Homalco Wildlife & Cultural Tours - People, Water, land

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Join this very exclusive, small group experience for a day of bears, marine wildlife and cultural discovery. Travel to Bute Inlet aboard a comfortable, heated boat through the Salish Sea, while watching for humpback whales, orcas, sea lions, porpoises, dolphins, bald eagles and other seabirds. Highlights include an interpretive walk with an Indigenous guide to learn about bears and traditional uses of the land, before a zodiac boat tour of the estuary to search for feeding bears and ancient petroglyphs. 


The onset of spring and summer brings Black Bears and Grizzly Bears down from the coastal mountains to valley floors in their never-ending quest for food. For millennia they have come to Orford Bay in Bute Inlet and the traditional home of the χʷomaɬkʷu (Homalco) First Peoples. The water and land of Bute Inlet provided the Homalco with transportation, food, shelter, medicine and more. Legends were born here and Homalco stories became interwoven with characters representing the creatures with whom they shared the earth and sea. Join us to uncover the stories of the bears, the ǰɛnxʷ (salmon), the χʷomaɬkʷu people and much more. You may even see χawgəs (the Grizzy Bear) or Mexaɬ (Black Bear) while exploring the Orford estuary.

Homalco Wildlife & Cultural Tours - 1340 Island Hwy, Campbell River, BC V9W 8C9, Canada
Discover Comox Valley

Your arrival in Orford Bay marks the beginning of the next part of the adventure that includes an interpretive walk and exploring the estuary by boat. The history of Orford as a traditional winter gathering place by Homalco will come alive and include discussions of how the Orford Salmon Enhancement Hatchery has contributed to increasing the population of native fish species in the rivers.

Following a quick visit to the Orientation Centre the tour continues toward the estuary. Guides will point out bear signs such as scratching trees and day beds. You will also be taken on an ethnobotany journey that explores how local plants were used traditionally to create medicines, clothing and shelter. Climb the viewing platform known as the Estuary Tower to search for wildlife, including visiting bears who come down to feed.

Back out in Orford Bay you’ll board a zodiac-style boat to travel up the shallow estuary for a closer look from the water. Guides will search for black bears, grizzly bears, Roosevelt elk, otters, beavers and more. Glide past ancient pictographs high on the rock walls and discuss the net pens that hold brood stock for the salmon hatchery.

The journey back to Campbell River continues the search for whales and marine wildlife, while providing inspiring vistas from which to reflect on your adventure.

Departs from Discovery Marine Harbour, 1340 Island Hwy #129, Campbell River, BC, V9W 8C9

Discovery Marine Harbour, 1340 Island Hwy #129, Campbell River, BC

Durable Shoes

Warm layered clothing and rain gear




  • Lunch & refreshments provided
  • Washroom facilities available on boat and at Orford Bay
  • Heated and covered boat on return journey from Campbell River to Orford Bay
  • 7-8 hour tour with APPROXIMATE times of: 2 hours by covered boat in each direction to/from Orford Bay; 2 hours of moderate difficulty walking up to 6-7 km; 1 hour exploring in a zodiac-style boat

Guests must be physically fit enough to participate in up to 6-7 kms of moderate hiking activities

Only 12 guests maximum per day

  • Minimum age: 12 years old

All times and tour components subject to change based on safety considerations

  • Cancel up to 14 days prior to tour date for full refund. Fees apply with less than 14 days notice.
Homalco Wildlife & Cultural Tours
1340 Island Hwy, Campbell River, BC V9W 8C9, Canada