Bear Viewing & Ecology Tours

Bear Viewing Tours

This is your opportunity to experience the wildlife, vegetation, glaciers and rainforests of Whistler and Blackcomb Mountains. Visit bear dens and wander through pristine alpine meadows and old growth Western Hemlock forests. Learn how conservation and enhancement initiatives help to sustain healthy populations, and how mountain resorts are continually redesigning recreational experiences to ensure a sustainable future.

Contact Guest Relations or call 1.866.218.9684 to book.

For groups of 5 or more Click Here

Bear Tours

Whistler and Blackcomb Mountains are home to up to 50 black bears and cubs that have adapted to feeding, mating, and hibernating within ski area habitats. This is the only population of black bears in B.C. that has been studied for over two decades.

Travel in a comfortable 4x4 vehicle through a maze of ski area roads that traverse the largest concentration of mother bear ranges in the region. Bear feeding patterns shift from valley bottom to higher mountain elevations as the summer continues, and the tours follow this progression allowing access these hidden scenic alpine ecosystems and natural habitats any time of the summer. Take an even closer look with short walks to bear feeding sites and bear family daybeds, and wander through old growth forests where bears have hibernated through many winters.

Our experienced and qualified team of guides boasts a wealth of knowledge of Whistler's flora and fauna, ecology and bear biology for a truly incredible outdoor learning experience.

3 HOUR TOURS Adult (19-64) Children & Youth (10-18) Senior 65+
Price* $189 $179 $179
Bear Viewing Times MAY 15 - JUL 14 Jul 15 - Aug 14 Aug 15 - Sept 14 Sept 15 - Oct 31
Morning 6am 6am 6am 7am
Mid-Day  12pm       12pm 12pm
Afternoon  6pm 6pm 5pm 4pm

Recommend for children 9+ years old.

Meeting Location is at the Base of the Wizard Express, Blackcomb Base, 15 minutes prior to tour start. Look for the Bear Viewing sign. 

Dress in layers and wear sturdy footwear. Bring insect repellent and don’t forget your camera. Binoculars are provided.

All tours are subject to weather conditions. Please note that bear sightings are not guaranteed, as activity is dependent on weather, food supply, other bears and human activity.

* Special arrangements can be made for large groups/conferences. 

Contact Guest Relations or call 1.866.218.9684 to book.

Guides

Our experienced and qualified team of guides boast a wealth of knowledge of Whistler’s flora and fauna, and ecology that makes for an incredible outdoor learning experience.

Michael Allen is an independent researcher who investigates the behavior and ecology of black bears (Ursus americanus). He has been studying black bears for 25 years, with the last 17 of those in the Sea to Sky Corridor. His mission is to document the unique lives of individual bears through photography and observed behaviors so that people can better understand how a bear adapts to environmental changes brought on by man, climate, and other bears. Between 1994 and 2008, Mike has identified over 300 individual bears and has monitored more than 800 bear-life years in Whistler. Over 5,000 digital, high-resolution photos are taken each year of bears to maintain a progressive photographic catalogue of their identity and status. 

Michael Allen’s research is internationally represented through the BBC Natural World's "In the Company of Bears" and the U.S. Discovery Animal Planet new bear ecology website. Mike Allen Black Bear Studies provide a foundation for ski area, school, and community bear awareness programs.
Kathy Jenkins has lived in the Sea to Sky Corridor since 1996. As an active member of the environmental community, she has done a variety of ecological field research in the area since her arrival. Her goal is to understand how all species relate and survive within ecosystems, and to assist people in learning to maintain this natural balance. Sound ecosystem management is Kathy's passion and lifelong interest.

She is a long-term board member of the Whistler Naturalists Society, whose mandate is "to know nature and to keep it worth knowing" and is also a founding board member of Stewardship Pemberton. While living in Whistler, Kathy has completed a Diploma in the Restoration of Natural Systems from the University of Victoria and a Masters Degree in Environment and Management from Royal Roads University. She is an avid skier and mountain biking enthusiast whose love for the Coast Mountains keeps her settled in the area.

Bear Viewing Seasons

Different seasons provide for different viewing and learning opportunities, so be sure to check the season options before booking your tour.

SPRING GRAZING & MATING

Mid May - Mid July
Best time to see new born cubs, mating behavior, large males, and social interactions. Up to 10 Bears viewed per tour.

SUMMER ANTS & BERRIES

Mid July - Mid August
Best time to see new born cubs, mating behavior, large males, and social interactions. Up to 10 Bears viewed per tour.

FALL BERRIES

Mid August - Mid October
Best time to see bears up close, foraging berries at higher elevations. Up to 15 Bears viewed per tour.

