Great Bear Lodge
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Great Bear Lodge

6420 Hardy Bay Road, Port Hardy, British Columbia V0N 2P0 Canada
Traveller (256)
Otters entertaining the guests at lunchtime.
Dining (4)
Scenery and wildlife
Room & Suite (2)

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About

5.0
#1 of 2 lodges in Port Hardy
4.9 of 5 bubbles
Location
4.8 of 5 bubbles
Cleanliness
4.9 of 5 bubbles
Service
4.5 of 5 bubbles
Value
Great Bear Lodge is located 50 air miles from Port Hardy, British Columbia. The fully self-contained floating lodge is situated at an outstanding wildlife viewing location. This is a place of spectacular beauty where one can still find the silence and solitude of another era. From this location we operate our Grizzly Bear viewing program. Your safety is ensured by guides who are trained under the Commercial Bear Viewing Association of BC, of which the lodge is a founding member. The charming floating lodge has eight bedrooms. The common area is a comfortable place for relaxing and listening to natural history presentations from our willdife biologists. Each bedroom has an ensuite shower. The wind and solar powered lodge is in keeping with our commitment to low-impact ecotourism. Natural wood decks surround the lodge, a perfect place to enjoy a glass of wine while enjoying the beauty of the scenery.
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Property amenities
Free breakfast
Bar / lounge
Restaurant
Airport transportation
Outdoor furniture
Room types
Non-smoking rooms
Good to know
HOTEL CLASS
Star ratings are intended to indicate the general level of features, amenities, and services to expect. This property is classified according to Giata.
3.0 of 5 stars
HOTEL STYLE
Mountain View
Charming
179Reviews12Q+A47Room tips

Reviews
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Detailed Reviews
Mas1234 wrote a review June 2023
London43 contributions29 helpful votes
Property's Favourite Review
5.0 of 5 bubbles
This is a truly magical place for multiple reasons. The team were incredibly warm and friendly, the food was delicious, the room was comfortable and it was set in the most gorgeous location! Plus the bears were super cool too! The best experience I have had in Canada!
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Date of stay: June 2023
5.0 of 5 bubblesValue
5.0 of 5 bubblesLocation
5.0 of 5 bubblesService
Trip type: Travelled as a couple
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Response from Laurel Sliskovic, General Manager at Great Bear Lodge
Responded 5 July 2023
Thank you for staying with us and for your warm review! Our team is happy to help create memorable experiences for our guests in this amazing place. Wishing you continued positive adventures in Canada!
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canvas T wrote a review May 2022
Wakefield, United Kingdom2 contributions2 helpful votes
5.0 of 5 bubbles
A unique experience into a hard to reach part of British Columbia. Hardy travellers will find this journey amazing, and self defining in terms of experiencing the flora, and fauna found along the estuary. We stayed beginning of May 2022. The welcome was reflective of the culture and work ethic of the whole team very warm and inviting. Accommodation was really nice, simple but felt luxurious with some of the best views in the world to wake up too. Food excellent with staff very capable and obliging to meet all dining needs. The Staff are very helpful, supportive and patient towards ensuring we were made to feel warm, dry and safe. A very tight team spirit. All supporting team members shared their love of the environment with us, and gave great energy, carefully sharing locally crafted knowledge based on experience, and evidence based research. We were bemused, engaged, and in awe. Of course a mention of their resident dog Indigo is needed, who was completely trusting towards us as outsiders. We left feeling a deeper appreciation of the amazing relationship found here between humans and bears. Thankyou all. Highly recommended.
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Date of stay: May 2022
5.0 of 5 bubblesRooms
5.0 of 5 bubblesCleanliness
5.0 of 5 bubblesService
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Response from , Owner at Great Bear Lodge
Responded 26 May 2022
Thanks so much for taking the time to share your experience at the lodge. We so appreciate all of the lovely things that you said, and are especially happy that you left with a deeper appreciation of the relationship between bears and people. We feel so privileged to be able to spend time with wild bears, and just love sharing that with people. Thanks so much, Marg
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Ruby Kumar wrote a review Aug 2022
Toronto, Canada1 contribution
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Everything about this lodge is wonderful. You can tell the owners take great pride in providing an amazing experience for their guests. Getting to the lodge in itself is an adventure. I loved taking the sea plane and it really sets the tone for how off grid this cabin is. Upon arrival you are greeted with lovely staff who makes you feel very welcomed. I was a solo traveler so I really appreciated how welcoming and kind the staff where. The food is incredible! Fresh, made with love and care. Room is super cute and cozy and I was able to get a very restful sleep. Don't forget to watch for the stars at night. With no light pollution it can be just beautiful. Pack light! So much is provided at the lodge - especially in terms of the proper gear. This trip is quite sedentary so take advantage of the deck to stretch out your legs or do your yoga practice etc. The staff at the lodge are from around the world which was awesome! I really appreciated the affiliation and support of a local Indigenous run business - the Kwa''lilas hotel where the group stayed before we departed. We didn't see bears but don't be so set on finding a bear that you miss everything else this stunning eco system has to offer. I live in Toronto and this was truly one of the most beautiful and unique experiences I've ever had.
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Date of stay: August 2022
5.0 of 5 bubblesValue
5.0 of 5 bubblesRooms
5.0 of 5 bubblesService
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Response from , Owner at Great Bear Lodge
Responded 11 Nov 2022
Thanks so much for your lovely comments, Ruby. We are very privileged to operate on the traditional territory of the Gwa'sala-'Nakwaxda'xw Nation, and are delighted to use the hotel they own, the Kwa'lilas. You made an excellent point about soaking in everything the ecosystem has to offer, and not just the bears. That was also a great tip to pack light, as we do try to provide everything to keep people warm and dry. Then we can save space on the seaplanes for more delicious food and drinks! Regards, Marg
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mo wrote a review Sept 2022
1 contribution1 helpful vote
3.0 of 5 bubbles
We were at Great Bear Lodge in early September. We agree with comments in other reviews about the good food, beautiful location, enthusiastic guides.
This was also to be the highlight ( and most expensive aspect) of our month trip to Canada and we were very
excited to arrive there in good weather on the seaplane.

