About the Great Bears of Bute

COVID-19 UPDATE:  Unfortunately all regular 2020 tours have been cancelled, but 2021 tours are available for booking. Thank you and stay safe.

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 Algaard 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 begins with a 2-hour journey through the Salish Sea and lands of 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 many chances to observe humpback whales, sea lions, orcas (killer whales), dolphins, plus bald eagles and a variety of colourful sea birds.

Your arrival at the dock 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, elk, bald eagles, and more. Please keep in mind that grizzlies are wild creatures that come and go as they please, and while we cannot guarantee bear sightings, seeing several bears is common.

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 it’s spectacular mountain surroundings. Perhaps χawgəs will make one last appearance before you return 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 over 15 years. The Great Bears of Bute experience is the only tour with both a skipper and a Homalco guide onboard to provide a full First Nation experience interpretation right from Campbell River.

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Tour Details

  • Only 12 guests maximum per day
  • 7 to 8 hour tour including boat trip to and from Orford Bay
  • 7:30 am check-in (8:00 am in October)
  • Lunch & refreshments provided
  • Heated and covered boat
  • Washroom facilities available on boat and at Orford Bay
  • Minimum age is 10 years old
  • Cancel up to 14 days prior to tour date for full refund. Fees apply with less than 14 days notice.

What to Bring

  • Durable shoes
  • Warm layered clothing and rain gear
  • Camera
  • 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

Book Your Tour Now

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. 60 days before tour – a 50% deposit is applied for the entire tour
  3. 14 days before tour – the remaining balance is charged

A friendly reminder for balances due will be sent out via email, Be sure to check your junk folder, just in case

You can cancel your tour at any time up to 14 days before for a FULL refund. Stress free!

A $17 per guest Conservation Fee will be applied during the booking process. The conservation fee supports the Orford fish hatchery 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.

Adventure Quest Tours Canada

We are a family run company that believes in conservation and stewardship and use the highest standards for viewing our wildlife

[email protected] 1.855.659.2327

Big Animal Encounters

With 24 years of exploring BC’s rugged coastline the professional & experienced crew welcome you for an ocean adventure memory of a lifetime

[email protected] 1.250.914.3483

Campbell River Whale Watching

Campbell River Whale Watching is devoted to your once-in-a-lifetime experience viewing wildlife in an educational and sustainable manner

[email protected]

Sonora Resort

The ultimate in wilderness luxury. Uncompromising eco-adventures meets luxurious accommodations, unparalleled service & five star facilities

[email protected] 1.888.576.6672

Homalco Wildlife & Cultural Tours

A First Nations tour company sharing immersive Wildlife & Indigenous experiences on traditional lands bordering the Great Bear Rainforest

[email protected] 1.250.923.0602

Discovery Marine Safaris

Your adventure is our passion! Promoting responsible wildlife viewing and awareness with true educational merit

[email protected]