The Northern Lights Wolf Centre is one of the most unique places near Golden and in all of BC. This wolf sanctuary near Golden is one of the only places in North America where you get the chance to see Gray Wolves up close!
At Northern Lights, you can visit the centre and learn all about their wolves on one of their interpretive tours.
We went on the Wolf Walk where we, as the name suggests, went on a walk with a wolf that roamed freely out in nature!
This is truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience and we can’t wait to dive in and share our knowledge with you about what you can at the Northern Lights Golden Wolf Sanctuary!
Disclosure: This post has been created in collaboration with Tourism Golden. Everything in this post is based on our personal opinions and experiences. This post also contains affiliate links which means if you decide to use the links and make a valid purchase, we will receive a small commission at no additional cost to you.
What you can expect at Northern Lights Wolf Centre
At the Northern Lights Wolf Centre, you can visit rescued gray wolves and see how they live at the sanctuary.
You will learn all about wolves – the different species, how they live in their natural habitat, the history of wolves in North America, and how wolves are often very misunderstood animals.
You also get the chance to learn about each of the wolves at the centre and how they got rescued. All of their wolves with the exception of one were born in captivity but they are still 100% Gray Wolves (Canis Lupus).
The centre offers a few different types of tours as well that you can do!
Let’s dive right into both of these tours to give you a good understanding of this wolf sanctuary in Golden and what you can expect!
The different tours at Northern Lights Wolf Centre
There are two different types of tours you can do at Northern Lights Wolf Centre near Golden. Both tours are very different in terms of length, price, length, what you get to see, and the overall experience!
On the Walk With Wolves Tour, you get to go on a walk with one of the wolves from the centre, take pictures, and enjoy seeing it in its natural habitat in a safe way.
On the Interpretive Tour, a guide will teach you about the wolves at the sanctuary, wolves in general, and wolf conservation (and how you can help!).
When you get to the centre, please know that there is a chance the wolves may be sleeping and not roaming around in their cages.
You will still get to observe them but please don’t be disappointed if the wolves aren’t awake. That’s just the reality as they are actual wolves and not just show animals.
Shelley and her team do their best to take care of the wolves to the best of their ability and do what’s best for them. This means letting them sleep when they are tired!
During the wolf walk, a wolf will (obviously) be awake so if you want the full experience, and you can afford it, this is the best option.
Northern Lights Interpretive Wolf Tour
The Interpretive tour is the more popular tour out of the two since it’s cheaper and runs multiple times a day.
Basically, you pay the entrance admission which ranges from $8-15 per person (family discounts available) and you can take part in the interpretive tour.
Once you walk into the Northern Lights Wolf Centre you’ll be greeted by a staff member where you can ask them questions about the tour and check out their gift shop.
Make sure to have cash for whichever tour you decide to go on as the tours are cash only. There is an ATM machine available on site but it does charge a fee.
Once you’re all set, the staff will explain everything about the Wolf Centre and when the next Interpretive Tour will take place.
We learned so much about the wolves during this 25-minute interpretive tour and can highly recommend it!
You can spend as much time as you want before and after the interpretive tour hanging out in the centre and watching the wolves run around and do their thing.
As we mentioned before, there is a chance they may be sleeping and not in the mood to show off around people. So just remember that. The staff isn’t going to force them to get up and put on a show.
It’s an awesome experience and a fun and affordable thing to do in Golden!
Northern Lights Walk With Wolves Tour
On this trip, you’ll go out with the owner Shelley and one of her wolves to the Blaeberry Valley. Shelley has brought up all of these wolves since they were very young (most of the wolves she got when they were 11 days old) so she knows them better than anyone.
We went out on the wolf walk with the wolf Flora which, at the moment, is the most common wolf that goes on these guided tours.
The walk with the wolf doesn’t actually take place right at the Northern Lights Wolf Centre. Instead, you’ll hop in Shelley’s vehicle and head out into a more rural area where the wolf has more freedom to roam and enjoy the stunning nature near Golden.
You’ll end up somewhere close to the Blaeberry River where Shelley will let the wolf go and you will basically just walk with the wolf and see what it gets up to.
Shelley does bring some food for the wolf so it never ventures off too far but it will do its own thing – and this walk is on the wolf’s term.
What does that mean? If it comes up by your side, for example, you’re more than welcome to pet it but you shouldn’t approach it yourself.
Shelley will give you a full safety briefing before going on the tour so you know exactly what you can and cannot do.
But it really is a unique experience getting to see a wolf out in the wild roaming the land like this and we highly recommend it!