We read the recent review from a trip later in September with interest, the writer assumes that their trips were only by boat because a landslide of two years ago meant the road to the hides was blocked. It wasn’t blocked when we were there the same month, and we are surprised that their trips were by boat as we understood that soon after we left trips would be to the platforms and that boat trips were for earlier in the year when the bears come to feed on the grass.
Basically there are three options for viewing wildlife, by boat, to the hides ( covered areas which overlook the river ) and to the platforms which are open seating near the river. When we were there the platforms hadn’t been repaired for use although we understood this was imminent. So the lesson from this is that you need to have a clear understanding as to what you will visit and how.

We did see bears on four out of six trips, although not in great numbers or for long periods of time, but we did see them in the river, catch fish and with cubs and we enjoyed these sightings and got some good photos.
For us the surprise was the journey to the platforms - 30-45 minute drive each way morning and later afternoon on a very rough dirt track, in rickety uncomfortable old school buses, the guides did an extremely good job in drIving these buses as carefully as they could but the fact is that nearly three hours a day were spent in these vehicles. There must be a better option, a land rover would probably be quicker. We really didn’t look forward to those long drives.

An additional activity took place in early afternoon, a shortish walk one day, and two boat trips. We were disappointed with our second boat trip immediately before we left. Three boats went out, our friends in another boat had a good trip , taken down the river to see the hides from below which they enjoyed. We were just taken on a pleasant trip elsewhere on the river during which we learned nothing and were mildly irritated by the constant self indulgent chatting of the two teenagers in our boat. It just felt like we were filling in time until the plane arrived.
Although one of the owners was at the lodge she was only visible for an introductory chat and when we got on the plane to leave.

