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“A wonderful experience”
5 of 5 bubbles Review of Grizzly Bear Ranch

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Grizzly Bear Ranch
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersPlatinum level
Lagos, Portugal
Level Contributor
11 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
“A wonderful experience”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 13 July 2013

Grizzly Bear Ranch isn't the easiest part of Canada to reach but it's a beautiful journey even in the rain and worth every minute of the 2 days travelling. You arrive in a part of BC that not many people get to visit and because of this, it makes it all the more special. The cabins are set apart from each other on the banks of a fast flowing river, all with decks to sit at and watch the birds that frequent the ranch. We were warmly welcomed by Kristin, who is a fantastic host and superb cook. As other reviewers have said, you never go hungry here, mealtimes were a joy, as we all sat around the table sharing stories of our days out.
Our days would start with fresh coffee brought to the cabin by Kristin followed by a hearty breakfast and then either a hike, which we did on one of the days or a drive to spot the wildlife. We also did a walk through the old forest and a trip on Trout Lake by boat. We would then return to the ranch for dinner and then out again at dusk for a bit more bear spotting. Our guides Lily and Forrest were wonderful and made the stay even more special. They are so passionate about the wildlife and surroundings, you can't help but fall in love with the area and the way of life. We didn't see many bears but this didn't matter as the unspoilt scenery and the whole experience were a joy. I am trying to convince my husband to take me back next year in the Autumn, though I don't think he will need much persuasion! A truly memorable few days, thank you Kristin, Forrest & Lily.

Stayed June 2013, travelled as a couple
Helpful?
3 Thank misscarlett
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 bubbles
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English first
Franktown, Colorado
Level Contributor
8 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 2 July 2013

When you arrive in SE British Columbia, you behold natural wonders that you didn't know existed in this fast paced, troubled world. We started our vacation by spending a few days in Nelson, a charming, scenic town on Lake Kootenay. Great views, quaint coffee shops, great dining, and an ambience that invites relaxation and escape. Just north of Nelson lies the town of Kaslo, a stop on the historic steamboat route, a town that exudes New England style charm. The view from the historic Kaslo Hotel and Pub can't be beat. When we return to the Ranch next year we plan to spend a couple of nights at the hotel before heading north to GBR.

Our stay at GBR was too good for words-great hosts, great food and accommodations, and active sightseeing that will exhaust the most fit of travelers. As I stated above, we're heading back next year and plan to stay in that part of BC even longer.

This vacation is a 10 in EVERY respect.

  • Stayed June 2013, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
1 Thank jim p
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Julius S, Owner at Grizzly Bear Ranch, responded to this review, 12 July 2013
Thank you for your very generous review. I was sorry to miss you guys this time but certainly hope to meet up next Fall during grizzly season. Best Wishes, Julius
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Shropshire
Level Contributor
23 reviews
14 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 29 June 2013

Grizzly Bear Ranch was everything we hoped it would be and more. We arrived feeling a little mob handed with all four kids (aged 11 to 25) in tow but fortunately the 2 other guests, Belinda and Steve from Australia didn't seem too over whelmed and proved to be great company.

This is a trip that is not just about bears - although if mother nature, the expertise of the guides and a little bit of luck all go in your favour you will be rewarded with those.

It is so much more than that - the area is breathtakingly beautiful, the wildlife is around every corner whether its deer, brids of prey or the hummingbirds that whizz around outside Kristin's window and the guides (in our case Lily and Forest more of whom later) who are so passionate about the area they live in and the what it has to offer.

The cabins are eco friendly, hugely comfortable and great fun. Kristin and Bri who do the cooking will keep you incredibly well fed with huge talent between them (the banana bread and the chocolate pudding being particular favorites!). I already miss fresh coffee turning up at 7.30 every morning.

And so to the guides - highly qualified, hugely knowledgeable and who care deeply about the area and the wildlife it contains, plus a great sense of fun and humour. Nothing is too much trouble and no question too silly. But be warned - they will put the welfare of anything you are lucky enough to see and spend time watching first as they absolutely should.

Bears are pretty big if you are lucky enough to see them and we felt completely confident that we were in safe hands too.

For us Lily and Forest made the trip even more special than it would have been - in fact, when we go back we might even try and fix the dates so they are around again!

And go back we certainly will.

