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“dream fulfilled”

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Grizzly Bear Lodge & Safari
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 20 September 2011

having been planning this trip for a few years i was ready for a let down----far from it.
my mindset from the beginning was that this trip was not to a zoo or organised safari trip,if no bears, whales dolphins turned up,so be it,i would just have to come back another year,i feel for the previous reviewer,but i was under no illusion as to what might happen,
i consider that we were very lucky,we saw plenty of bears whales etc.etc.that i feel was down to the expertise of our guides George and Cam,they really new what they were doing our hats go off to them
if i ever did this trip again it would be through Sailcone,they have got it right,superb food(son put on a stone in weight)wonderful location and a superb team that are on top of there game
still cannot get over the superb quality and quantity of food that was put in front of us every day
the atmosphere generated by angus and co put all of us at ease maybe we were lucky.
all in all the trip for me was something i dont think i can ever repeat.
even our fellow guests Phill,Claudia, Nancy and Al,seemed just right,perfect company for a perfect say
my advice to anybody making a trip like this is to make a nuisance of youself before you go. ask questions

  • Stayed: September 2011, travelled with family
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4  Thank derekrawlins
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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70 - 76 of 85 reviews

Reviewed 24 August 2011


I hate writing this review because I loved the people at the lodge. But the website is very misleading and I feel my responsibility is to avoid having other people waste thousands of dollars. The website says: “Grizzly Bear Lodge Tours and Safari is one of only two grizzly bear tour operators licensed to view grizzlies upriver from Knight Inlet. This provides our guests with a rare opportunity to watch the grizzlies close up feeding on salmon. Photographers and camera buffs can get close up to view bears fishing and interacting.”

And that’s why I went. I’ve seen grizzlies walking around in Yellowstone. I wanted to photograph bears feeding on salmon.

We scheduled our vacations around the trip. We asked about the best time to go and were directed to this week. We waited a year for it. At first, I thought perhaps that Christy and Angus didn’t know when the platform would be unavailable. However, it is never available before August 25th.

They knew we would never see bears eating salmon.

Bears eat salmons in rivers. We were never in a boat that would get to a river. Bears eat salmon in shallow water. We were never on shore. We were in boats that navigated the entire inlet. It is impossible to see bears eating salmon on the beach. There, they eat grass.

We paid extra and booked a river trip. But not on the river where the bears eat the salmon and the viewing stands are. It turns out we went to an unused viewing stand and sat for two hours seeing absolutely nothing. I had thought that we would take a boat up a river and see bears eating salmon. Of course, I realize now they couldn't do that.. The entire day I took a picture of a stellar jay. That was what my extra money bought us. What a terrible disappointment.

I hate writing this review. We had a great time with the whales -- my pictures show you that we saw a whale 15 feet from the boat rise up for a herring ball. The people were nice and the setting was great.

If I’d wanted to see bears eating grass, I’d be fine but I came to this place because I understood we would see “grizzlies close up feeding on salmon.” It was not until the last day that I realized that it was impossible to see that from their boats. The entire website is misleading.

Other people may have been there just to see a bear. We didn't see any grizzlies but if we had, it would have been eating grass -- not salmon. We saw some black bears eating grass. That was interesting but not the reason I was on this trip.

I hate writing this review because I loved the people there. But I came to see bears eating salmon and it would never happen before August 25th because the boats don’t go up the river.

I feel cheated. Don’t waste your money.

  • Stayed: August 2011, travelled as a couple
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19  Thank Silbermanlaw
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 7 August 2011