The trip includes a night at a hotel in Port Hardy on the departure day. Whilst at the hotel we were not so thrilled to be told by some other guests who had been at the Lodge with us ( who had been coughing whilst there and also wearing masks on the bus) that they had just tested positive for Covid. It’s a sign of the times we live in but be aware that as the activities and dining are necessarily communal, if someone is coughing keep your distance!
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Date of stay: September 2022Trip type: Travelled as a couple
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Response from , Owner at Great Bear Lodge
Responded 22 Nov 2022
Thank you for sharing your thoughts about your visit to the lodge. We are really sorry that you were disappointed with your stay with us, as we try to exceed the expectations of every guest. You are right, that road certainly can be bumpy. We work hard to make it as smooth as possible, but it is a big task with 10 kilometres of wilderness road to maintain. We have thought about other vehicles, but thus far the school buses have offered the best option. They can handle the rigours of the road without breaking down. And a plus for us is that all of the windows can be opened, so photographers can get a photo without looking through glass when we see a bear. We will regroup to see if there is any way we can make them more comfortable. I'm sorry to hear that you felt you were just filling in time while on your boat ride on your final day. We are normally really excited to take our guests out into the estuary if they have been in platforms for their viewing sessions, so I'm really sorry that we didn't give a sense of that to you. I am glad that enjoyed the good food, beautiful location and enthusiastic guides, and wish that we could have knocked this trip out of the park for you. Sincerely, Marg
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SuttonHill wrote a review Oct 2023
Great Malvern, United Kingdom417 contributions200 helpful votes
+1
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Firstly the location of this lodge is pretty jaw dropping. The arrival on a Goose is right up there for any journeys end and the staff, guides, rooms and food were all top notch. Very friendly and helpful, they made our stay. Thanks to all.
As we were in salmon season we viewed from the open platform and the blind which are less than 20m apart - so a single location. It’s in a pretty steep river valley so light for photos was challenging. (Ideally you want something between 400mm / 600 (max) and f2.8 or 4.) We also had a walk by at 5m but alas no wide angle!!
To get there is a tortuously slow 45 minute journey on an old school bus. I understand some of the logic in this but wow….it’s mind numbing. I think we got overtaken by a tectonic plate :-)
The bear viewing was not as good as we had hoped in terms of numbers. Whether this is our expectations, climate impact or bad luck who knows.
On the plus side we saw humpbacks from the bedroom window and the northern lights so they were a bonus.
Be tempted to go in Spring to view from boats into the sedge.
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Date of stay: September 2023Trip type: Travelled with friends
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Response from Laurel S, General Manager at Great Bear Lodge
Responded 18 Oct 2023
Thank you for staying at Great Bear Lodge and thank you for sharing your feedback 😀. We sincerely appreciate reading all the parts of your tip that made Great Bear Lodge an amazing experience for you. Our team loves being here, connecting with guests, and helping people see the beauty and wildlife of our area. We know that the bus ride up to the viewing areas is not the most comfortable part of the trip - we take it slow to ease some of the bumps. We do our best to get guests to the places where we are most likely to see wildlife - sometimes that is by bus, sometimes by boat, and sometimes right at the lodge (as with the humpback sightings). Every season and every year offers something slightly different. Thank you again for visiting us! Laurel
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Tom N wrote a review Oct 2023
Austin, Texas1 contribution
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Your trip to the lodge will start with an Email or phone call to their office
Jennie is a joy to work with and will keep you updated as your trip approaches.
I chose September for the beginning of the Salmon Run ( and our 25th wedding Anniversary)
Lets start with the Staff: Tom, Marg, Kestrel, Josh, Christiana ,Nova, Yann, Alice... and I'm missing 1/2 of them. Ya'll are amazing!! 5 stars
We were lucky and saw bears every trip up to the blinds.
There is something so magical about this place and the staff.
I've seen Grizzly's in 5+ National Parks the difference is in the Parks you count your self lucky just to get a glimpse of a grizzly. At Great Bear Lodge we were astounded by hours an hours of viewing not just a glimpse of a bear behind a bush or tree. The momma bears an cubs are the cutest things ever. I was hooked with in 5 mins on my first trip to the blinds seeing a bear catch a salmon ( with her 3 cubs ) She caught 2 within 20 mins.
This was a trip of a lifetime. If you have ever wanted to view grizzles the Great Bear Lodge is the place to go!
Thank you Marg, Tom and all the Staff for making our 25th wedding anniversary so special.
Tom and Amanda from Austin Texas
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Date of stay: September 2023Trip type: Travelled with family
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Response from Laurel S, General Manager at Great Bear Lodge
Responded 22 Oct 2023
Hello Tom and Amanda! Thank you so much for all of your lovely feedback 😀. We sincerely appreciate hearing what made your trip to Great Bear Lodge so amazing, and I will share your words with the whole team. You indeed were lucky to have seen bears on all of your safaris, and that momma grizzly and her three cubs out in the river is such a beautiful scene to witness. We love when our guests get to experience all the magic of this gorgeous part of the world. Thank you for choosing to spend your holiday and your 25th wedding anniversary with us here at Great Bear Lodge 😀. Wishing you continued happiness and adventures! Laurel (I'm the Lodge Manager and I know we didn't get to meet, but your review made me beam!)
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suzcad wrote a review Aug 2022
London, United Kingdom129 contributions78 helpful votes
+1
5.0 of 5 bubbles
This isolated, utterly unspoilt corner of the vast and glorious BC wilderness is the most beautiful place we have visited in the world. Its remoteness gives it a life-affirming, almost spiritual quality. Every member of our group was moved in a way none of us quite expected.

Staying here was a real privilege and proved the perfect reset after an especially challenging couple of years. But it wasn’t just the immense and humbling scenery that was so restorative...

It was the attention to detail and friendly professionalism of Marg and her entire team. It was the dedication and passion of the young, knowledgeable guides on our twice-daily bear safaris. It was the delicious food - and the “magic” (always full!) fridge. It was the joy of engaging with new and interesting people in our group.