Let’s be honest, this is a once-in-a-lifetime kind of tour and the price is somewhat reflecting that…
It costs $380 CAD for two people to go on a group session with max 6 people. There’s also the option to go on a fully private tour (1-2 people) which costs just around $1000 CAD.
The money spent on the tour goes to the wolves though and it’s worth the price! The money goes to feeding the wolves, their healthcare and medical bills, their cages, and the sanctuary.
We went with a small group and it was actually really nice. At the end of the day you give the wolf as much space as it wants so the only difference is that there are more people taking pictures.
Tip: Since this tour takes max 6 people at a time, we highly suggest booking it in advance to ensure you get a spot.
Our thoughts on Northern Lights Wolf Centre
Now that you know about the different tours at Northern Lights we want to share what we recommend and what our thoughts are on this wolf sanctuary near Golden.
If you get a chance we 100% recommend getting a general admission ticket that gives you access to the Wolf Centre and the interpretive tour.
It’s an awesome way to learn about wolves in general, understand their history, and just learn a thing or two. The staff is awesome and made it really interesting.
The staff also loves questions so feel free to come with any questions you may have.
So the interpretive tour is a definite yes if you’re travelling around Golden or looking for unique things to do around Golden (the bear sanctuary in Golden is an awesome one too).
Now let’s dive into the Walk With Wolves Tour a little bit and see if it’s worth it for what you’re looking for.
Personally, we didn’t have the need to go on a private tour and pay over $1000 for two people. Of course, it’s a unique experience but the wolf is still going to do its own thing and it’s not like you will have 1-on-1 time with it for the whole tour.
But the group tour is 100% worth it for the money. Like we said it’s one of those once-in-a-lifetime activities and $380 for an experience for two people to walk and see a wolf out in nature is a pretty special experience.
Keep in mind that this is a 100% gray wolf and not a wolf dog which makes the experience that much more unique!
Once you’ve done the tour you can also go back to the wolf centre and listen in on one of the interpretive tours as well.
Other related questions about the golden wolf sanctuary
Where is the wolf sanctuary located?
Northern Lights Wolf Centre is a short drive on Highway 1 north of Golden. From downtown Golden, it’s 15 minutes to the Wolf Centre.
What do you wear to a wolf sanctuary?
There are some specific requirements (not just recommendations) for what to wear when visiting the Wolf Centre.
Closed shoes are a must along with long pants (no leggings), and none of your clothes can have fur of any kind.
Also, preferably dress according to the weather as this tour operates whether it rains or shines.
Will I get to pet the wolves at Northern Lights Wolf Centre?
If you go on one of the guided wolf walks with Northern Lights, there is a chance you will get to pet one of the wolves. It’s 100% up to the wolf if it decides to interact with you or not.
You will not approach the wolf to pet it but it will come to you if it wants to. So at the end of the day, it’s up to the wolf to decide if you get to pet it or not.
Is it ethical to have wolves locked up at the wolf sanctuary?
This is always a tough question to answer, but the short answer in this case is “yes”.
All of the wolves at this specific sanctuary (with the exception of one) are from captive breeding programs from affiliated wildlife centres in North America. The only wolf at this sanctuary that was born in the wild was rescued as its odds of survival were very slim.
Nothing is forced on the wolves and you’ll see that very much during the walking tour. Shelley (the owner) always preaches that we’re on the wolves’ time and terms.
It’s the same thing when you visit the Wolf Centre. There may be a day when the wolves just want to sleep more so you may end up barely seeing them. On a different day, they may be running around and let you observe them. It’s up to them.
We’re always cautious when we decide if we want to visit a sanctuary or not as it can be hard to figure out whether or not it’s an ethical place. From our experience, Northern Lights Wolf Centre seems to be ethical.
Shelley and the staff will also go over what they do with the wolves here when you visit. That includes how they train them, what they feed them, how they treat and care for them, and everything else you want to know.
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Recap of visiting the Northern Lights Wolf Centre
Now you know all about this wolf sanctuary near Golden, BC! It’s the only place in Canada where you’ll get to walk with a 100% gray wolf!
As we mentioned in the post, the interpretive tour is awesome to get to know the wolves, learn about the facility, and just learn a whole lot about this incredible animal.
The wolf walk though is where you really get to see the wolves out in nature doing their thing.
Both tours are awesome and if you get the chance we highly recommend doing both. It is a once-in-a-lifetime experience – and doing it here in BC with the incredible nature and landscapes makes it that much more special.
We had an amazing time and it was one of the most unique things we did during our time in Golden!
Enjoy this awesome wolf centre and let us know if you get a chance to walk with the wolves and, if so, which wolf!