Stretching for 400 kilometres along British Columbia’s central coast, the Great Bear Rainforest is the largest intact temperate rainforest in the world. This beautifully rugged coast offers the adventurous traveller with diverse kayaking routes, abundant wildlife, and a rich First Nations culture.

In light of the COVID pandemic we are currently only able to accept new bookings from Canadian residents. We will be opening new bookings to international visitors as soon as we receive some clarity on when the borders will be re-opening for tourism. We ask that international visitors email us with their preferred tour and dates and we will contact them when new bookings from international visitors are being accepted.

We were able to host a number of Canadian (“social bubble”) groups at our Base Camps in the summer of 2020 and have learned a lot about how to responsibly operate our tours with the additional safety measures. Based on these experiences, we are making some operational modifications in order to once again welcome a wider range of guests on both the Base Camp and Expedition tours this year (not limited to social bubbles).

Please view our COVID-Response page for more details on the changes we are implementing for the 2021 season.

In light of the COVID pandemic we are currently only able to accept new bookings from Canadian residents. We will be opening new bookings to international visitors as soon as we receive some clarity on when the borders will be re-opening for tourism. Please email us to be waitlisted.

As we kayak between the remote wilderness Islands to the north of Bella Bella and the coastal village of Klemtu we enjoy diverse kayaking conditions, campsites, and scenery. Our route takes us down protected inlets, along open coastline, and through narrow passages with strong tidal currents. We camp on long sandy beaches, islands with shell beaches, and small beaches of pebbles and cobble. All the time we are surrounded by the rainforest that is dominated by ancient red cedar, western hemlock, and giant Sitka spruce trees. The rainforest and surrounding ocean are intricately entwined to form a rich and diverse ecosystem. The forest is home to a wide variety of wildlife including ravens, bald eagles, sandhill cranes, wolves, deer, and black bears and grizzly bears. The sea is home to salmon, orcas (killer whales), humpback whales, seals, sea lions, dolphins and porpoises. We view a wide variety of wildlife as we kayak but many of the land animals are shy and elusive and sometimes we just see their telltale tracks in the sand or hear a howl at night. If we are lucky we may catch a glimpse of a wolf or grizzly bear foraging on the shore.

We travel through the traditional territories of both the Kitasoo Xai’xais and Heiltsuk First Nations. This has been their home for thousands of years and during our travels we encounter evidence of past and present use. At low tide we may come across stone fish traps and when walking through the rainforest culturally modified trees may be seen.

This tour is not for beginners and we require participants to have prior kayaking experience. Compared to our other tours, the Great Bear Rainforest tour is more exploratory in nature and leaves the itinerary more flexible to deal with the dynamic environment we kayak through. Contact us to see if this tour is right for you.

We provide high quality three season tents. For couples we provide three person tents and for solo travellers a slightly smaller tent. Therm-a-rest sleeping pads and warm mummy style sleeping bags with liners are all provided to ensure a good night’s sleep. A library of natural history books is on every trip. On the water we use stable single and double fibreglass kayaks and lightweight carbon/vinyl paddles. Waterproof kayaking jackets and neoprene kayaking mitts are provided to keep you warm and dry while kayaking. 

2021 Price: $3295 CAD per person plus 5% Goods and Services Tax (GST).

Other currencies: Click for £ GBP / € EUR / $ USD and taxes

Group Size: Maximum of eight guests and two guides.

Participants: This tour is adult-oriented but participants as young as 15 may be accepted.

Suitability: Intermediate to advanced kayakers. Is this tour right for you?

Departs and Finishes: Port McNeill, Vancouver Island.

Route: Bella Bella to Klemtu

Grizzly Bear Viewing Day Trips(opens in a new tab) Many of our guests add a grizzly bear watching day trip before or after they join us kayaking.

Sea Otter Viewing Day Trips(opens in a new tab) Add a sea otter viewing day trip before or after you join us kayaking.

Includes: We provide you with all the necessary kayaking and camping equipment, including kayaks, paddling jackets, PFD (life jacket), group shelters, tents, sleeping pads, camp chairs and sleeping bags (you may bring your own). A comprehensive list of required personal items can be read by clicking on the “Preparation” tab above. All meals during the kayak trip are provided and prepared by your guides. We’re proud of our menu that includes abundant fresh fruits and vegetables, a wide variety of international dishes, and freshly baked treats. Most dietary restrictions can be accommodated given sufficient prior notification. Transportation is all-inclusive from Port McNeill by our network of vans and scheduled ferries.

