Just north of the Campbell River in British Columbia is one of the largest fjords on the coast a wild and remote area known as Knight Inlet.
Just north of the Campbell River in British Columbia is a wild and remote area of the Pacific Northwest known as Knight Inlet. It is one of the largest fjords on the coast and offers magnificent scenery amongst steep cliffs which fall away to glacial-fed water. The only sounds are the calls of seabirds, the thunder of waterfalls and the slapping of the water on the shore.
Knight Inlet Lodge is tucked 60km into Glendale Cove and is an assortment of construction styles from the early 1940s when it was a logging camp. Recent construction has provided modern buildings the Palace, Native House and Lair are cedar with private bathrooms. Most rooms have one large and one single bed and most buildings have lounges with wood stoves. Average occupancy is around 24 at one time, so it's never crowded at Knight Inlet Lodge.
Glendale Cove has British Columbia's largest concentration of brown bears. Salmon return to the river in autumn making it peak time for visits from the grizzlies and there could be up to 50 within eight kilometres of the lodge. Black bears and grizzlies actually begin to return to the estuary from hibernation around April to feed on the nutritious and luxuriant spring sedges, succulents, grasses, mussels and barnacles. It is the time to see mothers proudly bringing their cubs into the natural world and spring viewing is done from boats, giving fantastic photo opportunities of the beasts, large and small, lumbering around in the lush green environment, without disturbing them.
In mid-summer many of the bears move into the timber clearings to feast on wild berries and you see several each day as they move around the estuary and along the logging roads.
But grizzly and black bears aren't the only creatures you will see around Knight Inlet. Bald eagles, 16 pods of orca whales, humpback and minke whales, white-sided dolphins, sea lions, seals and porpoises all thrive in the local environs.
Estuary float trips are a wonderful way to spend a few hours close to the lodge and in the company of a naturalist. You silently float along with the only sound the flapping wings of bald eagles, loons, geese and swans. You will also see river otters and seals and it is not uncommon to spot a black or grizzly bear on the tidal flats.
If you are staying for two or more days, a walk in an old-growth forest is available. The Kwalate Valley is a 20-minute boat ride and then a walk alongside the Kwalate River to old, moss-covered trees and magnificent waterfalls. The walk is along the valley floor and can be done at a leisurely pace and is usually done in the morning so a picnic lunch can be enjoyed.
The Klinaklini River cuts through the enormous Coast Mountain range and flows into the inlets adjacent to the Inside Passage. The lodge has a flat-hulled jet boat enabling them to travel into the shallows and access scenery rarely seen by anyone.
Klinaklini Valley is home to the grizzly, wolf, cougar, moose, wolverine, lynx, marten, mink and bald eagle. You are bound to see tracks as you head off on a day-long trip along an amazing river system.
You pass the village site of Tswadi where the First Nation people still collect oily herring-like fish called eulachon and you will see hanging glaciers and the snow-covered peaks of the Silverthrone ice fields in the distance. It's real pioneering stuff!
The lodge is a most welcome place at the end of each day's exploring, with a relaxing hot tub, comfortable bed and a gourmet meal readily prepared for you. The guides are experienced and are particularly safety-conscious. Their extensive knowledge gives a deep understanding of the wonderful creatures you will see and they offer a tempting range of tours.