Whistler is home to a population of about 60 black bears, and a safe and informative way to spot and photograph these bears is with Whistler Photo Safaris, which has exclusive access to Whistler Olympic Park. You’ll climb aboard a 4×4 jeep and head into the 2,200-acre site of 2010 Olympic alpine events with an experienced guide who may be a pro photographer, an adventure guide or a scientist.
Jason Coleman, owner of Whistler Photo Safaris has been studying the Whistler black bear population for well over a decade. According to Coleman, the bears recognize the jeeps and have become used to being watched. That said, they keep their distance and go about their business, a win-win for the bears and bear watchers.
The tours are not exclusively for photographers. If you want to ride along to simply enjoy the mountain scenery and marvel at the wildlife, that’s just fine; binoculars are available for use on the tours. However you choose to experience the tour, Coleman attests that his guests usually find observing bears in the wild a life-changing event.
Tours run through late October. September and October are post-peak season for bear watching; the likelihood of spotting bears foraging to prepare for hibernation depends on the availability of berries in the higher regions—guests are informed of the odds prior to the tour.
Book your bear-watching tour with Whistler Photo Safaris at whistlerphotosafaris.com. Whistler is only about 90 minutes from Vancouver, B.C., with plenty of lodging, restaurants and fall-season activities; plan your Whistler visit at whistler.com.