5 Great Wilderness Adventures in U.S. and Canada
If you like wilderness adventures here are five wilderness destination ideas for those times we you want to get away, very far away from the tourist crowds. If you are yearning for a true feeling like you are part of nature then these destinations may be for you. Some offer eco tours where you get to learn more about nature around you so be on the lookout for these if this interests you.
1. Exploring Great Bear Rainforest
Situated on British Columbia’s central and north coast, Great Bear Rainforest is one of the world’s foremost wildlife havens. It’s one of many great wilderness destinations in the U.S. and Canada. As the name suggests, this massive rainforest is home to a large number of grizzly bears, black bears and white-furred Kermode bears, also called spirit bears. While visiting this area you can also encounter a wide range of animals and birds, like bald eagles, otters, mink and grey wolves.
Great Bear Rainforest covers a total 16 million acres of land. Almost 5 million of the Rainforests land area is protected as parkland by the Government of Canada. Development and logging are prohibited in this protected region.
To reach the largest coastal temperate rainforest in the world, you need to take either a boat or a seaplane. It’s quite a challenge to explore the Rainforest as getting to a specific spot can take a great deal of rough hiking but well worth the effort. Its vicinity encompasses several islands, inland river valleys and rugged coasts which expands from northern Vancouver Island to the Alaskan border. Here, you can find yourself in complete isolation with the wilderness as your companion.
One of the highlights of a visit to the Great Bear Rainforest is the opportunity for bear viewing. The most convenient way to go about this activity is to book with a reliable tour company. Fortunately, there are a couple of operators offering wildlife viewing tours, which usually start from Port Hardy and into the rainforests area. Tour companies like Great Bear Nature Tour offer guests highly entertaining bear watching and photography program in addition to a comfortable stay at their ecotourism lodges.
You may also engage in other activities while visiting the Great Bear Rainforest region. Some of the popular activities include interpretative walks, bird watching, kayaking and boat excursions, which can also be arranged through a local outfitter. The coast of the Great Bear Rainforest is the ancestral homeland of several of the First Nations groups. Thus, there are a couple of remote Native villages dotting the coastal areas like Klemtu and Kitlope.
Here, community operated tour companies offer various kinds of cultural-heritage and eco tours. Through these tours, you will have the opportunity to get to know the local people, and sleep in small huts, or go camping in the wilderness. If you want to stay close to the coast, you can also choose to stay at one of the floating fishing lodges, some of which are quite luxurious.
The best time to visit the Great Bear Rainforest area is during late spring and early fall because of the favorable sunny weather. If you want to come here to specifically view the bears in the wilderness, plan a visit during early spring and late summer, going into early fall. At this time, bears usually come out more often to feed at the river estuaries.
Great Bear Rainforest
Uploaded to Youtube on Dec 13, 2010
Starring grizzlies, eagles, humpback whales, and the legendary spirit bear! In 2010 Vancouver filmmaker Damien Gillis joined two separate week-long journeys by boat through BC’s Great Bear Rainforest. This magical place is threatened by Enbridge’s proposal to bring an oil pipeline from the Alberta Tar Sands and supertankers to BC’s North and Central coast
To get into the Rainforest area and admire its landscape, you can take ferry that goes along the Inside Passage, a protected waterway along the coast. Aside from the Alaska and BC ferries that sail along this Inside Passage, there is also a summer-only route called the Discovery Coast Passage, which allows you to see the lovely communities along the central B.C. coast within the Rainforest territory. Small ship tours are also becoming increasing popular for people who want to explore the Great Bear Rainforest’s amazing coast.
2. Juneau – Gateway to Alaskan Adventures
Alaska is a state teeming with stunning natural resources. With millions of lakes and miles of glacier ice and shoreline, it comes as no surprise that it is the place to go to experience top class ecotourism. A great journey through Alaska ideally begins with Juneau City, which is located in the state’s southwestern region. As Alaska’s capital, Juneau is a premier access point to all of the state’s main attractions. However, the city is not only a place to rest and prepare for your succeeding travels, as it also has a lot in store for your visit.