What is not included: We do not provide transport from your home to Port McNeill, nor do we provide airport transfers. Any meals outside the kayak portion of the tour are your responsibility. Travel insurance for accidents or emergency evacuation is not provided; we recommend you purchase a policy before leaving home. The trip price does not include guide gratuities; should you feel that the service was exemplary, it is always appreciated.

Exact kayaking routes may vary depending on possible wildlife sightings, currents, tides and weather.

Day 0 - Arrive in Port McNeill the day before the kayak tour departs.
There is a pre-trip meeting at 7:00 pm with your guides at the Kingfisher Office. Your guides provide you with an overview for your trip, distribute dry bags to pack your clothing, and answer any questions you may have.
Meals Included: None

Day 1 - An early morning. The ferry to Bella Bella departs at 7:30 am but we need to be there 2 hours before departure so we pick you up at your hotel at 5:00 am.
We will walk on the ferry with our kayaks and gear. After a scenic ferry ride we arrive in Bella Bella around 1:00 pm and will load our kayaks and gear on the beach and make our way to our first camping area for the night.
The cost of the ferry between Port Hardy and Bella Bella is included in the tour price.
Meals Included: Dinner. Breakfast and lunch is at guests’ expense on the ferry

Day 2 to 9 - This trip is run ‘expedition’ style, we leave our itinerary very open to ensure our flexibility. This is a beautiful area to paddle, but we must work with the conditions and remain open to adventure. Each day, your guides assess the weather, tides, and sea state to determine the destination for the day. The general plan is to begin the trip by in the islands and channels just north of Seaforth Chanel. From here we cross Millbanke Sound and through Higgins Passage to Laredo Sound. We then head north exploring Swindle Island and the southern reaches of Princess Royal Island before heading east through Meyers Pass toward Klemtu.

We can expect a combination of exposed open coastline and more protected inner passageways during this trip. Swell, wind, and open water crossings are common. As this is a nomadic tour, camp is usually moved each night. We may have an opportunity to stay two nights at one camp if conditions allow.
Meals Included: Breakfast - Lunch – Dinner

Day 10 - Our last morning is spent kayaking to the village of Klemtu. We arrive in the village early in the afternoon and if available we may visit the village's Big House. The ferry departs Klemtu at 4:00 pm and arrives in Port Hardy at 11:30 pm where our van is waiting to transport the group, gear, and kayaks back to Port McNeill. The cost of the ferry between Klemtu and Port Hardy is included in the tour price.
Meals Included: Breakfast – Lunch. Dinner available on the ferry at guests’ expense

This tour departs from Port McNeill on northern Vancouver Island, in British Columbia, Canada. You can travel to Port McNeill by car or plane.


If driving from the Vancouver area on the Mainland of British Columbia to Port McNeill you need to sail on BC Ferries to either Nanaimo or Victoria on Vancouver Island. From Washington State, Coho Ferry sails between Port Angeles and Victoria. Drive time from Victoria to Port McNeill is approximately 5.5 hours, and from Nanaimo to Port McNeill is approximately 4 hours.

Driving to Port McNeill is quite straightforward. From Victoria drive north on highway 1 to Nanaimo. From Nanaimo head north on Highway 19 until you see the sign for Port McNeill. Port McNeill is 1 minute off the main highway. The only other option to this route is north of Nanaimo just before you reach Parksville you can take the seaside route on Highway 19A. This route rejoins the main Highway 19 at Campbell River. The seaside route may add an extra hour to your trip.


Flights to Port Hardy (YZT), the closest airport to Port McNeill, depart from the south terminal of Vancouver International Airport (YVR) and are approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes. These flights are operated by Pacific Coastal Airlines. Port Hardy airport is a 30 minute taxi ride from Port McNeill.

If you are planning on renting a car on Vancouver Island (and not stopping in Vancouver), you can also fly with Air Canada to either Nanaimo (YCD), Victoria (YYJ) or Campbell River (YBL) on Vancouver Island. Another option is to fly with WestJet Airlines via Calgary (YYC) or Edmonton (YEG) to Comox (YQQ) on Vancouver Island. Comox is about 2 1/2 hour drive south of Port McNeill.

Kenmore Air operates float plane service to Port McNeill from Seattle, Washington.

Recommended Port McNeill Accommodations

Black Bear Resort - Can be booked with your kayak tour.

Additional Port McNeill Accommodations

Humpback Inn
Haida Way Motor Inn
Dalewood Inn
Ocean Comfort B&B
Cluxewe Resort

Our Guest Handbook contains details on preparing for your kayak tour. Included in the handbook is travel and accommodation information, a list of what to bring, what you can expect while you are kayaking, wildlife viewing etiquette, and medical and release forms.