Seeing grizzlies in the wild was one thing I absolutely had to do before leaving Canada, and choosing Sailcone Lodge out of all of the options online was the best thing I could have done! The first thing is that the service is very personalised as they only take small groups. There were only three of us on the tour I went on.
There are so many aspects to the place, but I have to start with the actual tour experiences, which I believe can vary depending on how long you stay. I stayed three nights on the island, and the first day we went up Knight Inlet to view grizzlies from the boat. It was absolutely amazing! We watched a Momma bear and two cubs for hours, even while having lunch! The next day we got to go up Thompson Sound and tried to see bears on the ground. Unfortunately there was no luck, but we did see black bears, and got to walk around the rainforest a bit which was a great experience. We also saw old beaver dams, as well as eagles. The third day was our whale watching day, and this was the day we realised the extent Angus will go to to make sure his guests get the experience they are there for. We travelled a bit further away than usual to where he had heard about a pod of Orcas, and there was no disappointment! We were also lucky enough to see a humpback on the way there and back! Overall, a tiring but exhilerating experience.
So the lodge itself is on on Minstrel Island, and so remote, you have to get there by boat or floatplane, and there is nothing but nature to bother you. Even though it was raining when I arrived, it was just stunning. The lodge is cozy with only 4 rooms, and each room gets it's own bathroom. There is a huge kitchen and lovely dining and sitting areas. There is also a cabin which can be booked, with it's own bathroom, but you need to walk up to the main lodge for meals. As remote as the place is, it is fully equipped with all your usual hotel luxuries - fluffy towels, hairdryer etc - with the addition of a view!
Also despite the remoteness, the food is definitely five star! Breakfast is a do-it-yourself affair with cereals, breads, fruit, yogurt, coffee, tea etc all laid out on the table and you eat what you like. Lunches are all packed in a cooler and vary each day - soups, salads, wraps or the like with additional veggie sticks, cheeses, drinks and always sweets such as homemade cookies or brownies. Dinners are in the lodge dining room, served with wine, and are three courses - salad or soup, followed by anything from roast beef to pasta, followed by coffee or tea and either cake or some other dessert. Absolutely heavenly!
I'd also like to add that this is a family owned and run operation, and meeting John and Kathy who owned it until recently was fantastic. They are all very experienced and hospitable people, and have obviously handed more than just a business down to their son. Angus and his wife Krystal, along with their little girl were always engaging, and really do love what they do and where they live.

Room Tip: I had the room upstairs at the front of the house, and the bathroom had a lovely view... If you want...
See more room tips
  • Stayed: July 2011, travelled solo
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4  Thank beingde
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 23 July 2011

I booked the 4 nights/5 days package at Grizzly Bear/Sailcone Lodge as a present for my wife for our wedding anniversary. The stay surpassed all our expectations... We arrived to the lodge via a seaplane, and once landed we realised how remote this place is - one cannot hear but the sound of nature - yet the owners/team made sure that all the services provided by a typical hotel are available at the lodge... at the time where no cellphone network is attainable, the lodge still provides you with Internet access!!!

Angus and Glen are resourceful guides and know the area extremely well. Although we got few days of extreme weather conditions, they still went the extra mile of taking us to valuable wildlife spots, sighthings included: black bears, grizzly bears, dolphins, porpoises, killer whales, humpback whales, bald eagles, seals, sea lions, etc... Lovely Humming birds were flying around the lodge windows...
And the food... Ah! Delicious! Looks like a home cooked food and tastes as prepared by award winning chefs...
Great thanks to John, kathy, Angus and Glen for a warm stay and unforgettable adventure... Would definitely recommend it and would come back on my next visit to Canada/British columbia!

  • Stayed: July 2011
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2  Thank SamerD
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 3 March 2010

We had a great time. Caught very good salmon, saw whales and bears. Food tremendous. The guides were great. The day with Trapper Rick was truly memorable.

  • Stayed: August 2007, travelled with family
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2  Thank BLSSurrey
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 15 January 2010

Our stay at Grizzly Bear Lodge exceeded all of our expectations and the visit proved to be the absolute trip of a lifetime. The bear viewing opportunities were truly amazing, and there was so much additional quality wildlife to see. The remote picturesque setting of Grizzly Bear Lodge on Minstrel Island in Knight Inlet fjord was also stunning.

Grizzly Bear Lodge is unquestionably the best located of all of the bear viewing lodges on the West Coast of British Columbia because its central location enables you to travel up Knight Inlet by boat to see the grizzlies, down the inlet to Johnstone Strait to see all of the marine mammals, and to go on the unique wilderness experience up the Kalweiken River to meet Trapper Rick!

Knight Inlet is home to many, many bears that are attracted to the area by the hundreds of thousands of salmon that come here every year to spawn. Grizzly Bear Lodge has, with only one other operator, exclusive use of an area with special strategically located viewing stands that let you get up close to the grizzlies. From here you can watch the bears catching the salmon and feeding on them, before they go to hibernate for the winter. It is a photographer’s dream.

There is also an abundance of other wildlife viewing opportunites that includes Black Bears, Humpback Whales, Orcas (Killer Whales), Pacific White Sided Dolphins, Stellar Sea Lions, Harbour Seals and Bald Eagles.

