When you come to Whistler, wether it’s at a coffee shop or out on an adventure, you are sure to encounter some of the locals. Many hail from all over the world and have come to the mountains in search of snow or dirt; But there are some locals that have been here longer than any of the others- the bears! Over 60 black bears call Whistler home and it’s very likely you will see one on your trip. Here’s what to expect when bear watching in Whistler!
When to see the bears
The bears emerge from hibernation in spring depending on the temperatures. Generally, you can see bears in Whistler from May until the end of October when they go into their dens for the winter season. These furry locals are most active at dawn and dusk. They also follow a feeding pattern that takes them from the valley bottom to higher mountain elevations as the summer continues.
How to view bears safely
Bears are wild animals and it’s important to preserve just that. Whistler works very hard at maintaining cohabitation with the wild animals that also call the area home. The following are tips to make viewing safe for both parties.
- If you see a bear, view it from a distance and do not corner it.
- Do not try to feed the bears. Bears that learn that people are a source of food become hazardous to both themselves and humans.
- Bring binoculars to observe the bears from a safe distance.
- Avoid perfumes or strong scents as they can act as a repellant since the bears do not understand the scents
- Dress in layers to accommodate the weather.
Where to see the bears
Travel in the comfort of an off-road vehicle to popular feeding sites and family daybeds in the Whistler Olympic Park led by experienced professionals. In addition to potentially seeing a bear in its natural habitat, you will be exposed to a wealth of knowledge about the local flora, fauna, ecology and bear biology.
The Gondolas or chairlifts
When traveling on the gondola or chairlift make sure to look down! Often, you will see a bear sauntering across the ski run or munching on the grass.
The Whistler Bike Park
The Whistler Bike Park is home to quite a few members of the black bear population. As a result, it is not uncommon to see a bear from the chairlift or even when riding down the trails. If you do encounter a bear up close, remember to stay calm, back away slowly and allow the bear space to exit.
Bear viewing is another one-of-a-kind adventure that can be found in Whistler and one you won’t want to miss. Make sure to add this to your list of things to do when planning your spring, summer or fall vacation. Interested in other activities? Whistler Reservations can help you create your perfect Whistler experience.