The handbook answers commonly asked questions. However, do not hesitate to contact us with any specific questions you may have. The handbook is in PDF format. If you do not have a PDF viewer one can be downloaded free from Adobe.

For quick reference, below is what you should be bringing on your kayak tour. We provide everything else.

While the summer months in British Columbia are mostly warm and sunny, we still have a few cold and wet days. After all, the coast of British Columbia is the world's largest temperate rainforest. For maximum enjoyment on your trip in all types of weather please bring the items listed below.

What to Bring

It is important that your clothing be made of synthetic materials or wool to retain their warmth when wet. Most synthetics also have the advantage of being quick drying. Avoid cotton clothing because they lack warmth if wet and take a very long time to dry.

All of the items listed below need to fit into four dry bags (which we supply). If you have any questions on what you need to bring please feel free to contact us.

Sleeping bag – fits into 20 litre dry bag
We supply sleeping bags, liners, and pillows to all guests but if you prefer to bring your own we recommend:
● A three season synthetic insulated bag

Clothing – fits into 20 litre dry bag

Please bring everything listed. There is duplication and you may not need everything, but in the event of getting wet or cold you will be glad you have it. While many people consider long underwear to be a winter item it can make a world of difference on a cool summer evening and can double as leggings under shorts during the day. The biggest heat loss area is the head and a warm hat can add immensely to your comfort.
● 1 pairs of short
● 2 pair of pants
● 2 long sleeve shirts
● 2 short sleeve shirts
● 2 sweater or sweatshirt
● 4 to 7 pairs of socks
● 2 sets of long underwear
● 4 to 7 pairs of underwear
● 1 swimsuit
● 1 fleece jacket
● 1 baseball cap or sun hat
● 1 wool or fleece cap

Rain gear – fits into 10 litre dry bag
We provide waterproof kayaking jackets but you still need rain gear for around camp. Rain gear does not need to be breathable but it should be be waterproof – not water-repellent.
● 1 waterproof rain jacket with hood or rain hat
● 1 pair of waterproof rain pants

Personal items – fits into 10 litre dry bag
● Toiletries
● Sun screen
● Sunglasses with a retainer
● Prescription eyeglasses or contacts
● Spare eyeglasses or contacts
● Wet Wipes
● Synthetic camp towel
● Medication
● Spare medication
● Insect repellent
● Book
● Flashlight and batteries
● Camera
● Extra digital storage and batteries

Footwear – either worn or packed loose
● sandals or shoes you can get wet
● Walking or running shoes (preferably waterproofed)

● Rubber boots (some guests prefer these instead of wet shoes or sandals for kayaking. But, if you go too deep when entering or exiting your kayak the boots will be wet for the remainder of the trip).
● Wool or fleece gloves or mitts (if your hands easily get cold these are good to have for the evenings)
● Paddling or cycling gloves (we provide kayaking mitts for warmth, but if you are prone to blisters you may find cycling or paddling gloves to be beneficial).
● Farmer Jane/John wet suit to wear kayaking.
● Drysuit or drypants to wear kayaking.

Suggested reading

All of our tours carry a small library of field guides and local history books. The two books listed below are larger “coffee table” books that are too big to fit in our kayaks. If you wish to learn more about the area prior to your trip these books provide a great narrative with stunning photographs.

Each title is linked to and open in a new window.
The Great Bear Rainforest: Canada’s Forgotten Coast
The Last Wild Wolves: Ghosts of the Rain Forest


Your guides have charts of the area and will review them with guests each day. If you wish to bring your own chart(s) they are listed below. Each chart is linked to the corresponding page on the Canadian Hydrographic Service’s website and you can search where to buy these charts locally (links will open in a new window).

3726 Laredo Sound and Approaches – 1:77,217
3737 Laredo Channel including Laredo Inlet and Surf Inlet – 1:77,429
3941 Channels Vicinity of Milbanke Sound – 1:40,000
3943 Finlayson Channel and Tolmie Channel – 1:40,000

While each of our kayak tours and routes will vary based on possible wildlife sightings, currents, tides and weather the below map highlights the general area that our base camp kayak tour operates in.

Charts: You do not need to bring charts on this kayak tour. Your guides have charts of the area and will review them with guests each day. If you wish to bring your own chart(s) they are listed below. Each chart is linked to the corresponding page on the Canadian Hydrographic Service's website and you can search where to buy these charts locally (links will open in a new window).

