Bear Viewing at Nimmo Bay

bears of the Great Bear Rainforest

Nimmo Bay offers more than just a luxurious retreat in the wilds of British Columbia. Nestled within the breathtaking landscape of the Great Bear Rainforest, we are a prime destination for wildlife enthusiasts. From the nuances of breeding season to thrilling fall salmon feasts, guests of Nimmo Bay have a front row seat into the lives of these large animals. Choosing to come to the resort, you’ll get a personalized adventure that balances your dreams of bear watching, while respecting the wildlife.

bears of the Great Bear Rainforest

Hibernation on the West Coast

Bear hibernation is an incredible natural phenomenon that varies from region to region. Bears adapt based on the unique environmental conditions they live in. As the lush temperate rainforests of British Columbia’s coast transform into a wet winter wonderland, black bears and grizzlies seek refuge in their dens. Though it may come as a surprise, coastal bears do not go into true hibernation. Unlike smaller animals in harsher climates, the bears of the west coast experience a milder form of winter sleep, known as torpor. During this period, their heart and breath rates decrease, allowing them to conserve energy without the need for a deep, sustained slumber. At any point, they can wake themselves if they feel threatened, or even to give birth.

This adaptation is critical to their survival, allowing them to conserve energy during the winter months. They’ll be ready to emerge from their dens with vigor when the coastal landscape awakens with the promise of spring. The landscape surrounding Nimmo Bay plays a pivotal role in supporting bears through their winter slow-down. The rainforest overflows with lush vegetation and nutrient-rich salmon streams. With such a rich ecosystem, ripe with food, this makes for perfect bear viewing opportunities.

Bear cub

Breeding Season

Witnessing bears during breeding season is captivating. These encounters showcase the typically solitary bears meeting in a rare moment of social interaction. You’ll have a front-row seat to bear behaviour seen only in the most remote locations. It’s important to remember that these mating displays are incredibly sensitive. The expertise that the guides at Nimmo Bay bring to the table ensures that each observation of these animals is done in a respectful manner.

Breeding season typically occurs in the late spring to early summer months; it’s known as the rut. To catch the attention of the female sows, male bears, or boars, showcase their strength. They perform vocalizations, physical displays, and occasional confrontations with rival males. The competition for mating rights can be intense, these are large animals. Breeding with the strongest and largest males is crucial for maintaining a robust bear population and ensuring broad genetic diversity.

Although rare to witness, this short season offers observers a unique glimpse into the complex and captivating dynamics of bear behaviour in the pristine wilderness of the Great Bear Rainforest.

Great Bear Rainforest - Bears


Bear gestation is a highly strategic marvel of biological adaptation. Unlike many mammals, sows experience a unique reproductive phenomenon called delayed implantation. After mating in the spring, the fertilized egg remains in a suspended state, delaying implantation in the uterus until the fall. This purposeful delay ensures that bear cubs are born during the winter denning period when the sow is in a safe and protected environment. Depending on the weight she gains during the height of foraging season, she’ll be able to support more cubs. So, the delay also means her body adjusts the number of eggs implanted based on that pre-torpor feeding success.

BEar hunting for food

What do Bears Eat

In the spring, bears have a voracious appetite and spend hours on the shoreline feasting on sedges, shore crabs, and other shellfish. This is one of the seasons when you get the best viewing opportunities at Nimmo Bay! Spotting bears from a boat, kayak, or paddle board can be a relaxing experience as the bears typically do not feel threatened from the water. Our guests are able to enjoy leisurely viewing from a safe distance without disrupting the bears’ spring banquet. 

As we move into the summer months, bears start to diversify their diets. They’ll incorporate a medley of berries, plants, and insects into their daily meals. Moving into late summer and fall, the salmon come back to the river systems. This massive influx of food helps to prepare the bears for the impending winter months. Bears head toward the rivers and capitalize on the spawning salmon. Gorging on salmon, the bears stock up fat stores in their bodies to sustain them throughout the winter months.  This seasonal variation in diet goes to show just how adaptable these bears are. Their wide range of feeding habits also greatly shape the ecosystem of the Great Bear Rainforest. With these facts in mind, each month at Nimmo Bay offers a different and interesting bear viewing experience.

Bear viewing at Nimmo Bay

Bear viewing at Nimmo Bay

Our world-class service extends beyond the confines of the resort, delving deep into the heart of bear country. Imagine embarking on a personalized experience with a Commercial Bear Viewing Association certified guide. You’ll learn fascinating facts and secrets about diets, behaviour, hibernation and how bears navigate the seasons.

At Nimmo Bay, we make sure that you have the opportunity to view bears from a respectful distance. From the water or from the air, our professional bear viewing guides will tailor the experience to suit your preferences and abilities, while keeping the bears’ health in mind. Our viewing practices always align with sustainable tourism practices. We value contributing to the long-term conservation of these majestic mammals in the Great Bear Rainforest.

Your bear discovery journey is sure to become an unforgettable adventure. You’ll connect with our guides who share a deep passion for wildlife and their wellbeing. Along the way, you will learn how to respect the delicate balance of nature while on these excursions. This isn’t just a vacation; it’s a deep dive into the wonders that make the Great Bear Rainforest a truly exceptional destination.

Bear Watching at Nimmo Bay

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