This exclusive bear viewing tour was made possible through a partnership with the Gwitchin Vuntut First Nation, manager of a unique, environmentally responsible campground (Bear Cave Mountain) located at the heart of the Ni’iinlii Njik (Fishing Branch) reserve between Dawson City and Old Crow in northern Yukon.
The Gwitchin Vuntut First Nation lays claim to this unique natural reserve known as Ni’iinlii Njik, which means “where the fish spawn”. Within this environmentally friendly reserve flows the Fishing Branch River carrying warm currents from underground layers rich in thermal energy. The high temperature prevents the formation of permafrost, helps maintain a temperate forest microclimate, creates unique limestone caves and serves as a habitat for the salmon. At the first winter snowfalls, these hot springs enable the Fishing Branch River to maintain a temperature conducive to a late run of salmon, thus giving the grizzlies a last feast before their winter hibernation.
From mid-September to early October, gigantic male moose often frequent the river looking for a female. With a little luck, you’ll be able to observe bears and moose together and find out which of the two is really “king of the forest”.
From mid-October onwards, it’s “ frosty grizzly bear time”, a phenomenon unique to Bear Cave Mountain; the more the temperature falls, the more ice forms on the bears’ coats. It’s one of the most unusual and awesome phenomena you will ever see!