3726 Laredo Sound and Approaches – 1:77,217
3737 Laredo Channel including Laredo Inlet and Surf Inlet – 1:77,429
3941 Channels Vicinity of Milbanke Sound – 1:40,000
3943 Finlayson Channel and Tolmie Channel – 1:40,000


We think our tours are pretty great and so do our guests.
Below are excerpts from a few TripAdvisor reviews.
Visit TripAdvisor to view all our reviews.

"Two weeks paddling from Klemtu to BellaBella in Great Bear Rainforest of BC - my third extended trip with Kingfisher (Haida Gwaii in 2011 and Great Bear in 2013). Each trip was amazing in its own right, affording a wide-ranging experience of what each area had to offer: paddling and camping in varied conditions, the wildlife to be found on land and on the waters, First American cultures that have inhabited the region for millennia, extraordinary vistas and sunsets, and fabulous people with hom to share the experience. Our guides on each trip took the trouble to learn each clients' hopes and expectations, and do their best (weather and other conditions permitting) to tailor an experience that would fulfill them. On each trip, I learned a great deal, in a safe environment, while having loads of fun.

As a native of the eastern United States, I have been again and again astounded by the extent and majesty of the wilderness in coastal BC, the scale of the first growth forests in Haida Gwaii to be sure, and in both areas the diversity of life to be found in the forests and waters, and especially the intertidal zones. On this most recent trip, we found wolf and bear tracks, saw deer gamboling at waters edge and swimming between islands, minks scrambling along a white sand beach at sunset, humpback whales feeding in a channel a few yards from our campsite, seals, sea lions, and river otters, eagles, ravens, osprey, herons, harlequin ducks, oystercatchers.... I cannot begin to name all of the stars, jellies, anemones, urchins, crabs, sea cucumbers, and other life in the shallows. Our special treat this trip while paddling on the outer coast was to encounter dozens of sea otters playing in and around kelp forests, some with their babies playfully clinging to their bellies as they swam.

Paddlers should have intermediate skills, have some experience kayak camping and be moderately fit for these expeditions.The boats were top quality expedition kayaks and fully loaded, which made them very stable on the water but also required some heavy lifting by the group to get them up beyond the level of the next high tide when landing to set up camp for the night (tides range about 15-20 feet). Kingfisher provided quality camping equipment (tents and tarps, Thermarests, sleeping bags, etc.) and a fully equiped, well-stocked kitchen--suffice to say our experience of wilderness camping was a pampered one, with a varied menu of breakfasts, lunch, dinner and snacks that incorporated fresh fruits and vegetables throughout the two week journey. We didn't do any fishing this time, but one of the highlights of a previous trip was the fresh-caught salmon Andrew prepared over an open fire on the beach.

Kingfisher is outstanding. Andrew recruits and develops excellent people to lead his trips. He maintains excellent, respectful relationships with the First American peoples in the area. His trips are well planned and respectful of the environments visited.

My trips provided, as several previous posters have noted, many lifetime memories, of a beautiful part of the world, of great people, of personal challenges met. Thank you, Andrew, and Don and Allie, Jeremy, Silke and Darren --you're great!"
Read the full review on TripAdvisor

Book Now - Risk Free

Use our secure online booking system below to secure your spot(s). Your deposit is fully refundable for 72 hours after your booking. This gives you three days to sort out travel plans and ensure you don't lose your spot(s). If you can't make the trip, let us know by phone or email within 72 hours of booking for a full refund of your deposit.

If you prefer to book by phone, please give us a call toll free in North America at 1-866-546-3437 or internationally call +1-250-956-4617. If you have questions on any of our kayak tours please give us a call or send us an email.

To prevent our e-mailed reply from going into your SPAM folder, please add to your Address Book or Allowed Sender List.


A $250 CAD per person deposit is required to permanently reserve your spots(s) on a base camp kayak tour, the remaining balance is due 30 days before the tour’s departure date.

A $500 CAD per person deposit is required to permanently reserve your spot(s) on  an explorer kayak tour and the remaining balance is due 60 days before the tour’s departure date.

Please note our cancellation policy

We accept Visa, MasterCard, Discover, American Express, and JCB cards. Please note that all prices are in Canadian dollars and that 5% Goods and Services Tax (GST) will be added to the price of each tour.

Group Discounts

Save 5% when booking 4 to 9 people on a base camp tour or 4 to 7 people on an explorer tour. Save 10% when booking 10 people on a base camp tour or 8 people on an Explorer tour. Discounts are applied automatically when you book based on the number of people. If members of your group are booking separately please let us know and we can manually update your invoices to reflect the group discount.

First click the name of the tour below that you wish to book and then select the tour's departure date from the calendar.

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