When I think back on our time touring BC in the last three years, the trips that really stand out in all of our memories are those with special encounters with wildlife. We’ve been woken by the song of wolves in Golden, watched the spy hopping orcas of Victoria, held the friendly Whiskey
Jacks of Revelstoke, but nothing quite prepared me for the winter gathering of tens of thousands of Bald Eagles that gather in the Harrison River Valley.
Drawn by the healthy number of spawning salmon that come up the Fraser River each year into offshoots like the Harrison River is where we found ourselves last weekend.
Bald Eagles have an impressive wingspan of up to eight feet. These raptors have keen eyesight for hunting their prey, five different species of salmon which spawn up the Fraser River beginning in October. You can view this wondrous gathering of Eagles from November to February.
We stayed in the modern, rustic cabins of the Sandpiper Resort. Studio cabins, 1, 2 or 3 bedroom cabins are all available for a weekend of wildlife viewing and golf. We checked in to find these cozy accommodations have fully stocked kitchens, warm fireplaces, modern furnishings and signature robes. Thoughtful touches set this resort apart such as local honey and bath salts, games and smart TVs.
All of these details made for a great first night but it wasn’t until morning, when I stepped outside with my tea, and looked to the golden sunrise that I realized what spectacular event we were truly here for. Eagles were already soaring above the tree line, swooping majestically in breathless maneuvers overhead, and speaking their beautiful language.
I stood on the deck, completely captivated, eyes to the sky, mouth gaping, just watching and listening. The rest of the world was completely silent except for nature. It was going to be a spectacular day.
We started with breakfast at the River’s Edge Clubhouse Restaurant which maximizes on the view with floor-to-ceiling windows. The seasonally-themed menu features delicious west coast fare paired with local VQA wines. You can book your New Years' Eve Dinner here.
Next, enjoy a round of golf or take a scenic walk through the ancient forest to the viewing gazebo where you’ll find photographers and wildlife enthusiasts alike, taking in the majesty of the eagles at the estuary.
Head into Harrison Hot Springs village for some education on this Sasquatch sighting hotspot! The Fraser Valley has had many alleged sightings over the decades and attracted the biggest names in Sasquatch research. The Sasquatch is believed to be a protector of the land by the Indigenous people of the area as well.
The Harrison Hot Springs visitor center hosts a mini Sasquatch museum with footprint casts, researcher biographies, and a video clip that might turn you into a believer if you aren’t already.
The waterfront downtown core features cute shops, restaurants, and walking areas. This time of year, you can enjoy the Christmas light-up as lit scenes line the boardwalk.
Stop in for a Chocolate big foot lollipop at the Rocky Mountain Chocolate before sitting down to a tasty lunch from Muddy Waters Cafe. We highly recommend the duck breast sandwich with homemade blackberry mayo, fresh tomato and arugula on cranberry sourdough.
Many nature walks and hikes surround this river valley and village ranging from the 1 km Spirit Trail to the 18 km Bear Mountain hike, and everything in between, there is an ability level for all nature lovers. If you’re going to be hiking to the peak of Bear Mountain for the sweeping views of the Cheam Mountain Range, we recommend selecting the Sandpiper Resort’s Rustin Classic Cottages complete with deep-soaker tubs for two.
British Columbia is a haven for those who love encountering wildlife and witnessing them in meaningful ways. We’re passionate about preserving the land and habitats that will ensure the well-being of future generations of species. This is a world-renowned wildlife experience, and it’s right in our very own backyard.
For more ideas on local BC getaways, connect with me on Instagram @loewenlifestyle and share your experiences as well!