Bear sightings are not guaranteed. Bear activity is dependent on weather, food supply, other bears, and human activity.

Eco Tours

Climate Change Tour

Climate change is the most increasingly important environmental issue of our time. On this tour, guided by Whistler Blackcomb’s environmental manager, you will enter the alpine where you will visit a glacier, nature’s most sensitive ecosystem to temperature change. You will learn how landforms are continuously changing and how Whistler Blackcomb works at reducing its carbon footprint.

Alpine Ecology Tour

Join one of our leading conservationists and get a closer look at the wildlife, vegetation, and glaciers while learning about Whistler Blackcomb’s unique alpine ecosystems. Wander through colourful alpine meadows and view wildlife as you learn how conservation and enhancement initiatives help protect biodiversity and support healthy wildlife populations.

For complete details and pricing on the Climate Change and Alpine Ecology Tours please call 1-800-766-0449

WhistlerBlackcomb Bear/Wildlife Viewing Report

by Michael Allen - Senior Guide/Researcher - Monday, September 2, 2013
Up to 7 bears recently seen on 6am and 5pm tours

All bears foraging berries through Sep-Oct to fatten-up for hibernation in November One of the best berry crops seen in 20 years!

Guests on last night's (Sep 1, 5pm) bear tour witnessed young adult male "Sugar" soaking in the Harmony "bear pond" at the base of Harmony Chair on Whistler Mountain. Sugar, with his buddy "Storm", a larger male, "hung out" for over 30-min grazing on sedge/horsetail and cooling off after a full day of berry foraging. Male bears may consume up to 80, 000 berries in 18 hours (M.Allen 2013).

"Sugar" soaking in the Harmony "bear pond" 

WhistlerBlackcomb Bear/Wildlife Viewing Report

by Michael Allen - Senior Guide/Researcher - Sat, June 15 2013
12 bears last night - 6PM, June 14

All 4 Bear Families seen on Blackcomb last night - 6pm tour
  • Marisa + 1 cub - grazing less than 5m to truck
  • Mya + 1 cub - nursing less than 10m to truck
  • Amy + 1 cub - grazing less than 10m to truck
  • Bella + 1 cub avoiding male bear along School Marm ski trail
  • Tagged male pursuing Mya + cub down Mainline
  • 2-immature bears along Little Spearhead
  • Alice grazing along Fitzsimmons Creek
8 bears this morning - 6AM, June 15
  • Slumber chasing Storm across Olympic Station - both bears really tired
  • Echo (Elly's 2007 daughter) grazing near Garbonzo Chair
  • Olivia + 2 yearlings back on Blackcomb - bobcat passes by family less than 5m away
  • Mya + 1 cub grazing up Gearjammer - another bobcat passes by family at less than 10-m away
  • 2 bobcats on 1 tour (record)
Amy, Alice's daughter rears up to watch bear viewing group across steep ski slope. Bears rise on their hind legs to see and smell better. Amy survives 1 cub after losing 2 this spring to males. M.Allen 2013.
Photo: Amy, Alice's daughter rears up to watch bear viewing group across steep ski slope. Bears rise on their hind legs to see and smell better. Amy survives 1 cub after losing 2 this spring to males. (M. ALLEN 2013)


WhistlerBlackcomb Bear/Wildlife Viewing Report

by Michael Allen - Senior Guide/Researcher - Mon, June 10 2013
10 BEARS last night - June 10, 6pm tour

Close families and first courtships
  • Alice and young male 1st courtship - Blackcomb
  • Amy + 5-month old cub - Fitz 1 Road Blackcomb - grazing dandelions less than 5m to truck
  • Bella + cub in trees - Cruiser/Bike Path
  • Mya + 5-month old cub - mid-mtn Blackcomb - grazing dandelions less than 10m to truck
  • Young male - Whistler Bike Park
  • Echo and Storm 1st courtship - Olympic Station, Whistler Mtn
June 10, 12pm - 7 bears
  • Olivia + 2 yearlings - Lower sliding center - males harrassing her more frequently for family break-up
  • 2.5 year old male - Blackcomb summer road through sliding center
  • Young female (Rosie's daughter?) - Little Spearhead
  • Amy + 5-month old cub - Fitz 1 Road - grazing dandelions all around truck less than 5m away
First-time mom Mya and 5-month old cub through blades of grass. Mya lost second cub 2 weeks ago. This is the smallest cub of 12 total in the ski area. Four cubs have been lost to males so far. M.Allen 2013.
Photo: First-time mom Mya and 5-month old cub through blades of grass. Mya lost second cub 2 weeks ago. This is the smallest cub of 12 total in the ski area. Four cubs have been lost to males so far. (M. ALLEN 2013)


