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“A very special place”
Review of Grizzly Bear Ranch

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Grizzly Bear Ranch
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersPlatinum level
Christchurch, New Zealand
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
“A very special place”
Reviewed October 24, 2013

My trip to Grizzly Bear Ranch was the highlight of my trip to Canada and was very special and in memory of my sister who wanted to "see the bears catch salmon", but unfortunately passed away before she was able to go. Julius and Kristin are the most gracious of hosts and the well-being and safety of the guests is of the highest priority. Our guides Matt and Lily were wonderful ambassadors for Canada; patient, lovely sense of humour and very knowledgeable. Early morning cups of coffee followed by a drive to see the animals and the environment - and we always did see something exciting; bald headed eagle, coyote catching fish and yes, bears catching salmon! It was so lovely to see the animals in their natural habitat and all credit to Julius and Kristin for being so passionate about conservation and their little patch of heaven and teaching us so much about the bears and their behaviour. The days were full and well organised with a pleasing variety of activities. Meals were wonderful - thank you Kristin! And thank you Julius for allowing me to name one of the young bears after my sister. I will always remember this beautiful place and holiday with a smile in my heart. Would love to go back again some day.

  • Stayed October 2013, traveled solo
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6 Thank Vilna2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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  • English first
  • German first
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English first
Great Eccleston, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
7 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
Reviewed October 22, 2013

We first found Grizzly Bear Ranch on the internet a few years ago while planning a previous Canadian road trip, but it didn’t fit with our planned itinerary that year and we visited one of the coastal BC bear viewing operations. When planning for this year we decided to make GBR the big event, timed for the salmon run as best we could.

It would be so easy to just say everything that has been written before is true and leave it at that, but that wouldn’t do justice to Julius, Kristin and their team (although it would also be so very accurate) who all really deserve to be praised for their achievements.

The GBR experience begins with a night at the Kaslo Hotel with evening meal and breakfast at a diner across the street. And what a beginning this can be, our first floor room with balcony had a great vista up Kootenay Lake and was extremely well equipped and comfortable. After breakfast the following morning Julius introduced the group and gave an introductory chat about bears and the area – then it was off to GBR! The next 3 days are filled with river rafting, rambling and exploring in 4x4’s looking for bears and the other wildlife. That single sentence doesn’t even begin to do justice to Julius’ deep passion for the environment he has chosen to live within, the skills and knowledge of his guides (Lily and Matt), Kristin’s wonderful food that greats your return from each trip out and the extremely high standard cabins (we stayed in the Volga cabin which is right on the river’s edge, with great views up and downstream from the veranda and balcony off the bedroom).

Enough of the tangible elements though, as GBR is about much more than the physical. It is about the chance to share with other visitors the excitement of the first bear sighting, it is about being enveloped by the gentle ambiance of one of the few truly wild (and in some places unshaped by human hands, such as remaining areas of old growth forest) places left in the developed world, it is about seeing how a diverse ecosystem still persists despite human intervention. Words can’t describe how surreal it seems when looking out of your cabin window you see a mother grizzly gently moving her 3 cubs along the opposite river bank and your mind just accepts the scene without question as nothing out of the ordinary, it is just right.

We are in the position to be able to compare GBR with another Grizzly viewing destination in the coastal rainforest, while trying to be subjective having seen bears at GBR and not on the coast! (It is unfair to compare on this basis, as we were on the coast mid-year which isn’t such a good time and you have to be aware with all these locations that bear sightings are never guaranteed – the wilderness is a very big place and the bear population density is not high). The coastal Great Bear Rainforest is the centre of ecological study and at the forefront of trying to preserve the environment, with Grizzly bears as one of the keystone species, so for this reason many of the guides are extremely well versed in the ways of these animals (in fact, the majority of the guides appear to be post grads studying for Masters degrees or PhD’s using this to further their field studies…..). Against this, Julius is a passionate amateur (only amateur in that he had another life before GBR) dedicated to trying to preserve these inland bears whose value and importance is greatly overshadowed by their larger coastal relatives, he is supported by highly skilled guides who impart a lot of knowledge to the guests without ever seeming to be preaching (a very rare skill) and a natural understanding of how to achieve the desire of the guest (to see bears) while not disturbing the natural order or placing anyone in dangerous situations. In our experience there is nothing to separate the educated from the passionate approach and delivery. If money is truly no object and you want the chance to see several bears competing and fishing for large salmon as shown in nature programmes, then the BC coast or Alaska during the autumn is the place for you. If the chance of seeing bears in their natural environment, learning about the local ecology and experiencing the ambiance of the wilderness is your desire, without an absolutely heart stopping cost (while admittedly still not cheap) then GBR is definitely the top choice.

