on-board.

This exciting full day tour begins with a 2-hour journey through the Salish sea and lands of the First Peoples into Bute Inlet. We’ll engage in respectful wildlife viewing while you discover the people, land, and waters of this truly spectacular part of Canada. The abundance of marine wildlife provides chances to observe whales, sea lions, dolphins, bald eagles and a variety of colourful sea birds.

Your arrival in Orford Bay begins a 3-hour land experience. Guides will transport you by bus to a variety of raised wildlife viewing platforms and prime ground viewing locations to look for the magnificent χawgəs (grizzly bear).

Along the way, guides will share knowledge about the bears, salmon, Homalco people and their ties to the land. You’ll learn about the significance of our Nation-run salmon enhancement hatchery and have a chance to visit the small gift shop. Lunch will be served on the boat in Orford Bay with an unobstructed view of the estuary and its spectacular mountain surroundings. Perhaps χawgəs will make one last appearance before your return journey back to Campbell River.

Why Choose Us?

Homalco Wildlife & Cultural Tours is owned by the Homalco First Nation and the land you will visit is the traditional territory of Homalco First Peoples. We have been providing visitors with bear viewing experiences for two decades. The Great Bears of Bute experience includes both a skipper and an Indigenous guide onboard to provide a full First Nation experience right from Campbell River.


Book your tour online today!

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Tour Details

  • 12 guests maximum per day
  • Approximately 9 hour tour including boat trip to and from Orford Bay with timing dependent on weather and viewing options
  • Lunch, snacks, and beverages are included - Lunch is tailored to your dietary restrictions
  • Heated and covered boat
  • Toilet facilities available on boat
  • Minimum age is 10 years old (all passengers aged 10 to 17 yrs. of age must be accompanied by an adult 18+)
  • Cancel up to 48 hours prior to tour date for full refund, less than 48 hours is non-refundable
  • Start time: Between 7:00am and 7:30am depending on seasonal time change

What to Bring

  • Durable shoes
  • Warm layered clothing and rain gear
  • Hat (toque, beanie, sunhat)
  • Insect Repellent
  • Camera - Tripods and Monopods restricted
  • Binoculars
  • Curiosity

An Amazing Experience

What an amazing experience and all credit to the Homalco First Nation and their outstanding stewardship of this area and its natural resources. Encounters were plentiful and truly spectacular.

Jonathan M TripAdvisor.com

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What People Are Saying On TripAdvisor

An Amazing Experience

What an amazing experience and all credit to the Homalco First Nation and their outstanding stewardship of this area and its natural resources. Encounters were plentiful and truly spectacular.

Jonathan M TripAdvisor.com

An Experience I Won't Forget

Everything about this tour seriously surpassed expectations. The scenery of the location where you visit is something on its own. It's worth going just for that. It is an experience I won't ever forget. Thank-you so much for allowing us a glimpse into your incredible world!

Sophie C TripAdvisor.com

Trip of a Lifetime

This is the trip of a lifetime. Along the way we saw humpback whales, seals, sealions, bald eagles and grizzly bears! The tour was fantastic, all of the tour leaders were great and extremely knowledgable.

Diane S TripAdvisor.com

Deposits & Conservation Fee


  1. When booking – we only take a small deposit of $20 per person
  2. 30 days before tour – full payment is due and we will send you a payment request

A friendly reminder that payment requests will be sent out via email, be sure to check your junk folder, just in case! 

You can cancel at any time up to 48 hours before your scheduled tour for a FULL refund. Stress free!

A $17 per guest Conservation Fee will be applied during the booking process. The conservation fee supports the Homalco fish hatchery, in Orford Bay, in rebuilding native wild salmon populations to enhance healthy bear habitat, while also protecting the indigenous roots, culture and food source of the Homalco First Nation.


Authorized Tour Operators

You can also book an Orford Bears experience by contacting any of our Authorized Tour Partners.