Despite being surrounded by nature, Juneau still has some cosmopolitan appeal. In the city, you can find a wide array of shopping and dining opportunities. Seafood restaurants are especially popular. You should also stop by the renowned Perseverance Theater, the pride of the city. Juneau’s downtown area is small enough to be traveled on foot. There’s a daily bus service called Capital Transit that serves the downtown area and the other key locations in the city. Some of the notable landmarks in the city proper include the Saint Nicholas Russian Orthodox Church, Alaska State Capitol and the Alaska State Museum.
You don’t have to go far for some outdoor adventure as there are lots of opportunities in Juneau. The city is also in close proximity to amazing glaciers. In fact, the Mendenhall Glacier, which is one of the most popular in the state, is conveniently located just 13 miles from the city center. Mendenhall is about 1.5 miles wide and sits on its own lake. A number of bus services go to the Mendenhall Glacier Recreation Area on a regular basis. The area has a Visitor Center office, which offers great views of the glacier. There are also easy and interesting trails that you can follow like the Steep Creek Trail, Photo Point Trail, East Glacier Trail and the West Glacier Trail, which leads you right to the glacier. If you can’t get enough of icebergs, head out to the massive Juneau Icefield, which houses a number of fascinating glaciers such as Herbert, Eagle and Taku.
Wildlife watching is a favorite activity among tourists in Juneau, and there are several tour companies that offer such experience. Get the chance to see the varied wildlife creatures that roam the wilderness of Alaska such as the mountain goats, Sitka black tail deer and the black bear! Juneau residents are fishing fanatics and they highly anticipate the salmon migration every year. Whether you’re a beginner or an angling expert, going on the fishing excursion in Juneau is guaranteed to be fun and rewarding.
Alaska Travel Adventures: Mendenhall Glacier Float Trip in Juneau
Uploaded to Youtube on Oct 18, 2012
Hold on for a safe but exhilarating river-running experience! Put in at the lake at the foot of the spectacular Mendenhall Glacier, and be carried away by the river and views of towering mountains, forests and wildlife. There’s a lot of everything in this trip!
Begin with a scenic tour up the Mendenhall Valley. On the shores of Mendenhall Lake, don protective raingear and life jackets, and board your raft. Each holds up to twelve, and is rowed by an experienced guide. Or, if you’re looking for a hands-on experience, join a paddle-raft team.
Glide across the iceberg-studded lake, marveling at the 1.5-mile-wide glacier, and set course downstream. The six-mile route combines meandering stretches with Class II and III whitewater. The rapids are perfectly safe, just exciting enough for beginners, and appropriate for all ages. A treat for experienced rafters, too! Encounter river features such as Moon Flats and Pin Ball Alley.
Other outdoor activities you might be interested in doing are sea kayaking, rafting and hiking. If you want to test your vertical limits; then book a helicopter tour to get a bird’s eye view of the beautiful city and its surroundings. You can also explore the Juneau’s surrounding waters by going on a cruise charter. Cruising allows you to witness various marine creatures like otters, sea lions, harbor seals in action. The Humpbacks and Orcas whales are also known to gather around near the city coastline usually around May through September. The sight of these whales is a pure delight and something you don’t want to miss.
3. The Clearwater River Adventure
If you hear the name Clearwater River, then the next thing you should think about is whitewater rafting! Because of its high water volume, warm temperature and fantastic scenery; outdoor sports enthusiasts consider this river to be one of the best whitewater sites in Canada.
Clearwater River is specifically situated in the Wells Gray Provincial Park of British Columbia. This provincial park encompasses a land area of over 5,000 square kilometers, and is the fourth biggest provincial park in British Columbia. The park prides itself as one of the premier destinations for outdoor sports and activities like canoeing, kayaking, mountain biking, fly- fishing, camping, hiking, and of course whitewater rafting.
Wells Gray offers its visitors beautiful waterfalls, deep lakes, lush mountain terrain and unadulterated wilderness. The Clearwater River distinguishes itself from other rafting rivers in the region as it runs 78 kilometers through the park, instead of along the highway. Compared to hiking, rafting is a better way of covering more ground in the park in a given time.