  • Stayed June 2013, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank Clare R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Julius S, Owner at Grizzly Bear Ranch, responded to this review, 12 July 2013
Hi Guys, Thanks you for your wonderful review. Kristin praised you guys no end and loved having you stay. I'll pass on your compliments to Forest and Lily. Please do come back some time. Best Wishes, Julius & Kristin
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Romsey, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
8 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 27 June 2013

A seemingly small word to describe an incredible experience.
The journey to the Grizzly Bear Ranch via Nakusp and Kaslo is spectacular and on arrival , the Ranch is set in a beautiful location. We could not have asked more of hosts Julius and Kristin as they have used the experience they have gained to ensure everything was thought of. The cabin was extremely comfortable , the food superb and we thoroughly enjoyed being at the ranch. It is the attention to detail that makes the experience special eg the provision of Binoculars , the CD of photos taken by the guides during the outings , the packed lunches etc .
The enthusiasm for and commitment to Bear Conservation demonstrated by Julius & Kristin is infectious and his expert guides Forrest and Lily are totally engaged.
We went on rides in 4 x 4 on logging trails on the nearby mountains with both of these fabulous guides and small matters such as fallen trees across the tracks were simply overcome by the chain saw they had thought to bring with them.
We viewed a number of bears and our 2 primary sighting were a mother with 2 cubs and another lone bear who stayed around for nearly 30 minutes allowing us to view and get some memorable photos.
The trip on the lake was beyond our expectations not only in scenery but stretched our expectations of our own abilities. We are both in our early 60’s active but not the fitest of individuals. The programme appeared to vary to offer the group a mix of activities to give the best experience for the various interests and abilities amongst the guests.
When you go, listen and learn. You will be in the hands of experts. They are always prepared to flex arrangements , where possible , to accomodate any needs. Do not be afraid to ask.

This was truly the holiday of a lifetime.

  • Stayed June 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank johnst3112
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Julius S, Owner at Grizzly Bear Ranch, responded to this review, 12 July 2013
Hi Guys, Thank you for your lovely review. We really enjoyed having you both stay. We do try and stay nimble and flexible and customise the activities to the guests' abilities and wishes as best we can, so I'm so pleased that came through with the guides. Best Wishes to you both, Julius & Kristin.
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London
Level Contributor
15 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 27 June 2013

This place is honestly a whole bucket of awesome. Luxury rooms with luxury beds we not only slept well, but the best the entire time on our trip. We had a cabin right next to the fast moving river which was very therapeutic. We were able to light a fire to keep our room warm and got plenty of free time to meander about the property.

You get taken out for about 8 hours at a time and need to wear sturdy shoes and take several layers for unexpected changes in weather. Like the brochure says, you want to be of a good weight and not too overweight. If you are, your car journey's will be squishy and unpleasant and sometimes they are up to 2 hours (gotta find the bears right?)

The only downer I have is that my partner and I were in good fitness and would have enjoyed going on a hike like another couple did, however we were lumped in with a very unfit, much older and injured couple (who complained non stop) and there fore missed out this opportunity. So let them know your fitness level. Others were asked but for some reason we were not.

Food, thankyou Kristin, was just awesome. Never hungry, so much delicous, taste bud tantalising organic food.

We would love to go back in Sept/Oct to see bears fishing for salmon/trout in the river right out front. Early summer is a bit lacking in bears.

Room Tip: Plan to come from Revelstoke or Kaslo, to drive from Banff or even Lake Louise is a heck of a long d...
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  • Stayed June 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank AlkalineByDesign
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Julius S, Owner at Grizzly Bear Ranch, responded to this review, 13 July 2013
Thank you for your review. I'm glad you enjoyed your holiday with us.

You do raise some important points, which gives me a good opportunity to outline some of our policies to other guests thinking of booking at Grizzly Bear Ranch. We have found that the key to guests being happy when they leave here is that we give them a realistic expectation of what to expect before they book. So, with that in mind, forgive me if I use this opportunity to outline a couple of our policies.

We have a very high guide to guest ratio for our tours (never more than 1:4 and often 1:2 or 1:3) but not every couple gets their own guide and vehicle. We have debated this policy extensively among ourselves but decided that giving each couple their own guide would make our holidays very expensive, and also detract from the great interaction and camaraderie we often get between guests. On the rare occasions when guests don't get on with each other, we try and change the groups around to better match personalities and abilities.

We do not recommend our holidays to guests who are significantly overweight, frail, or more than 70 years old (although we have had several fit guests who are now over 70 who we would certainly be happy to welcome back). This is not intended to be discriminatory but a reflection of the fact that the activities we offer involve hiking on rough terrain, rafting and so on, and require a certain amount of agility if they are to be done safely.

We have had some guests who were in fairly marginal physical shape but we do our best to be flexible and cater for them and they have, almost all of them, come away from the ranch very happy. Occasionally, however, we have guests who have a different notion of their own abilities than we do. This is a difficult one for us. We are in the bush and not near a major hospital and so we have to be a little cautious. At the same time I am a firm believer in personal responsibility. Somewhere between those two competing imperatives is a sweet spot and that is what I, and my guides, aim for. We feel that not to make a judgment call would be irresponsible of us, but we try and remain extremely flexible.

In terms of bear sightings, it can always be hit and miss. On average guests probably have around 15 bear sightings in a typical holiday with us (with our record somewhere around 50) but there are slower periods. It has been many years since a guest saw no bears at all, though that too could happen. Such is the nature of real, honest bear-viewing in the wild. This May-June was certainly not a bumper season for bears and that is why we stayed out so long. Our usual autumn trips are two to three hours in length.

I'm pleased you brought these points up as it gives us a chance to set realistic expectations for potential guests before they book. You gave us five stars and had an awesome time, so thank you for that vote of confidence.