For the traveller there is a huge hidden bonus that flows out from visiting GBR. The usual holiday in BC uses the main highways to link the commonly visited tourist destinations’, getting to Kaslo takes you away from these. We spent 2 days meandering down back roads from Kelowna to Kaslo via Nakusp, and even after several holidays in BC we discovered so many more picturesque places, learnt the history of the silver mining that was once rife across the region and visited ghost towns this left in its wake – all things the casual traveller can miss. These extra little snippets of culture, history and scenery all add so much value to the lasting memories of their trip.

I guess what really sums up GBR is the following. As Kristin dropped us back at Kaslo we were in very introspective mood. Watching the 4x4 leaving town we both voiced how good it would be if this were our first night again and in the morning we were heading back to GBR – that desire to immediately relive a period of time is so rare in this life, it can only speak volumes about the impact this experience (it can only be called an experience, as no other word would do it justice) can have! We will definitely return in the future, given the opportunity.

Room Tip: We were in the Volga cabin which has a separate bedroom and stunning views of the river and mountain...
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  • Stayed September 2013, traveled as a couple
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10 Thank Stuart M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Edinburgh, United Kingdom
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed October 18, 2013

October 7th 2012. Well it's taken a year to write but the memories have not lessened; in fact i remember it as though it were last week. Fantastic stay. Would really love to go back. Seeing bears in their natural habitat and even joining them on the river (thanks Ollie), will always be fresh in my mind. Everyone involved is so nice (and knowledgeable about the bears) that by the time you leave you feel as though you've been friends for years! The meals are fantastic and the itinerary is flexible and varied. So a massive thank you to Julius, Kristin, Tamara, Lily, Ollie and John (Grizzly).
Highly recommend Grizzly Bear Ranch. Will make a lovely holiday absolutely fantastic, never to be forgotten and the highlight of your holiday. So though it's a year late, thanks again everyone. Dougie and Julie.

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
4 Thank Douglas L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sydney, Australia
Level Contributor
34 reviews
19 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 26 helpful votes
Reviewed October 17, 2013

It seems improbable, but it is impossible not to rate Grizzly Bear Ranch 5 out of 5, as all the previous reviews on Trip Advisor have done. The location is beautiful and the accommodation is perfect for the setting. Kristin's food is excellent...delicious, healthy and satisfying. Most importantly, the completely filled days are well organised and safety is paramount. Julius and the other guides, Lily and Matt, really know what they are doing and not only find the bears that are around but also share their knowledge of bears and their behaviour. They are also very careful not to disturb the bears going about their business.

We were lucky to experience quite a few bear sightings but, had we not done so, the experience in this beautiful part of British Columbia would have been well worthwhile. At the end of our stay we were very sad to leave and thinking about a return visit. A few days at Grizzly Bear Ranch is a very special experience.

Room Tip: The Volga Cabin is probably the best sited, being right on the banks of the Lardeau River. However...
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  • Stayed October 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
2 Thank Travelbugz73
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Seattle, Washington, United States
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed October 13, 2013

We just spent a wonderful visit at Grizzly Bear Ranch. We loved the fact that it was an all natural setting. Unfortunately, that sometime means that you will not get to see the animals you want to see. But we were very lucky on our stay starting Oct 7, 2013. We had prolonged viewings of 2 different grizzlies and 4 sightings (I think) of a shorter duration. We also saw elk, white tailed deer, beaver, grouse, multiple eagles and a coyote fishing. The guides both Lilly and Max were great. Their knowledge and enthusiasm inspire you with their love of their work and the area. Hikes in the forest were also enjoyable. You can be kept busy during your whole stay or can take time off just to relax in your cabin. Our Volga cabin was right on the Lardeau river with a marvelous view and was very comfortable for 3 (or possibly would work for 4). Kristen is a fabulous cook.