Clearwater offers a wide range of whitewater rapid grades which make it suitable for beginners as well as the more experienced. Outfitters operating in the area also offer family-friendly rafting trips that are suitable for children. Some of the popular sections of the river that are usually included in rafting trips include Tsunami, the Wall, and Buckaroo. Make no mistake about it, these rapid sections are as exciting and thrilling as their names suggest! Aside from being action packed, a whitewater rafting trip on the Clearwater River unravels an incredible canyon scenery and exposes you to various wildlife that thrive in the Wells Gray Country.
The season for whitewater rafting on Clearwater is from first week of May to the last week of October. There are three major tour companies that provide rafting trips to visitors. Each company organizes their own tour itinerary options to excite and delight guests. These options allow you to choose a trip that suits your skill level and adventure desires. The three outfitters are Liquid Lifestyles, Interior Whitewater Expeditions, and Riverside Adventures. Liquid Lifestyles provides half-day to two full day rafting tours. The company takes guests to remote spots in the park like the Spahats Waterfall, Candle Creek, Moul, Sylvia and Goodwin.
Interior Whitewater Expeditions has been providing tours for 30 years. The company offers a wide range of excursions that are tailored for people of varying ages. The company are proven experts in providing personal attention to smaller groups and incorporating multiple sports in one tour. Riverside Adventures offers its guests not only whitewater rafting but also other activities like kayaking, canoeing. It covers different types of rafting such as moving flatwater and whitewater. Riverside Adventures specializes in offering instructional courses and special expeditions. It also operates its own fitness center and guesthouse.
Wells Gray Provincial Park, BC: Plane Tour, River Raft, Boat Tour, and Waterfalls!
Uploaded to Youtube on Jun 21, 2011
Explore Wells Gray and Clearwater BC in the Thompson Okanagan Region with BC Field Reporter Chris Wheeler. Wells Gray is about pure wilderness and open spaces! It’s the quintessential Canadian experience! North America’s largest canoe only lake, Canada’s most beautiful waterfalls, classic whitewater rafting, endless hiking, huge waterfalls and much more.
If you have the time to stick around after your big whitewater rafting trip; consider signing up for a relaxing and calm float trip that typically goes down the North Thompson River. This particular tour gives you more opportunity to witness exquisite wild creatures, flora and faunas, and marvel at the picturesque Wells Gray landscape. Float trips are very ideal for families with small children.
4. Wilderness Adventure at Glacier National Park
Thinking of bringing your family closer to nature? One of the best places in North America to do just that is the Glacier National Park. As the fourth largest park in the USA, this national park, located in the state of Montana, covers a land area of over a million acres that stretches all the way to the Canadian border. Together with its neighbor Waterton Lakes National Park of Canada, the Glacier National Park forms the first International Peace Park in the world.
On top of the surrounding iconic glaciers, which have been in existence for hundreds of years, the national park also boasts luscious hills, snowy meadows, rugged peaks and magnificent lakes. If all of these sound good, then better put this national park on your travel list because experts predict the glaciers in the park will most likely vanish by 2030 due to climate change!
One highlight that is certainly not to be missed experiencing in the Glacier National Park is driving through the beautiful 50-mile Going-to-the-Sun Road. This scenic road wraps around the mountainside, and provides access to the Continental Divide at Logan Pass and the St. Mary Valley. During your drive, you will get to see the best sights in the region including wildlife in their natural habitat.
Some of popular activities in the park are hiking through the luscious forests and mountains, as well as mountain biking along picturesque meadows. There are over 740 miles of well set walking trails within Glacier. Before going on your hiking trip, drop by the park’s visitor center to get necessary tips, warnings and recommendations. For a more informative and enjoyable trip, you should consider booking a hiking tour around the park’s back country. On this type of tour, you will be accompanied by wilderness guides, who are willing to share their knowledge about the unique ecosystems thriving in the region.
One of the popular walking sites is through the Two Medicine region, which is home to the Two Medicine Lake and Twin Falls. If wildlife viewing excites you, check out North Folk, which is populated by fascinating species like black bears, moose, mountain lions and bighorn sheep. Other incredible hiking trails are Piegan Pass, Highline Trail, Swiftcurrent Pass and Iceberg Trail.