WhistlerBlackcomb Bear/Wildlife Viewing Report

by Michael Allen - Senior Guide/Researcher - Tue, June 4 2013
16 BEARS last night - June 4, 6pm
  • Olivia + 2 yearlings - grazing lower sliding center
  • Marisa + 1 cub - mom resting and cub playing up tree
  • Michelle + 2 yearlings - grazing Lower Mainline
  • Bella + 1 cub - grazing 10-m to 3 black-tailed deer on Gear Jammer
  • Slumber - grazing less than 5 metres to truck
  • Alice - grazing lower Sliding Center
  • New bear - black young with large white chest - Upper Crabapple
  • Sid - grazing and scenting Elly in bike park
  • Elly - grazing Old Oly Road - cubs not seen
  • Smiley - grazing and scenting toward Elly - Elly leads him into forest??
June 4, 9:30am - Grade 5 field trip - 8 bears
  • Slumber - lower Mainline
  • Michelle + 2 yearlings - Sideline to Tube Park
  • Alice - lower sliding center
  • Olivia + 2 yearlings - lower sliding center grazing 50-m from Alice
June 4, 6am - 5 bears
  • Sid - brown young male grazing beside truck on lower Blackcomb
  • Olivia + 2 yearlings - mom resting, yearlings wrestling upper sliding center
  • Very healthy adult black male - Fitz Creek
A rare glimpse of Slumber sleeping on Blackcomb...Whistler's largest male (M. ALLEN 2013).
Photo: A rare glimpse of Slumber sleeping on Blackcomb...Whistler's largest male (M. ALLEN 2013).


WhistlerBlackcomb Bear/Wildlife Viewing Report

by Michael Allen - Senior Guide/Researcher - Sat, June 8 2013
13 Bears last night - June 8, 6pm
  • Olivia + 2 yearlings - will break up soon and should be interest to witness on tour
  • Amy + 1 cub - this is the mother that has lost 2 cubs so far this spring - the last was eaten by a male bear near Scandinaav Spa on May 27
  • Mya + 1 cub - youngest mother in ski area and daughter to oldest mother, Marisa (who has 1 cub also)
  • Rosie + 1 cub - beautiful black mother with full tan snout and slightly lighter black cub
  • 2 black young adult females + black subadult - Whistler bike park
  • Alice - second oldest female at 18+ years - lost her cub in late May to (possibly) aggressive male Skinner
Mating season underway...which means lots of social interactions...cubs up trees, courtship, chases, and fights

7 bears - June 8, 6am
  • Olivia + 2 yearlings - resting on daybed at base of old growth hemlock
  • Slumber - grazing along Fitzsimmon's glacial creek
  • Mya + 1 cub - up in the misty clouds on Blackcomb's mid-mtn
  • Lone adult male - walking alongside truck in dense fog...pretty cool
Lazy Olivia and 2 yearlings during the 6am bear tour...resting on a daybed at the base of an old growth hemlock. This bed has been used by 16 different bears over the years. M.Allen 2013.
Photo: Lazy Olivia and 2 yearlings during the 6am bear tour...resting on a daybed at the base of an old growth hemlock. This bed has been used by 16 different bears over the years. (M. ALLEN 2013)


WhistlerBlackcomb Bear/Wildlife Viewing Report

by Michael Allen - Senior Guide/Researcher - Tue, June 4 2013
16 BEARS last night - June 4, 6pm
  • Olivia + 2 yearlings - grazing lower sliding center
  • Marisa + 1 cub - mom resting and cub playing up tree
  • Michelle + 2 yearlings - grazing Lower Mainline
  • Bella + 1 cub - grazing 10-m to 3 black-tailed deer on Gear Jammer
  • Slumber - grazing less than 5 metres to truck
  • Alice - grazing lower Sliding Center
  • New bear - black young with large white chest - Upper Crabapple
  • Sid - grazing and scenting Elly in bike park
  • Elly - grazing Old Oly Road - cubs not seen
  • Smiley - grazing and scenting toward Elly - Elly leads him into forest??
June 4, 9:30am - Grade 5 field trip - 8 bears
  • Slumber - lower Mainline
  • Michelle + 2 yearlings - Sideline to Tube Park
  • Alice - lower sliding center
  • Olivia + 2 yearlings - lower sliding center grazing 50-m from Alice
June 4, 6am - 5 bears
  • Sid - brown young male grazing beside truck on lower Blackcomb
  • Olivia + 2 yearlings - mom resting, yearlings wrestling upper sliding center
  • Very healthy adult black male - Fitz Creek
A rare glimpse of Slumber sleeping on Blackcomb...Whistler's largest male (M. ALLEN 2013).
Photo: A rare glimpse of Slumber sleeping on Blackcomb...Whistler's largest male (M. ALLEN 2013).


