Family Activities in Whistler: Bear Viewing
One of the most popular family activities in Whistler, The Bear Viewing tour invites you to experience wildlife first-hand as you explore the mighty glaciers and the vast coastal hemlock-cedar forests of Whistler Blackcomb. Learn all about the importance of conservation and the measures we are taking to help sustain healthy populations. Sheltered amongst the deep old growth forests, you’ll visit active bear dens, daybeds and feeding sites and learn how the area supports a population of up to 70 black bears and cubs, including 17 mothers, that have adapted to feeding, mating, and hibernating around the ski hill.
You’ll also get the opportunity to observe many other wildlife that share the same zone as the bears, such as Coastal Mountain black-tailed deer, Coyote, Ruffed grouse, Red-tailed hawks, Barred and Great Horned owls, and Western Hoary marmots. Ride in a comfortable 4×4 vehicle through a maze of ski area roads that traverse the area’s diverse forests, meadows, and streams. Take short walks to bear feeding sites and old growth trees where bears have hibernated during the winter. Ranked as one of the TOP Family activities in Whistler, this tour serves as a solid lesson for the whole family!
You’re in excellent hands with the expert guides, Michael Allen (a self-taught black bear researcher with 19 years of experience) and Arthur DeJong (the Whistler Blackcomb Mountain Planning and Environmental Resource Manager). Head off with them into the hills in search of these majestic creatures and experience a unique and educational adventure.
Synopsis of Bear Viewing Periods
Early Spring (May 15-Jun 15)
Bears graze along lush green ski trails; observe resident mothers with cubs and/or yearlings; start of breeding period – males move into ski area; short walk to daybeds and hair-trap sites.
Peak Grazing and Mating (Jun 16-Jul 14)
Bears continue grazing following grass and clover up-slope; best opportunity to see pairs of adults bears during courtship and mating activities; potential interactions between adult males and mothers with cubs; short walk to daybeds, dens and hair trap.
Summer Transition (July 15-Aug 15)
Mating season ends in late July; bears scatter feeding activities from grazing on high elevation grass and sedge to foraging for carpenter ants (from rotten logs and tree stumps) and searching for first ripening berries; interpret daybeds, den, and berry use; brilliant fall colours for photography.
Peak Berry (Aug 16-Sep 20)
Bears concentrated in high elevation berry shrub-fields; interpret daybed, den and berry use; brilliant fall colours for photography.
Late Berry (Sept. 21-Oct 10)
Bears at high elevations searching for scattered berries while some bears reverting back to grazing grass and clover at lower elevations; interpret daybeds, dens, feeding sites and hair trap sites, pristine alpine photography.
Whistler Mountain Bike Park, Bear Viewing and Ecology Tours , The Coca-Cola©/™ Tube Park, PEAK 2 PEAK Alpine Experience and Mountain Top BBQ Series , and Whistler Mountain Bike Park is operated by Whistler Blackcomb. As the mountain operators, our partner Whistler Blackcomb offers the best access to the exhilarating Whistler and Blackcomb mountain wilderness, wildlife and on mountain activiities.