We thought we’d crossed this adventure off our bucket list, but now we just want to do it all over again.

And we really do find ourselves returning to the experience in our dreams.
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Date of stay: July 2022
5.0 of 5 bubblesValue
5.0 of 5 bubblesRooms
5.0 of 5 bubblesService
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Response from , Owner at Great Bear Lodge
Responded 11 Nov 2022
We are so happy that you were able to visit us in this corner of BC. We agree that it is incredibly beautiful and remote, and feel very privileged to be able to live and work here. It is so moving to hear what an impact your visit had on you, and that you enjoyed the guides, the food and the magic fridge! We would love to host you again at the lodge. Regards, Marg
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Steve D wrote a review June 2022
Portsmouth, United Kingdom352 contributions112 helpful votes
+1
5.0 of 5 bubbles
From our experience you don’t really appreciate just how good the lodge is until you’ve been to other parts of Canada, or we certainly didn’t.

Firstly the lodge is very remote and we loved the sea plane to it as this really set the scene for our adventure.

We did though come away feeling a little disappointed that we didn’t see more wildlife, especially bears. However once we had continued our journey we soon came to realise that, at the lodge you have bear experiences, whereas, in Jasper and Banff you have bear sightings and the two things are very different.

We were with a small group of seven and were incredibly fortunate to spend such quality time observing a grizzly bear and her cub over numerous days, spending up to an hour each time, before moving off to leave them in peace. Put simply, you just don’t get this type of experience elsewhere…….

Add in a fab group, a superb lodge and highly skilled team all of which made for a truly magical experience, which we can only highly recommend!!