WhistlerBlackcomb Bear/Wildlife Viewing Report

by Michael Allen - Senior Guide/Researcher - Sun, June 2 2013
15 BEARS last night - June 2, 6pm
  • Slumber - Little Spearhead less than 10 metres to truck
  • Alice - Mainline
  • Sid - Mainline
  • Mya + 1 cub - Upper Mainline - youngest mother in ski area
  • Marisa + 1 cub - Upper Mainline - oldest female in Whistler/23+years
  • Storm - Garbonzo chair flats
  • Olivia + 2 yearlings - Ptarmigan upslope to play on snow-patches
  • Elly + 3 cubs - bottom of bike park/all cubs OK
June 2-12pm tour - 4 bears
  • Slumber - Little Spearhead
  • Olivia + 2 yearlings - Olympic/3.6
June 2-6am tour - 4 bears
  • Alice - Crabapple/2.5
  • Olivia + 2 yearlings - Whistler Sliding Center
A rare look at Olivia nursing 2, 17 month old cubs. Mothers do not normally (in Whistler) nurse cubs in their 2nd spring as they usually lose to much weight after hibernation. M. Allen 2013.
Photo: A rare look at Olivia nursing 2, 17 month old cubs. Mothers do not normally (in Whistler) nurse cubs in their 2nd spring as they usually lose to much weight after hibernation. Olivia's exceptional condition this spring allows her to do this...although they weren't getting alot of milk...it was beautfiul to witness. M. Allen 2013.


WhistlerBlackcomb Bear/Wildlife Viewing Report

by Michael Allen - Senior Guide/Researcher - Fri, May 31 2013
Ski Area Bear Count for May = 30 Bears

8 bears - May 31, 6pm tour
  • Olivia + 2 yearlings less than 20 metres away
  • Sid - brown adult male
  • Mya + 1 cub - watched her nurse less than 30 metres away
  • Slumber - in deep sleep - rare sighting for large adult male
  • Alice less than 10 metres away
6pm tour, strong viewing for mom + cub sightings
  • 8 adult males
  • 9 adult females
  • 5 yearlings
  • 8 cubs-of-this-year
First-time mom, Mya, with unique neck+chest patch pattern, nurses 1 cub
(behind log) during 6PM bear tour. M. Allen 2013.
Photo: First-time mom, Mya, with unique neck + chest patch pattern, nurses 1 cub (behind log) during 6PM bear tour. M. Allen 2013.


WhistlerBlackcomb Bear/Wildlife Viewing Report

by Michael Allen - Senior Guide/Researcher - Mon, May 27 2013
14 bear sightings yesterday - May 27
12pm - 6 bears
  • Storm
  • Olivia + 2 yearlings
  • Brownie and big black male - first courtship activity
6pm - 8 bears
  • Elly + 3 cubs
  • Olivia + 2 yearlings
  • Slumber - alpha male
Alice's 4-month cub instinctively climbs and plays up a hemlock during 6pm tour, May 18.
Photo: Alice's 4-month cub instinctively climbs and plays up a hemlock during 6pm tour, May 18.


WhistlerBlackcomb Bear/Wildlife Viewing Report

by Michael Allen - Senior Guide/Researcher - Sat, May 18 2013
7 bears last night - 6pm, May 18
  • Olivia + 2 yearlings - Mtn access rd out to 1.5k
  • Alice + 1 cub - Mainline, Blackcomb
  • Young brown male - Tube Park
  • Brownie - Dave Murray Downhill above Olympic Rings
Healthy young adult male STORM seen during mid-day tour on Blackcomb.
Photo: Healthy young adult male STORM seen during mid-day tour on Blackcomb.


WhistlerBlackcomb Bear/Wildlife Viewing Report

by Michael Allen - Senior Guide/Researcher - Wed, May 15 2013
20 bears identified in ski area (so far) - first cubs-of-this-year for Whistler!
Last 6pm trip saw 11 bears
Alice and 4 month old cub photographed during 6pm bear tour. May 15, 2013
Photo: Alice and 4 month old cub photographed during 6pm bear tour
Status of resident moms - we're due for alot of cubs this year:
Marisa oldest - cubs?
Gloria cubs?
Amy cub?
Alice 1, 4-month old cub
Rosie cubs?
Olivia 2, 17-month old cubs
Elly 3, 4-month old cubs
Daisy cubs?
Brownie 1, 17-month old cub
Lucy cubs?
Also - 5 healthy males in ski area including Slumber - Whistler's largest bear!

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