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Bear Claw Lodge, British Columbia

Northern British Columbia Wilderness Self-Drive

19-day tailor-made self-drive from £3,860 pp incl. flights

Summary

Short description

Take a drive on the wild side

Highlights

  • Drive some truly ultra-scenic routes, mapping remote waterways
  • Stay in remote timber lodges
  • Spot bears on an island cruise
  • Knit it all together with included ferry rides along hidden passages
  • Spend two nights in a city great – Vancouver

In Brief

  • 2 Nights Vancouver
  • 2 Nights Victoria
  • 2 Nights Quadra Island
  • 1 Night Port Hardy
  • 1 Night Prince Rupert
  • 2 Nights Bear Claw Lodge
  • 1 Night Smithers
  • 1 Night Prince George
  • 1 Night Williams Lake
  • 2 Nights Gold Bridge
  • 2 Nights Whistler

About

Recommended for:
Activity adventure | City | History & culture | Lodges | Mountains | Self-drive | Wildlife

This a true driving holiday. Heading well off the beaten track, you’ll map remote rivers, hop between islands on scenic ferries and plunge through old-growth forests to showcase the British Columbia coast and interior at their wild best. Along the way, you’ll stay in luxurious log-cabin lodges, where you’ll explore with lazy hikes and an included wildlife cruise, offering the chance to spot everything from whales to black bears. It’s all bookended by two city-slicking stays in Vancouver, paired with a pause among Whistler’s mountainside idyll.


Day by day itinerary

Days 1-2
UK/Vancouver

After enjoying your complimentary airport-lounge access, you’ll fly out to Vancouver, arriving the same day. Here, you’ll have a choice between the downtown location and handcrafted furnishings of our Superior hotel, or the beautiful waterfront setting of the luxurious Deluxe alternative, taken in by floor-to-ceiling windows. Either way, you’ll be perfectly positioned to explore, with the city’s famous dining scene, art galleries and microbreweries competing for your attention. The sea views and harbour idyll of the nearby waterfront walk are a further highlight.

Stay: Sutton Place Hotel (Superior) or Fairmont Waterfront (Deluxe)

Days 3-4
Victoria, Vancouver Island

Picking up your hire car today, you’ll set off for Vancouver Island with an included ferry hop to Victoria – Canada’s most English city. It’s something showcased across leafy parks, Victorian mansions and pretty multicoloured boutiques, all wrapped up in idyllic coastal scenery. We’ve also included entrance into nearby Butchart – one of the world’s most impressive botanic gardens. It’s a truly stunning collection of colourful flora, with influences ranging from around the globe. You’ll end tonight in one of Victoria’s finest hotels, where each room features harbour views from private balconies.

Stay: Inn at Laurel Point, Victoria, British Columbia (Superior) or The Fairmont Empress (Deluxe)

Days 5-6
Quadra Island

You’ll be leaving the city behind today, plunging through verdant forests while tracing the coast north to Campbell River – the “Salmon Capital of the World”. After perhaps pausing for some fishing or the cascading torrents of nearby Elk Falls, your next included ferry jaunt will see you over to Quadra Island for two nights in a spa getaway whose ocean views are showcased in cosy rooms. You’ll explore further the next day, with an included wildlife cruise, darting between lush inlets to spot everything from black bears and bald eagles to whales and dolphins. Want more? There’s also the option of heading out on kayaks, bike trails and fishing tips.

Stay: April Point Resort & Spa, Quadra Island (Standard)

Day 7
Port Hardy

Following a ferry hop back to the mainland, continue north, dipping inland to wind through forested hills before returning to the coast to arrive at Port Hardy. Staying in its newest hotel, you’ll be perfectly positioned just back from the marina. However, those that look just a little further from this seafront town will be rewarded with seawall walks, pretty beaches and an intriguing First Nations heritage that lives on in totems and the aptly named “big houses”.

Stay: Quarterdeck Inn (Superior) or Kwa’Lilas (Deluxe)

Day 8
Prince Rupert

Although your ferry journeys might have become something of a custom by now, this one is a special highlight. You’ll be brought out of Port Hardy for a full day spent weaving through wilderness islands and forested bays, sailing the start of the famous Inside Passage route that leads all the way to Alaska. You'll arrive in Prince Rupert, a diminutive town poised on the shores of Kaien Island. It’s a gateway to the region’s wilderness areas, with scenic walks and road trips bringing you among stilted fishing villages and old-growth woodlands. Back in town, you’ll spend the night in a delightfully contemporary hotel, whose superb breakfast spread – included tomorrow – features a hot waffle station.

Stay: Prestige Prince Rupert Hotel (Superior)

Days 9-10
Bear Claw Lodge

Heading inland, you’ll pass protected areas and map the rushing curves of the Skeena River to arrive at the fantastic Bear Claw Lodge. This luxury, log-cabin offering is perched right on its own lake, its garden informing the restaurant menus and the views taken in by floor-to-ceiling windows and wood-clad rooms. Each comes complete with private balcony or patio. You’ll also want to head out and explore, with everything from scenic hikes and horseback rides to kayaking, fishing and snorkelling with salmon on offer. You’ll return from your adventures each day to games-room fun, Jacuzzi soaks and even optional massages.

