Experience Wildlife Most People Only See on TV

Get goosebumped gazing at bears and their young playing and grazing forested shores just metres away. Be mesmerized watching eagles and osprey conduct aerial acrobatics, against a glacier backdrop. Spot massive moose roaming Mud or Murtle Lake’s lush, marshy meadows. Embark on a guided River Safari in the heart of bear country. Land trophy-size Rainbows and fresh water salmon. Sled past Groundhog Mountain’s caribou habitat, leaving nothing but tracks in your wake. Bring your binoculars and your camera, to witness the kind of wildlife most people will only ever see on TV.

Up-close wildlife encounters are well within your reach in Blue River. Sitting on the edge of an untamed mountain wilderness of the Monashee and Cariboo Mountains it’s not unusual to see elk, white tail deer, moose, and bears roaming free almost anywhere near (and sometimes, in) town. Much more seldom seen, but certainly roaming the region, are cougar, lynx and mountain caribou. Most active in spring, summer and fall, witness their movements from the safety of your car or boat, in the early morning hours or just around sunset.

River Safari and Jeep-Eco Tours in Grizzly Bear Alley

Embark on a River Safari wilderness jet-boating tour, scouting out adventures that will leave you spellbound, breathless and hungry for more. Relax and enjoy the ride, drifting in the current of Mud Lake, watching carefully for your own wildlife encounter.

If you’d rather go off-road than be on the river, explore Blue River by guided jeep tour, learning about the unique eco system and abundant bear habitat found in our backyard.

Tours run every half-hour daily throughout the summer, providing endless opportunities to experience wildlife in the wild from the safety and comfort of a guided jet boat.

Murtle Lake’s Wild Playground

Canoeing, kayaking and camping at Murtle Lake means close, and sometimes personal, encounters with wildlife you won’t have anywhere else. Watch moose migrating the meadows beneath Murtle Glacier. Witness the magic of black bears (and the occasional Grizzly) ambling along distant shores. Be spellbound as eagles and osprey fly aerial dances, fishing in the lake. Raw, rugged and remote, Murtle Lake and its surrounding mountains is the best kind of wild, where big game hide within sight, and you can see them too, if you’re looking for them.

Fish Tales

Locals always seem to know the best spots to fish and that holds true in Blue River. Quiet creeks, hidden rivers, and unmarked lakes offer secret fishing holes swimming with Kokanee salmon, Dolly Varden, lake and Rainbow trout. Ask any of the locals for their favourite spot, they’re bound to tell you some pretty tall tales about fishing Angus Horn, Mystery Lake, Blue, and Twin Lakes, and Finn Creek. Try them out for yourself and see just how big the fish can be in our waters.

Be Bear Safe

  • The North Thompson Valley’s robust population of black bears means chances are good you’ll encounter them emerging from the thickness of the forest, grazing the grasses and berries along the Mystery Lake and Murtle Lake roads, in campgrounds and on hiking trails, especially in early summer and late fall. Follow safe bear watching etiquette for a wildlife experience you’ll always remember:
  • Never approach or follow bears; respect their need for space
  • Do no block their line of travel or escape routes
  • Keep at least 50 m (150 ft) (three bus lengths) from bears and remain in your vehicle
  • Use a telephoto lens, spotting scope and binoculars to get an “up-close” view
  • Pull well off the road to prevent accidents. Do not leave the safety of your vehicle
  • Limit the time you spend watching to one minute or less
  • Respect the needs of denning bears, newborn and young cubs
  • Keep control of your children and pets at all times
  • Do not feed bears
  • Respect the speed limit – many animals (not just bears) navigate the roads as they migrate through the region

Mind the Mosquitoes

Mosquitoes are a pure fact of life in the Canadian wilderness, and it’s no different in the BC Interior, which includes some of western Canada’s most dramatic wilderness areas. The intensity of mosquitoes varies by location and from week to week. Come prepared. Bug repellent should be one part of your strategy, along with lightweight clothing or netting protecting your arms, legs and head.

When to Go

  • Bears are most visible at lower elevations in May and June when they’re feeding on forested trails along Mystery Lake and Murtle Lake roads
  • Bears move to higher elevations during summer months of July and August
  • You’ll start to see bears return to lower elevations in September and October
  • Bears hibernate during the winter months

Need to Know

  • Stay on trails – many animals experience less stress and can better adapt when human use is predictable, for example when hikers stay on trails
  • Don’t approach or chase animals – unnecessary movement takes energy needed for their survival
  • Control pets – to avoid wildlife harassment and give you better viewing opportunities
  • Respect others – ask owners if you wish to cross private property
  • Remove all garbage, pack out what you pack in
  • Don’t feed or touch animals – feeding can create an unhealthy reliance on people, touching young animals may cause mothers to abandon their young

Top 10 Spots for Wildlife Encounters

  1. The Mud River – home of the River Safari (Play/Tours) jet-boat, bear-watching and eco-tour adventure
  2. Mud Lake Delta – the wild marsh grasslands are moose habitat – explore the Delta as part of your River Safari tour (Play/Tours)
  3. The roads to Murtle Lake (Play/Murtle Lake) and Mystery Lake – each a fire service road, they’re also a wildlife corridor where it’s not unusual to find coyotes, wolves and bears navigating the road
  4. Murtle Lake (Play/Murtle Lake) itself is home to countless species of wild animal including black bears, the occasional Grizzly bear, deer, elk, bald eagles, osprey, cougar and rare sightings of the Northern Saw-whet Owl
  5. The Yellowhead Highway – especially in the pre-dawn and dusk hours when traffic is diminished
  6. Little Hell’s Gate Regional Park (Play/Parks) – watch the salmon run upstream to their spawning grounds in fall (Plan/Summer/Fall)
  7. Blue Lake, Mystery Lake, Finn Creek (Play/Rivers & Lakes) – favoured local fishing spot for Rainbow and lake trout
  8. Discover Great Blue Herons migrating through neighbouring Avola (Map)