Knight Inlet, which is Canada’s longest fjord, is 60 miles long. It is a spectacularly three dimensional setting with high mountains, extensive forests, crystal clear waters, bright blue skies with lots of pure fresh air.

Part of the charm of Knight Inlet and Grizzly Bear Lodge is that they are totally isolated and can only be accessed by seaplane from Campbell River on Vancouver Island. The stunning trip over the lakes and mountains of Western British Columbia takes around 45 minutes.

Grizzly Bear Lodge is situated at the water’s edge on Minstrel Island and is delightfully rustic. It only accommodates up to 10 guests so the service is very personal, the ambiance is relaxed and friendly, it is spotless, comfortably furnished, and the food is great. All under the watchful eye of Madeleine who is ably assisted by Clint.

Other than the grizzlies, probably the most critical element in making this trip such a success was the exceptional guides, Glen, George and Ed. All three are very professional, extremely knowledgeable, sensitive to the wildlife and their environment, friendly and helpful. Again the service is very personalised with only three or four guests going with a guide on each trip. All wet weather / safety gear is provided.

While staying at Grizzly Bear Lodge you have an opportunity to enjoy a unique wilderness experience with “Trapper Rick” who lives alone in a very remote area of the forest on the Kakweiken River and our fascinating day with Rick in the backwoods let us see just how a trapper lives. The highlight was when an enormous male grizzly charged out of the forest some 50 yards in front of us and we then trailed him for over a mile before he disappeared again.

A typical day comprises of up at 06:30 for breakfast at 07:00; off on the water to our destination with our guide at 07:30; a delicious picnic lunch after the morning’s activities at 13:00; an active afternoon and then back to the Lodge around 17:00; time for a cold beer or two on the deck; then dinner with the other guests and the guides around 18:30.

We specifically went in September as we wanted to view the grizzlies feeding on the salmon at spawning time but visitors in the Spring and Summer have the opportunity to see the bears with their new born cubs feeding on the berries and sedge grasses in the coastal areas of the fjord.

Grizzly Bear Lodge offers a variety of packages and we opted for their 4 day / 4 night trip which involves arriving by floatplane in the afternoon on day 1, spending three nights at the lodge, then returning to Campbell River late afternoon on day 4. For our purposes, this proved to be a perfect length of stay.

While recognising that the cost of the trip was not insignificant, we thought that it represented excellent value for money. This was particularly so when you compared it with the quote that we had received for staying at the other lodge further up the inlet.

We really had the trip of a lifetime and cannot thank the Madelaine and her team at Grizzly Bear Lodge enough for “making it happen”.

  • Stayed: September 2009, travelled as a couple
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4  Thank JamesScot
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 14 January 2010

If you seek the ultimate experience in Bear & Whale watching (& love bald eagles) ... this is the place to be. My first visit was three years ago & have been every year since! Until you are travelling to the island on the float plane it's hard to imagine how remote it is, or how beautiful. Met by the guides on arrival, the gourmet cooking begins, with fresh crab & prawns, caught just by the lodge. Within 24 hours of being at the lodge all the worries of the world disappear as your biggest concern is ...... "am I seeing whales or bears tomorrow?" - which ever it is you WILL see them. I have turned some of my photos into canvas art, which I have on the walls at home - my friends are astounded at the pictures I have shown them & can't quite believe I have been this close to these fabulous animals - but I would recommend a balance between photography & watching, you can miss so much trying to catch the perfect picture whilst looking through the lens. The highlight for me in 2009 was seeing a Humpback breach .......... it's like being in a wildlife documentary! The staff at the Lodge are OUTSTANDING & attend to your every need.

For anyone considering any trip in this area .............. this is the place to go!!!!!!!!!!

  • Stayed: September 2009, travelled with family
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4  Thank CabinCrazy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Grizzly Bear Lodge & Safari

Address: Knight Inlet | Johnstone Strait, British Columbia V9N 8Z9, Canada
Phone Number:
Region: Canada > British Columbia
Beach Free Breakfast Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Suites Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #48 of 1,402 Speciality Lodging in British Columbia
Number of rooms: 5
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Sailcone's Grizzly Bear Tours, Lodge and Safari offers grizzly tours and grizzly bear watching from viewing stands and wildlife tours for black bears, killer whales (orca) humpback whales, dolphins, stellar seals, sea lions, black bears and eagles. Our grizzly bear tours are conducted on Canada's famous natural fjord known as 'Knight Inlet BC' and on the salmon rivers that flow into Knight Inlet. ... more   less 

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