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  • Tide Pools at Botanical Beach near Port Renfrew: Waves have eroded potholes in the thrust of sandstone that juts into the Pacific at Botanical Beach, which remain water-filled when the waves ebb. Alive with starfish, sea anemones, hermit crabs, and hundreds of other sea creatures, these potholes are some of the best places on Vancouver Island to explore the rich intertidal zone.
  • Bald Eagles near Victoria: Just a few miles north of Victoria is one of the world's best bald eagle-spotting sites: Goldstream Provincial Park. Recent counts put the number of eagles wintering here at around 4,000. (Jan is the best month for viewing, though there are eagles here year-round.)
  • Gray Whales at Pacific Rim National Park: Few sights in nature match observing whales in the wild. March is the prime viewing time, as the whales migrate north from their winter home off Mexico. During March, both Tofino and Ucluelet celebrate the Pacific Rim Whale Festival; outfitters offer whale-watching trips out onto the Pacific.
  • Orcas at Robson Bight: From whale-watching boats out of Telegraph Cove or Port McNeill, watch orcas (killer whales) as they glide through the Johnstone Strait in search of salmon, and rub their tummies on the pebbly beaches at Vancouver Island's Robson Bight.
  • Spawning Salmon at Adams River: Every October, the Adams River fills with salmon, returning to their home water to spawn and die. While each autumn produces a large run of salmon, every fourth year (the next is 2010), an estimated 1.5 to 2 million sockeye salmon struggle upstream to spawn in the Adams River near Squilax. Roderick Haig-Brown Provincial Park has viewing platforms and interpretive programs.
  • Songbirds and Waterfowl at the Columbia River Wetlands: Between Golden and Windermere, the Columbia River flows through a valley filled with fluvial lakes, marshes, and streams -- perfect habitat for hundreds of species, including moose and coyotes. Protected as a wildlife refuge, the wetlands are on the migratory flyway that links Central America to the Arctic; in spring and fall, the waterways fill with thousands of birds -- over 270 different species. Outfitters in Golden operate float trips through the wetlands.
  • Elk in Banff National Park: You won't need to mount an expedition to sight elk in Banff: They graze in the city parks and on people's front lawns. To see these animals in their own habitat, take the Fenlands Trail just west of Banff to Vermillion Lakes, another favorite grazing area.
  • Black Bears in Waterton Lakes National Park: There are black bears throughout the Canadian west, but chances are good you'll spot a bear or two along the entry road to Waterton Lakes National Park, where the open grasslands of the prairies directly abut the sheer faces of the Rocky Mountains. (Remember, bears were originally prairie animals.)

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.