Stay: Bear Claw Lodge (Superior)

Meals: B

Day 11
Smithers

Continuing on today, you’ll drive south through Bulkley Canyon, where eagles, deer, bear and the occasional moose are common sightings. Then, the Babine River Corridor Provincial Park will see you into Smithers. From its pretty, riverside setting, you’ll have a whole valley to explore, with canoeing, kayaking and hiking among the adventurous highlights. Back in town, you’ll be impressed by the alpine chic, with red-brick sidewalks and high gables de rigueur. It’s a theme that continues to your hotel, where you’ll have free use of cruiser bikes to explore historic Main Street.

Stay: Prestige Hudson Bay Lodge (Superior)

Meals: B

Day 12
Prince George

You’ve another beautiful drive ahead of you today, this time bisecting the dense forests of the Omineca Protected Area. Passing small waterbodies and the spectacular Burns Lake, you’ll arrive into Prince George. Alongside the usual waterfall hikes and river kayaking, there’s plenty of First-Nations heritage here, with four Indian Reserves nearby. End the night in your delightfully modern hotel, complete with whirlpool tub.

Stay: Sandman Signature Hotel (Superior)

Day 13
Williams Lake

Following the Fraser River south, today’s drive will bring you down to Williams Lake. As its name suggests, this is a town perched on a beautifully glassy body of water – the backdrop to trails and pretty parks. The region has even been termed by Bike magazine as the “Shangri-La of Mountain Biking”. Back in town, your central hotel has all of Williams Lake’s welcoming pubs and diverse restaurants on its doorstep – along with the BC Cowboy Hall of Fame. Breakfast is also included the following day.

Stay: Coast Fraser Inn (Superior)

Days 14-15
Gold Bridge

Your journey south today will see the forest break out into lake gasps and remote meadows home to delightful timber ranches. It’s all perfectly evocative of the region’s frontier past, not least for the final stretch to Gold Bridge, where you’ll pass through cragged mountains and alongside historic train tracks. It won't come as a surprise that, back in the 1800s, this was once the old goldrush highway – something remembered today by such historic outposts as the 100 Mile House. It’s all the delightful setting for your log-cabin lodge, where lakeside wilderness is paired with hot-tub luxuries. Summer and winter impress equally here, with heliskiing matched against fishing and horseback rides. Whichever you choose, though, fine dining and spa indulgence await over your two-night stay.

Stay: Tyax Lodge (Superior)

Days 16-17
Whistler

After following the long, riverine Carpenter Lake back east, you’ll turn south once more, letting mountain valleys wind you on to Whistler. Although this alpine town – complete with colourful high gables – found its fame as the venue of the 2010 Winter Olympics, it’s now better known as a summer getaway. Ski slopes melt into fantastic hiking trails, the Peak 2 Peak Gondola summits truly stunning views and microbreweries serve up the finest in local crafts. Lastly, although our Scandi-chic Superior hotel option is found right in its village centre, the upgrade to the Fairmont Chateau Whistler is well worth it. It’s a grand dame of an icon – a castle flung out into the forests.

Stay: Delta Whistler Village Suites (Superior) or Chateau Fairmont Whistler (Deluxe)

Days 18-19
Depart for UK

Travelling the world famous Sea to Sky Highway, the last leg of your trip will see descend out of the mountains to skirt the edge of Howe Sound and arrive back in Vancouver. Dropping your car off at the airport, board your overnight flight home.


Map

Pricing

Any element of this itinerary can be adjusted to suit your needs. Just contact us to find out more.

19-day tailor-made self-drive from £3,860 incl. flights

Superior

Low Season

from £3,860 pp. incl. flights

High Season

from £4,250 pp. incl. flights

Season : 01 Apr - 19 August 2019

Includes

  • Complimentary UK airport departure lounge access
  • Return flights between the UK and Vancouver
  • 14 days Car hire in a Intermediate vehicle with GPS (pickup city centre / drop off airport)
  • 17 nts accommodation 
  • Ferry between Tsawwassen (Vancouver) and Swartz Bay (Victoria)*
  • Admission to Butchart Gardens
  • Return Ferry (with car) between Campbell River and Quadra Island**
  • 3 hr Zodiac wildlife adventure cruise with a trained naturalist, watching for black bears, stellar sea lions, seals, whales and Pacific white-sided dolphins. You'll see bald eagles swoop from the treetops and majestic herons fishing in the tidal pools.
  • Ferry between Port Hardy and Prince Rupert via the Inside Passage***
  • 2 nights at Bear Claw Lodge including opportunities for fishing, river kayaking, hiking plus First Nations cultural tours****
  • 2 nights at Tyax Lodge combining lakeside wilderness with hot-tub luxuries
  • Drive the "Sea to Sky Highway" between Whistler and Vancouver - one of the most scenic drives in Canada

* The BC ferry between Tsawwassen and Swartz Bay departs hourly between 08:00am and 10:00pm and takes 1 hour 35 minutes

** The BC ferry between Campbell River and Quadra Island departs approximately every hour until 9:45pm, the crossing is just 10 minutes

*** The BC ferry between Port Hardy and Prince Rupert departs at 07:30am (not daily) - the crossing is approximately 16 hours, seat reservation in the Aurora Lounge are included

**** Bear Claw Lodge is located 40km from the highway via gravel road, guests have the option to drive to the lodge, or leave the rental car in Hazelton or Terrace and get picked-up by the lodge transfer. This is a remote location and its a long drive to access the lodge.


Bear Claw Lodge closes on 27 August 2019 for the season



Terms & Conditions

Prices are per person based on two people sharing a twin/double room; prices are subject to availability and possible change; normal booking conditions apply.

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