Best Wishes, Julius & Kristin
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Bromley, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
76 reviews
17 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 37 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 16 June 2013

Husband and I only just arrived back from our holiday in Canada today, the main purpose of which was to go and see the bears and I had to write this review as soon as I could. The location was all and more I expected, we stayed in the Eco cabin, this had a great view of the river and mountains. One afternoon we saw a river otter, which is something Julius has only seen twice before in six years. We saw bears every time we were out with our guides Forrest and Lillie . I have to say it was an amazing experience, on one occasion we were on the road and a black bear walked up to us, Lillie got the group together in a tighter formation and started to speak to the bear to let him know we were humans ( this is part of the safety briefing we had been given on the first day, so was what we were expecting) she encouraged us to talk to the bear quietly, and as I was so moved by the encounter I found myself telling the bear I loved him!!!!!. Lillie was impressed with how we as a group responded to her directions. She also took us out for half a day on Trout lake, where we had a small bonfire picnic lunch. Forrest was our main guide and he was wonderful to spend time with, he is local,knowledgeable and passionate about his job. He always seemed to know where to find the bears and would give us background on those he recognised. We did not see any grizzley bears so we hope to go back winter 2014 to rectify that. Kristen's food was all and more I had read about, she is a great host and cook, who seemed to take a genuine interest in her guests and nothing was too much for her. The young couple who were with us on this holiday made a joke about her being "mum" as she would make us breakfast, gave us a packed lunch and then fed us in the evening and listen with interest as we told her about our day. Julius was a wonderful host who is so enthused about bears its contagious !!. The set up they have here is excellent and you are made to feel so welcome. Hope to return and hope Forrest and his " bear dar" are still working as well as they did this time.
Not only did we see bear but otter, bald eagle, osprey and deer.
Thank you all for an absolutely amazing experience .

Room Tip: Eco cabin was brilliant, comfy bed and great views.
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  • Stayed June 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Tracy S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Julius S, Owner at Grizzly Bear Ranch, responded to this review, 24 June 2013
So pleased you both had a good time. I'll pass on your kind words to Lily and Forest. They are exceptional guides and we are very lukcy to have them. Hope you're new tracking skills come in useful in SE London! And thank you for your lovely review.
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Preston
Level Contributor
270 reviews
52 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 119 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 10 June 2013

Sited next to a river in a remotish part of BC, Grizzly Bear Ranch (GBR) offers a close to nature experience without the airbeds or camping stove - there is one available if you want to brew -up at 6am like my husband! If however you enjoy the comfortable oversized bed you can wait for the delivery of fresh coffee at 7.30. The close to nature, eco friendly policy of our hosts does not allow for kettles and hairdryers in the lodges. Apart from this every convenience is catered for. New Lodge was extremely comfortable with a large futon style sofa and bijou but super clean and efficient shower amongst the amenities. If there is anything you need just ask.
Delicious piping hot meals are served in the main house, where possible everything being sourced locally. Do not expect a can of Fosters or Coke, instead the cooler is well stocked with local beer and soft drinks. Wine is served with dinner. A packed lunch is also provided.
Each day we promised ourselves not to overeat and each day we failed miserably.
What really sets GBR apart is the hosting and obvious delight of our guides in sharing their wilderness and its natural beauty. The magnificent forests, lakes and mountains to the wildlife. No two holidays can be the same on this score. We were delighted by half a dozen bear sightings and other wildlife put in an appearance too, coyote, porcupine, deer, eagles, humming birds and the odd insect! Take plenty of repelant and both warm and cool clothing, the weather changes frequently in the mountains.
Thank you Julius & Forest for teaching us about bears- we quickly became experts on bear scat - and to Kristin for her warm and wonderful hospitality. What a pity it had to end so quickly.

Room Tip: We chose the New Lodge - set back from the river, very peaceful. Take slippers as you are asked to...
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  • Stayed June 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank cel_longridge
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Julius S, Owner at Grizzly Bear Ranch, responded to this review, 24 June 2013
Thanks for the very kind review, Cel. Pleased that you guys are now experts on bear scat! It was great having you both stay. You're always welcome back in the autumn if you can drag Phil away from the slopes..
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Additional Information about Grizzly Bear Ranch

Property: Grizzly Bear Ranch
Address: Highway 31, Kaslo, British Columbia V0G 1M0, Canada
Region: Canada > British Columbia > Kootenay Rockies > Kaslo
Amenities:
Free Parking
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 7 Speciality Lodging in Kaslo
Number of rooms: 6
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Grizzly Bear Ranch is a small luxury lodge hidden away in a remote BC valley that offers specialist black bear and grizzly bear viewing holidays as well as summer hiking and rafting adventures. The ranch opened in 2006 and is run by Julius, Kristin and an exceptional team of experienced and certified bear-viewing guides who will take you out on foot, in 4x4s and on river rafts into the surrounding wilderness. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Grizzly Bear Ranch Hotel Kaslo

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