Where the Wild Things are

Stand in awe as Black bears graze steps away from your car. Try to count vibrant-red spawning salmon swimming up Bailey’s Chute waterfall every August. Spot massive moose roaming snow-covered meadows.

Embark on guided wilderness safaris to view bears, deer, wolves, beavers, and 250 species of birdlife. Fill your camera’s memory card with images of your own wildlife experiences, right here, where the wild things are.

Wildlife Watching

A bull moose preparing for winterOur boundless wilderness and diverse ecosystem means there’s no shortage of wildlife both in the Park and in nearby Clearwater. You can easily enjoy all of it, without admission, feeding times or fences.

We can’t predict where the wildlife will roam…they just naturally appear on the banks of the Clearwater and Murtle Rivers as you paddle past, in wildflower meadows as you climb mountain trails, floating in thermal updrafts over lakes and campsites.

You can explore on your own, or unlock the secrets of Wells Gray’s natural wonders with an expert guide at your side. Local outfitters make exploring the wilderness safe, memorable and educational.

Spawning Salmon

Witness one of Nature’s most spectacular feats as Sockeye Salmon return to their spawning grounds between August and October. The arrival of vibrant-red salmon marks the end of a three-year, 4,000-kilometre journey that takes them from their spawning grounds in Wells Gray, to Alaska and back.

SIMPCW first nations netting Sockey on raft River   Salmon returning to spawn   Catching Sockeye using traditional SIMPCW first nations skills

You can hike to Bailey’s Chute and watch in wonder as thousands of Sockeyes jump their way up the waterfall, narrowly escaping the paws of Black bears and Grizzlies who like to fish from shore. Visit the Raft River Salmon Viewing Platform (map) to watch the spectacle or take part in the annual First Fish Celebration.

Uncovering the taditional   SIMPCW first nations giving thanks to the

Bears in the Wild

You’ll always remember just where you were the first (and every) time you spot a bear. The Park’s robust population of both Black bears and Grizzlies means chances are good you’ll encounter them emerging from the thickness of the forest, grazing the grasses and berries along the roadside, in campgrounds and on hiking trails especially in early summer and again in the early fall.

Young black bear feeding on shoots at the roadside in Wells Gray park   A Cinnamon bear eating blueberries in Wells Gray Park   A Black bear looking for an easy meal in Wells Gray Park

Mosquito Warning!

When we say our bugs are bigger than anywhere else, it’s no exaggeration! Mosquitoes are a fact of life when travelling in rural Canada, especially in the height of summer, so come prepared. Good bug spray and mosquito netting will go a long way toward a comfortable stay.

When to Go

  • Bears are most visible at lower elevations in May and June when they’re feeding on forested trails in the Corridor
  • Bears move to higher elevations during summer months of July and August
  • You’ll start to see bears return to lower elevations in September and October
  • Bears hibernate during the winter months

Need to Know

Bears spot you long before you spot them, but you never want to surprise a bear – after all, they are wild animals with strong fight or flight instincts. Follow safe bear watching etiquette for a wildlife experience you’ll always remember:
  • Never approach or follow bears; respect their need for space
  • Do no block their line of travel or escape routes
  • Keep at least 50 metres/150 feet (three bus lengths) from bears and remain in your vehicle
  • Use a telephoto lens, spotting scope and binoculars to get an “up-close” view
  • Pull well off the road to prevent accidents. Do not leave the safety of your vehicle
  • Limit the time you spend watching to one minute or less
  • Respect the needs of denning bears, newborn and young cubs
  • Keep control of your children and pets at all times
  • Do not feed bears
  • Respect the speed limit – many animals (not just bears) navigate the roads as they migrate through the Park