Pemberton (British Columbia)
Pemberton, and the wider Pemberton Valley, is a pretty area in the north of the Sea to Sky region of British Columbia, Canada. The valley floor is mostly agricultural, while the surrounding mountains provide climbing, mountain biking and some spectacular hiking opportunities.
The Pemberton area is part of the traditional territory of the Lil'wat First Nation. European presence started with the Fraser Gold Rush in the 1858 with permanent non-native settlement beginning in the 1870s, but settlement was slow until the valley was connected to Vancouver by rail in 1915. In the days of the Fraser Gold Rush Trail, steamboat and other water traffic voyaged from New Westminster via Harrison Lake near the east end of the Fraser Valley to Port Douglas at the north end of Harrison Lake, then up a rough wagon road along the Lillooet River to the south end of Lillooet Lake, then by boat again to Port Pemberton at the Head of Lillooet Lake (near today's Mount Currie), then overland along the Birkenhead and Gates Rivers to Anderson Lake, where more boats to Seton Portage and Seton Lake landed at the head of another wagon road near Lillooet. One of the early attractions of the valley was the richness of the soil and farming continues to be important to the area. The Pemberton Valley is an important center for seed potatoes and, more recently, organic farming, with a big Slow Food / Tere Madre movement. Pemberton is a bedroom community of Whistler.
Recent decades have seen a rise in the importance of tourism: including outdoor recreation, eco & agro-tourism. The nearby mountains and lakes provide a wealth of opportunities activities at all levels, for the most intrepid to just generally being outdoors and taking in the scenery. For the outdoor enthusiast there is in the Summer: biking, backpacking, boating, hiking, horse riding, golfing, & mountaineering. In the winter, skiing, sledding / snowmobiling, snowshoeing, snowboarding, ice climbing, to hockey, skating & curling on the smaller Lakes. For flight enthusiasts Pemberton is a centre of hang gliding, paragliding, gliding, skydiving, and heli-tours with the town's own airport for private planes, small jets & helicopters. The Valley just finished hosting the Canadian Paragliding Nationals in 2012.
- Pemberton & District Visitor Information Center, Hwy 99 & Portage Rd (across from the PetroCan gas station), ☎ . 9AM-5PM early May to late Sept. Visitor information center with information on local businesses, events and activities. Free.
The main way in and out of the Pemberton area is Highway 99. Pemberton is considered the end of the Sea to Sky Highway, even though Highway 99 continues north to Lillooet. The portion of Highway 99 between Pemberton and Lillooet is usually referred to as the Duffy Lake Road. Pemberton is 158km north of Vancouver and 33km north of Whistler Village. About 22km & 20 minutes from Whistler northern town limits to the edge of Pemberton.
Greyhound Canada provides daily bus service connecting Pemberton with Vancouver, via Squamish and Whistler. Bus terminus: pick-up/drop-off in Pemberton at New Greyhound "Depot", Husky Gas Station / Pioneer Junction Convenience Store,on Hwy99 at the edge of town. As of April 1, 2014 the Greyhound Bus will no longer enter town, to its former depot at the old Train Station across from the Old Pemberton Hotel.
The Pemberton Valley Transit System / WAVE runs a commuter bus between Pemberton & Whistler. There are four trips, with two in the morning and two in the late afternoon/early evening. Bus terminus pick-up/drop-off in Pemberton between AG Grocery & Old Pemberton Hotel. The fare is $4.50 each way (senior and student fare is $4).
The other Main stop is at Hwy 99. Whistler Transit / WAVE drops off & pick up at Pemberton Gateway Village Suites Hotel: Northbound Portage Rd Stop #102834; & across the street at the Petro Can Southbound Portage NS Arbutus Stop #102833 (Eastbound #100)
- Taxi Pemberton Taxi service runs a Valley Commuter Service, with a mini-bus than can be chartered also, to the nearby 1st Nations (Native / "Indian") town of Mount Currie that meets up with the Whistler buses: tel 604 894-1111.
No Direct Rail serviceany more - the Rocky Mountaineer just passes through.
Lillooet - Salath - Seaton Portage The 2 car passenger train provides, besides daily round trip service, limited service farther south to Penderossa Ranch near D'Arcy & can be chartered to extend the Ponderrosa Run to D'Arcy - 45min North of Pemberton - at the head of Anderson Lake. Expect occasional minor delays by Mountain Goats &/or Big Horn Sheep. They scatter at sight of the CN freight trains on the BCR Line but show no fear of the 2 car self propelled passenger cars.
Pemberton Regional Airport
- Pemberton Regional Airport, (Pemberton Airport, Pemberton Areodrome, CYPS, Whistler local airport, Whistler regional airport), ☎ . Mon-Fri 8am-5pm or by appointment.
- Coast Range Heliskiing Ltd, Head Offices, PO 16, 1641 Airport Road, Pemberton BC, V0N 2L0, Booking Office Whistler, 218-4293 Mountain Square (Booking Office Whistler by Gondola), ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Blackcomb Aviation: (Prop, Jet & helicopters), 1850 Airport Road, Pemberton, BC, Canada. Mail:PO 1241, Whistler, BC, Canada V0N 1B, ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. Mon-Fri 8am-5pm or by appointment.