  • Stayed October 2013, traveled with family
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Helpful?
4 Thank Helen W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
13 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 28 helpful votes
Reviewed October 10, 2013

After much research online we decided to use Grizzly Bear Ranch in BC in a bid to see first hand Grizzly Bears in this beautiful part of the world. From the moment you arrive you know it's money well spent, the ranch is located right on the banks of a river and there are four very well presented cabins just a stones throw from the main house, each cabin has its own character, we stayed in the Volga cabin situated right on the river and were very happy with our choice.

Each day starts off early with a tap on the door by Kristen who leaves you some freshly made Coffee or Tea to ease you into the day. Then it's out into the wilderness with Julius and his team to find the bears (and any other animals that might be strolling around).
Every day is different here and that's what makes it so impressive, you don't just drive around looking for Bears, you walk the trails, you can go "Bushwacking" if you're really keen or go rafting down the river to give you every chance of seeing the bears in their natural habitat.

Our only disappointment was we had only one very good sighting of a Bear at dusk, the others sightings were more glimpses as they crossed banks or trails, but this is wildlife and as long as you remember that you won't be disappointed.

Julius is a vastly experienced and passionate guide who knows and understands the bears behaviour which enables the guests to enjoy the experience to the full.

Every meal is served in the main house around the dining table with the other guests which is great for dissecting the day so far, the food is cooked and presented by Kristen and is delicious to say the least, we looked forward to each meal!

We're currently on our honeymoon travelling the world and this was our "main event" in North America. it's not cheap but it's honestly worth every penny.

Stayed September 2013, traveled as a couple
Helpful?
5 Thank NB796
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Belfast, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
123 reviews
39 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 51 helpful votes
Reviewed October 8, 2013

Sometimes returning to a holiday destination can be disappointing but in this instance an unforgettable previous visit was surpassed. The Grizzly bear ranch is located in a stretch of largely untouched wilderness in the Selkirk Mountain range and as a consequence you have breathtaking views from the cabins and throughout your day, be that rafting along the river or trekking through the old grow Cedar forests . The well appointed cabins are located just metres from the pristine Lardeau river. On this visit we had a great viewing experience seeing 5 different grizzly bears, coyote, elk, white tail deer and numerous bald eagles swooping to claim fish from the river. Julius and Kristin and their fantastic team go out of their way to ensure your stay is all that you want it to be by custom tailoring the trekking rafting etc to your needs. Kristin's home cooked food is fabulous and just what you need after a day in the wilderness. One of the main reasons we chose to return was because the animals viewed are moving naturally within their habitat. The guide team will do their best to find bears for you but as these animals are not located 24/7 at the end of a viewing platform sightings are not guaranteed. You would be very unlucky not to see some bears but as you will find out their movements are affected by a plethora of things including weather, food availability and sadly on occasion man. Because of the latter the guide teams ethical approach to their task keep the animals stress levels and well being at the top of their agenda . On our last hour at the ranch I was really lucky to see a young black bear at the rear of our cabin. Hope to return soon.

Room Tip: All the cabins have fabulous views.
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  • Stayed October 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
2 Thank beekeeper16328
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Grizzly Bear Ranch

Property: Grizzly Bear Ranch
Address: Highway 31, Kaslo, British Columbia V0G 1M0, Canada
Location: Canada > British Columbia > Kootenay Rockies > Kaslo
Amenities:
Free Parking
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 7 Specialty Lodging in Kaslo
Number of rooms: 6
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Grizzly Bear Ranch is a small luxury lodge hidden away in a remote BC valley that offers specialist black bear and grizzly bear viewing holidays as well as summer hiking and rafting adventures. The ranch opened in 2006 and is run by Julius, Kristin and an exceptional team of experienced and certified bear-viewing guides who will take you out on foot, in 4x4s and on river rafts into the surrounding wilderness. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Grizzly Bear Ranch Hotel Kaslo

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