King Pacific Outdoor Adventure Lodge
If you are interested in outdoor adventure activity, yet you enjoy gourmet dining, snugly robes and a soft place to rest your head at night, I have just the place for you in British Columbia, Canada. Former San Francisco 49er football quarter back Joe Montana came here with his family and movie star Kevin Costner enjoyed this water world, otherwise known as King Pacific Lodge.
Once you have landed in Barnard Harbor via float plane, you’ll be greeted with a glass of champagne and ushered to your room in the luxury lodge. But don’t head inside just yet. The back deck behind King Pacific Lodge is the place to watch sea otters dive for fish heads after the fishing boats have returned or maybe you’ll get lucky and spot an eagle.
Seeking solitude at King Pacific Lodge
Love fishing and getting away to the great outdoors? Walk the decks and docks of the floating King Pacific Lodge. There is always somewhere to go for quiet contemplation, to read a book or savour a glass of wine or a cigar after dinner.
After a busy day outdoors, come inside and relax in the great room by the stone fireplace. Craving something sweet? The cookie jar is always stocked.
While King Pacific Lodge is located in the Great Bear Rainforest, don’t let the rain keep you inside. The Lodge provides guests with Mustang Survival Suits that will keep you warm and toasty out on the Pacific Ocean. When you do find yourself inside for an afternoon or evening, book yourself a spa treatment or simply hang out at the hot tub, then take a dip into the cold plunge pool.
When you come to King Pacific Lodge, get your picture taken by a fishing guide as you reel in a salmon; in front of the waterfall that tumbles down the mountain behind the lodge; or in a kayak heading off for some bear watching.
Meat lovers or those in need of gluten-free food will be happy to know that King Pacific Lodge will accommodate special dietary requests. If you love seafood, order the Catch of the day – being located on the coast you know that everything on the menu is going to be as fresh as possible.
It’s true that King Pacific Lodge is not the place to go for shopping retail therapy, but if you are interested in First Nations art – from jewelry to artwork, drop into the store and consider taking home a special memory.
For the ultimate guided trip, go heli-hiking and let the lodge helicopter drop you on one of the neighboring mountain ridges so that you can enjoy above-tree-line trekking or access one of the numerous snowfields that linger well into the summer.
A camera is a must for a trip to King Pacific Lodge. You may see Orcas and humpback whales – on a whale watching trip you might be lucky enough to see a whale breach; bears – black bears or, if you are very fortunate, a ‘spirit’ or Kermode bear; or just walk amongst 1000-year-old hemlocks and fern-clad canyons and feel dwarfed by these majestic giants. The best vantage points are taken by walking to the top of one of the remote islands a short boat trip from King Pacific Lodge. On a day hike you can scramble to the summit of an island and have 360-degree views of the Great Bear Rainforest and pristine beaches.
Did I mention that King Pacific Lodge is perched on a 15,000 square foot floating barge? Ask for a “behind the scenes” tour of King Pacific Lodge. The lodge was built on an ex-US navy barge and a tour of the back of house reveals a fascinating world under the public spaces.
Looking for some exercise? Hike amid the old-growth forests of the Great Bear Rainforest; paddle a kayak to Cameron Cove to watch the salmon. At low tide you’ll see the world’s largest sea stars. Keep your eyes peeled for bears browsing on sedge grasses. My favorite walking route is the hike to the waterfall on the wilderness side of the lodge.
First Nations Gitga’at Village
If you are interested in First Nations culture, be sure to ask about a trip to the Gitga’at village (rhymes with Kit Kat) of Hartley Bay, where First Nations traditions of fishing for salmon, then smoking the fish to sustain the community in the winter months have gone on for thousands of years.
If you plan a trip to King Pacific Lodge in the spring, look out for bears waking from hibernation and young bears keeping close to mother bear.
In the summer you’ll fish for Chinook salmon – the largest of the Pacific Ocean salmon, often growing up to 50 lbs.
The fall is the pinnacle time for bear viewing – grizzlies, black bears and the rare white Kermode or ‘spirit bear’ as it is known by the natives, greedily feed on migrating salmon so plentiful that the rivers and streams appear black. The guides know just where to take you on wildlife watching tours for that incomparable glimpse of the temperate rainforest’s most magnificent carnivore.
Whale watching with pros
Go whale watching with Janie Wray and Hermann Meuter, whale researchers at the remote CetaceaLab.
Get out on the water and go kayaking around Barnard Harbour, or grab your hiking boots and hit the forest.
If you have kids, the Family Adventure Package, where adults and kids share adventures and kids learn to tie a fly, master a few words in Sm’algyax (the language of the Gitga’at) and fill their Adventure Passport, may be just the ticket.
Have you been to King Pacific Lodge in the Great Bear Rain Forest? What are your favorite things to do in Northern British Columbia, Canada?
Thanks to Jayne Lloyd-Jones and Liz Sperandeo of Spectacular Ink for assistance with this post. Bear photos and whale fluke courtesy of Chris Vadden and Tanja Betz. Additional photos and YouTube video by Travel Writer Nancy D. Brown. I was a guest of King Pacific Lodge and Tourism British Columbia.