- Tyax Adventures, 17 - 1850 Airport Road, Pemberton. Mail: May-Oct Tyax Adventures,General Delivery, Goldbridge, B.C. Canada, V0K 1P0. Oct-Apr Tyax Adventures,7289 Fitzsimmons Road South, Whistler, B.C. Canada, V0N 1B7., ☎ , toll-free: , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Mon-Fri 8am-5pm or by appointment. Winter Dec-May – Ski plane: wheels & skis that lands on a hard surface runway or snow & ice. Access backcountry: ski touring, winter camping, sightseeing or simply transportation. In old Pemberton Soaring hanger. starting $600/plane load.
- BCFS Fire Attack Base (Fire Base, Forest Fire Fighting Base), PO Box 157, 2000 Airport Road, Pemberton, BC, Canada. (end of Airport Rd. directly north of Eastern tip of runway.), ☎ , fax: +1 604 894-5092, e-mail: Dombowsky@gov.bc.ca. Summer Fire Season. The BCFS Fire Attack Base logistics & training base, Aircraft kept at Pemberton Aerodrome.
1st 2 & only bikes in Summer go on front bumper Rack on WAVE Transit buses & underneath on Greyhound. Greyhound is attempting to collect cargo fees even though Whistler - Pemberton is a Commuter route .
Bike: Almost 200 Km of Free Trails for X-country skiing, biking, walking, or riding a horse in the whole Valley System.
- Bike / Cycling (23 Km from Whistler Town limits to Pemberton. It's a popular, though challenging, hilly route. Part of the annual Whistler IronMan Race). July 27, 2014.
The village of Pemberton is small so it's easy to get around it by foot. However, travel to other parts of the Pemberton Valley or to the Provincial Parks is easiest by car or bike.
The Pemberton Valley Transit System operates a bus that connects Pemberton village with Mount Currie and Xit'olacw. The bus runs every 1.5 to 3 hours from 6AM to 7:45PM and sticks close to Highway 99 so it's not very useful for visitors. Fares are $2.50 for adults and $2 for seniors and students.
- Birkenhead Lake Provincial Park, Blackwater Creek Rd (Take Hwy 99 east to Mt Currie. At the main intersection, go straight (the D'Arcy Road). The Blackwater Rd turn-off is on the left, approximately 33 km up the road.). Well maintained dirt road. The park is focused on a very pretty lake ringed by mountains. There is a beach for swimming and canoe rentals are available. There are also a couple of day long intermediate hikes to the south end of the lake that parallel the north and south shores. The tip of south end of park is on a 100 year lease and has a subdivision with private entry. No entry fee for day use. Canoe rentals are $20/$30/$50 (one hour/half day/full day).
- Joffre Lakes Provincial Park, Highway 99 (30 km east of Pemberton on Hwy 99). A gem of a park that is easily accessed. The highlight is the hike that winds its way past three turquoise alpine lakes to below the Matier Glacier. Lower Joffre Lake, the first lake, is a short 5-10 walk from the parking lot and is well worth the stop. The hike to the middle and upper lakes is moderately difficult with some rocky sections and an elevation gain of over 350 m. The hike one-way is 5.5 km but well worth it if you have the time.
- Nairn Falls Provincial Park, Highway 99 (2 km south of the town center on Hwy 99). Small park with its focus on the 60 m Nairn Falls. Accessible year round but camping is summer only.
- Skookumchuck Hotsprings (T'sek Hotsprings, Saint Agnes Well Hotsprings), In-SHUCK-ch Forest Service Road (1 3/4 hrs to the East of Pemberton just before the town of Skookumchuck (trad.) renamed Skatin is on the In-SHUCK-ch Forest Service Road, In Shuck ch FSR, AKA Lillooet River Road, North. Key words Google Maps: Skookumchuck Hot Springs.). $10/vehicle, $10/person, kids 10 and under free. If you don't overnight there's no vehicle charge. $7.50 per adult Overnight.
- Keyhole Hotsprings (Keyhole, Pebble Creek Hotsprings), Upper Lillooet FSR 42.5 Km (1 hr West of Pemberton, on serviceable dirt road, being improved.Take Pemberton Meadows Road turn off at 25 km for Hurley & Upper Lillooet Forest Service Road (FSR), AKA Upper Lillooet FSR. Proceed down Upper Lillooet FSR till just before 42.5 Km. Parking lot on NE side of Road Trail Head on SW side.). 24/7. 3 amazing cascading rustic pools. Hanging off the side of the cliff like birds nests. 3rd & lowest pool sits right in the river. Each pool is fashioned out of native stone found on site & mortar by local & regional volunteers. Other Names: Keyhole Hotsprings: AKA: Keyhole & Pebble Creek Hot Springs. On Upper Lillooet FSR 1 hr West of Pemberton, on a serviceable 4 x 4 improved dirt road, Lillooet Forest Service Road AKA Upper Lillooet Forest Service Road (FSR). Cost: Free & Free Camping.. Part of Meager Creek Hotspring / Geothermal Vent System. Opened July 2014 new trail: "Lillooet River Trail" longer but easier, ~ 1 mile / 1.5 km long parallel to the river. New parking lot at ~ 42.5 Km, new bridge & new improved dirt road. Note Old Trail at 44km now permanently decommissioned & closed. Area up hill of Hotsprings is a designated "Ungulate Area" for Mountain Sheep & Goats...if you must bring a dog keep it leashed - also a good idea because of all the Grizzlies & other bears around. Road ploughing scheduled for Upper Lillooet Hydro Project i.e. "Dams"s. Parking lot may not be ploughed. Free & Free Camping.
