We visited Blue River on the way south from Valemount and after missing out on any bear sightings around the parks decided to take a punt on this after reading some good reviews here. It's superbly well marked on the route south, so you should find it easy enough, and true to their adverts we didn't reserve or book a place. In fact in the end we did the jeep safari as well as the river safari, going up the mountain on the jeep first after a short 25 min wait. The waiting was fine, they have a cafe on site and it was a glorious sunny afternoon.
Jeep Safari: I personally enjoyed the ride, it's not a mad dash up the hill, it's carefully driven both for passenger and vehicle safety. Our guide Casey was very good, giving us plenty of time to look around at the various stops and explaining about the environment and answering our other questions as well as introducing us to one of the bears favourite snacks the thimble berry. We didn't soot any wildlife, but I had expected that as the tour was in mid afternoon which is usually the worst time to see anything, but we still enjoyed the drive and I enjoyed standing up in the back. There was just my wife and two others so it felt very nice and personal.
River Safari: Well the river safari on a jet boat certainly exceeded our hopes. The boat is very stable and comfortable, and we didn't get wet at all and I noticed blankets were available should anyone get chilly, not that there was much risk of that with the mini heat wave we were in the middle of. I was desperately hoping to see a bear, but ready to be disappointed due to the time of day. However within five mins of getting to the lake we saw the first of three bears we were going to see, she was casually rooting around on the shore, happy that we were so close in fact barely even looked up (the boats have super quiet electric motors to allow them to get in close). We followed her till she returned to the forest and continued to look around, our guide kept in contact with the other boats so we were able to get up to the next bears too, plus we found a lovely eagle and other birds such as ducks and woodpeckers. We also got taken to see a local waterfall just a few minutes walk inland. It was a fabulous trip and we thoroughly enjoyed it, very much enhanced by our guide.
I think it is worth noting that for both the jeep and river safaris although they were sold as 1hr trips we were there on the site for over four hours as neither trip was less than 80 mins due to both guides being so keen on ensuring we had a great time. I can heartily recommend this attraction, although some may not get us much out of the jeep safari as the river safari. I know that both my wife and I would take a significant side trip to visit here again, thanks to the superb service and guides we received.
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