The annual northward migration of Gray Whales through Pacific Rim National Park begins in late February and continues until the end of May. The peak season is from mid March to mid April, with some whales staying in the area to feed during the summer months.
Every March and April, the Pacific Rim National Park and the communities of Tofino and Ucluelet celebrate the return of the Gray Whale during its annual spring migration. The Pacific Rim Whale Festival is a series of public events and festivities for the whole family.
Annual Calendar of the Gray Whale:
- January and February: Gray Whales spend the winter in the warm waters off Baja California, Mexico.
- March, April, and May: They migrate north, hugging the west coast of North America.
- June to October: In the Bering and Chukchi Seas, the whales spend the summer feeding. To the delight of Vancouver Island whale watchers, some grays stop to eat at this latitude instead of continuing north with the rest of the population.
- November and December: Grays swim back down to Baja California, usually faster and further offshore than during the northward leg of their migration.
- In total, the 16,000 to 22,500-km round trip – depending on how far north they go – is one of the longest migrations of any mammal on earth.