Various types of tours are available at Glacier National Park. One of the cool tours around is the Red Bus tour. In this historic tour, you will ride on a 1936 roll-back canvas topped Red Bus to witness the park’s breathtaking scenery. The tour also includes regional cuisine dishes, glacier or lake hiking and photo journaling especially at Logan Pass. Boat tours that allow you to cruise gorgeous lakes of Glacier National Park are also highly recommended. Some of the notable lakes you can choose exploring in the park are Many Glacier, Rising Sun. Apgar and Lake McDonald.
Glacier National Park Intro
Uploaded to Youtube on Jul 2, 2012
Finley-Holiday Films has just completed a four-year filming project on a very special place – Glacier National Park. Here’s the opening, just to wet your appetite.
Accommodation options are abundant in the park; from full service lodges, rustic inn to cabins and hotels. Even though Glacier opens its doors to the public all year round, some of the park accommodation and tours are only available in between late spring and early fall. You can also camp overnight within the park’s back country area, but you will first need to obtain a back country camping permit from any of the visitor center or ranger station in Glacier National Park.
5. Clayoquot Wilderness Resort
You do not have to go to Africa to experience a real eco-safari resort. In fact, there is one right in the wilderness of Vancouver Island, British Columbia of Canada. The Clayquot Wilderness Resort defines what a luxury eco-safari resort should be.
Set in a UNESCO reserve named Clayoquot Sound Biosphere Reserve area, the resort features 20 deluxe white canvas tents, which exhibit the grand African safari design. Some of the amenities you can find in each tent includes en suite bathrooms with floor heating, antique furniture, flush toilet, indoor and outdoor showers and propane stoves. There are no television or phone in the tent because a stay in Clayoquot is not really about being distracted by modern technology.The highlight of your trip is the surrounding gorgeous yet untamed wilderness. However, aside from the lodging tents, the resort also maintains two big lounge tents that are complete with bars, billiard tables and internet access.
Arguably, the best thing about staying at Clayoquot Wilderness Resort is that it offers all-inclusive packages. Such an offer is perfect for honeymooners and for intimate family gatherings. Because it is all inclusive, you don’t have to worry about the budgeting during your vacation. The resort accommodation, food and beverages are covered. In addition, the resort management offers various recreational programs and activities. These activities cater to people of different age groups.
Clayoquot Wilderness Resort has designated Activities Directors who will meet with you to customize your adventure itinerary based on your preferences and skill level. The scheduled activities will also be based on weather conditions and your interests in the wild. Clayoquot’s expertise lies in bringing people to remote places.
You can choose to be guided to a secluded beach where you can swim and sunbathe the whole day, and even learn how to surf. Another popular yet more rigorous trip involves going for a day hike along the “Wild Side” trail leading to the nearby Flores Island. Wildlife viewing is also a staple activity of the resort. Some of the animals that are commonly sought after are whales and black bears.
If you like aqua activities, you can also go for a kayak ride on a rushing river or on the gentle ocean to discover beautiful coves and inlets. Clayoquot Wilderness Resort also offers a range of horses for riding enthusiast, whether they are at the beginner level or expert.
Clayoquot Wilderness Resort – Adventures In The Wild
Uploaded to YouTube on Nov 22, 2011
Clayoquot Wilderness Resort www.wildretreat.com
At Clayoquot, there seem to be endless possibilities when it comes to outdoor activities. You can try fishing, mountain biking, archery, shooting, rock climbing, boating and zip lining. During your stay at the resort, you will be treated to world-class meals prepared by a top chef. To relax and rejuvenate, Clayoquot also offers spa services and massages, which are still part of the all-inclusive deal.
There are only two ways to reach the Clayoquot Wilderness. The first one is to get on a seaplane and take a scenic 45-minute from the city of Vancouver. The second one is ride a boat for 30 minutes from Tofino. The resort usually arranges these transfers with their guests. Every year this stylish eco lodge opens its doors from mid -May to the last week of September.
There you have it, five wilderness destinations in two big countries that can help satisfy your thirst for fun and adventure you’ll never forget. These few wilderness destinations are just the tip of the iceburg when it comes to fun and adventure. I will try to cover more in other articles as time permits. If you do visit any of these five please leave a comment below of your experiences.
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