Finally should really mention, Jennie for all of her support helping us book and prepare for our trip.
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Date of stay: June 2022
5.0 of 5 bubblesValue
5.0 of 5 bubblesRooms
5.0 of 5 bubblesService
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Response from , Owner at Great Bear Lodge
Responded 11 Nov 2022
Thanks so much for your comments, Steve. You really described well the difference between a bear sighting and a bear experience. I personally love the quiet times the we spend with bears, sitting quietly with them as they munch on sedge or scout for berries, so I'm really happy that you enjoyed that too. It's so nice to spend time with them as they go about their lives. You are right, Jennie is fantastic, and we are very lucky to have her on the team! Warm regards, Marg
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David Williams wrote a review Oct 2022
Port Talbot, United Kingdom11 contributions1 helpful vote
+1
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Marg,Tom and the staff have created the most wonderful wildlife experience. Stunning location and great viewing of grizzlies and other wildlife. The knowledge and enthusiasm of the staff gave us a memory to cherish forever. Will return.
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Date of stay: October 2022Trip type: Travelled as a couple
Room Tip: If you want grizzlies chasing salmon, check the season for the salmon runs. However you’ll get...
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Response from , Owner at Great Bear Lodge
Responded 22 Nov 2022
We are so glad that you had a wonderful experience! We would love to host you again in the future. Marg
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Willem G wrote a review Sept 2022
Utrecht Province, The Netherlands222 contributions152 helpful votes
5.0 of 5 bubbles
This was the best of our trip to Canada. You really feel at home. It is a wonderful wildlife experience. It is not only about grizzly's but also seals, eagles and many other birds. the nature isoverwelming. Our guids, Kestrel, Emma and Franco were very knowlegdable guides and lovely people. They know how to find the bears and are pleasant company.
And the food.... What Catherine and Eddy prepare is really delicious. Better tan many other places in Canada during our trip.
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Date of stay: August 2022
5.0 of 5 bubblesRooms
5.0 of 5 bubblesService
5.0 of 5 bubblesSleep Quality
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Response from , Owner at Great Bear Lodge
Responded 11 Nov 2022
Thanks so much for your comments, Willem. It is so lovely to hear that felt really at home at the lodge, and enjoyed all of the different wildlife that you saw. We agree that the guides and chefs do a great job, and feel so blessed to have them on the team. Thanks!
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77sharifah asked a question July 2020
Johor Bahru, Malaysia173 contributions10 helpful votes
Hi there! Is your place and tour wheelchair friendly? Thanks!
ChristinaB42 asked a question Mar 2019
Brossard, Canada223 contributions125 helpful votes
Is it possible to get 1 room for a family of three (Daughter 16 years old)
Answer from hneilson52
4 contributions1 helpful vote
Christina, I'm not sure, but I found the people at Great Bear Lodge to be very accomodating. My suggestion would be to contact them directly. Hans Neilson
Answer from GreatBearLodge
Port Hardy, British Columbia1 contribution1 helpful vote
Thanks so much for answering that question Laurie. You are right, we have very little autumn colour here at the lodge. Our trees that are deciduous (the red alders) merely turn to brown before winter. I would suggest coming to the west for the bears and mountains and east for the amazing fall colours!
Answer from GSimps0n
Torquay, United Kingdom179 contributions65 helpful votes
I went to Great Bear Lodge in August. Grizzly Bear trips to hides etc every morning and evening. Grizzly Bears were seen every day catching and feeding on Chum Salmon. One Grizzly passed so close to us nobody could focus their cameras on to it. Bald eagles, ducks, gulls and waders were feeding on the salmon eggs and remains. Boat trips in the afternoon kept us all occupied.
Answer from GreatBearLodge
Port Hardy, British Columbia1 contribution1 helpful vote
Hi Mark, Thanks so much for your enquiry about rates. I must apologize for the late response, I neglected to check our TripAdvisor enqueries. All of our tours are three nights in length and depart on specific dates, although you can combine multiple trips to extend your trip to 6 or 9 nights. Here are our prices for the 2018 season. They are per person based on double occupancy in Canadian dollars and are all-inclusive (except tax). Spring (May 7 to June 29) - $2455 Summer (June 30 to August 19) - $2075 Autumn (August 20 to October 19) - $3750 The price includes the following: - Seaplane flight to and from the Great Bear Lodge (departing Port Hardy) - Accommodation in a private room at the Great Bear Lodge with ensuite shower - Afternoon and morning bear viewing sessions, guided by a wildlife biologist - Wilderness-gourmet meals including complimentary wine and beer - Interpretive walks or boat excursions - Interpretive discussion and welcome orientation for wildlife viewing - Rubber boots, raingear, binoculars and a warm insulated suit, if needed Is there any other information you would like? You are always welcome to contact us through our website, as well. Regards, Marg
David Williams wrote a tip Oct 2022
Port Talbot, United Kingdom11 contributions1 helpful vote
5.0 of 5 bubbles
"If you want grizzlies chasing salmon, check the season for the salmon runs. However you’ll get better shots when feeding on dying fish."
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A M wrote a tip Oct 2022
Salt Spring Island, Canada3 contributions1 helpful vote
5.0 of 5 bubbles
"Be prepared to be patient, and enjoy! "
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KimLaurence wrote a tip Oct 2022
Birmingham, England16 contributions24 helpful votes
5.0 of 5 bubbles
"I believe all rooms are the same."
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MoJo wrote a tip Sept 2022
Manchester, United Kingdom7 contributions8 helpful votes
3.0 of 5 bubbles
"You don’t need to take waterproof clothing as it’s all provided including boots. Ask if viewing platforms are open before booking"
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SeattleReviewer123 wrote a tip Sept 2019
Seattle, WA8 contributions12 helpful votes
5.0 of 5 bubbles
"Rooms on the south side of the lodge enjoyed a water and mountain view, while those on the north side looked into the nearby forest."
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Not the right property for you?
There are more places to choose from in the Port Hardy area.
ALSO KNOWN AS
great bear hotel port hardy
LOCATION
CanadaBritish ColumbiaVancouver IslandPort Hardy
NUMBER OF ROOMS
9
Prices are provided by our partners for one room, with variable occupancy rules as provided by the property, and reflect total costs of the stay, including all taxes and fees known to our partners. Please see our partners for more details.
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GREAT BEAR LODGE: 2023 Reviews (Port Hardy, Canada - Vancouver Island) - Photos of Lodge - Tripadvisor

Frequently Asked Questions about Great Bear Lodge
Which popular attractions are close to Great Bear Lodge?
Nearby attractions include Quatse Salmon Stewardship Centre (2.3 km), Port Hardy Museum & Archives (1.3 km), and Port Hardy Visitor Centre (1.5 km).
What are some of the property amenities at Great Bear Lodge?
Some of the more popular amenities offered include free breakfast, an on-site restaurant, and a lounge.
What food & drink options are available at Great Bear Lodge?
Guests can enjoy free breakfast, an on-site restaurant, and a lounge during their stay.
What are some restaurants close to Great Bear Lodge?
Conveniently located restaurants include Cafe Guido, The Sporty Bar & Grill, and Karai Sushi & Korean Fried Chicken.
Does Great Bear Lodge have airport transportation?
Yes, Great Bear Lodge offers airport transportation for guests. We recommend calling ahead to confirm details.
Does Great Bear Lodge have any great views?
Yes, guests often enjoy the mountain view available here.
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