- Meager Creek Hot Springs (Meager Creek Hotsprings), Upper South Creek FSR 11Km + 4 km up hill + 9.5 km trail (2 hours 64 km drive West of Pemberton: take the paved Pemberton Meadows Road do not turn off it becomes a gravel municipal road, that then becomes the South Creek FSR. At 40 Km the road forks. Take the up-hill south fork (left) on very rough zig zagging dirt track of an old logging road for about 4 km, then 6 km along VOC Harrison Hut Trail where it meets the old Meager Creek Hot Springs Trail for 3.5 km more .  Hot Spring Layout: three beautiful - volunteer built - interconnected cascading pools, with lowest pool right beside Meager Creek. Vehicle Access: 4 wheel drive vehicle or a full size pick-up with high clearance. Or deep winter via snow mobile' or via Miller Creek over the pass or down off the Meager Glacier / Pemberton Ice Cap). 24/7. 3 beautiful volunteer built cascading large pools, with lowest pool beside Meager Creek. You need either 4 wheel drive or large pickup truck with good clearance. In Winter it can can be accessed over the top of the Pemberton Ice Cap (Meager Creek Ice Field) with Snowmobile or X-Country Skis. New trail: VOC Harrison Hut Trail built Summer 2014 by Volunteers from UBC Varsity Outdoor's Club, completed Aug 2014. No dogs allowed pool side. Best to keep dogs leased as its a wildlife area. i.e. Mt. Sheep, Mt. Goats , Coyotes, Wolves, Deer, Moose, Grizzlies & Black Bear. Free & Free Camping - but not allowed pool side. Expect Fees if Trail Tenure is granted..
- Note (Expect Fees if Trail Tenure is granted. BC Ministry of Forests is providing no details about Tenure application other than a flawed map.). 24/7. Historical fee prior to 2010 slide was $5.
Adjacent to Upper Lillooet Provincial Park (Official Government Website is out of Date)
Pemberton has some of BC's finest hiking and back country camping opportunities
- Climbing - surrounded by the Coastal Mountains, Pemberton has many opportunities for rock climbing and mountaineering. While not as popular as Squamish, there are several climbing areas located within a short drive of the village. Detailed listings can be found in any of the area's climbing guide books.
- The Meadows at Pemberton, 1730 Airport Rd (10 mins east of Pemberton just before Pemberton Airport.), ☎ , toll-free: . A par 72 course with full service club house. $25-69, depending on day of week and time of day.
- Big Sky Golf (Big Sky), 1690 Airport Rd (10 mins east of Pemberton just before Pemberton Airport.), ☎ , fax: +1 604 894-5545, e-mail: email@example.com. $ Moderate.
- Be Natural, herbal apothecary and foods, 108, 7433 Frontier St (In the AG Foods strip mall), ☎ . A health food store offering vitamin supplements, herbal blends, homeopathics, essential oils, personal care, bulk herbs and foods, healthy snacks, and specialty and organic groceries. Private health consults available by a trained Clinical Herbalist with knowledge in herbs, vitamins, nutrition, Bach Flowers, Reiki, and Reconnective Healing.
- North Arm Farm, 1888 Hwy 99 (5 km east of the McDonalds & PetroCan gas station), ☎ . 9AM-6PM daily. Local farm with a produce shop and bakery. They sell their own organic produce and produce and cheese from other BC farms. There is also a lunch menu with homemade sandwiches. Coffee $2.15, sandwiches $6-$10, baked goods $2-$5.
- Mile One Eating House (Mile One), 107-7330 Arbutus Street (Under the red Clock Tower & across from the Petro Canada gas station at the junction of Portage Rd and Hwy 99. Frontage on Portage Rd at the Pemberton Gateway Village Suites Hotel Building.), ☎ . Tu-Su 11AM-9PM-ish. Not fast food, but fast slow food. The restaurant is independently owned and operated, offering breakfast, lunch and dinner. The cuisine is "100 mile" inspired, with local natural beef and potatoes from the Valley, buns from the bakery across the street, Ocean Wise tuna caught off the Coast, and BC cheeses and veggies. Tripadvisor Certificate of Excellence winner. WiFi hotspot. $$ Moderate.
- Black Bird Bakery, 1436 Portage Rd (Hidden in the old train station. Turn at the Red Petro Canada gas station sign & the Red Gateway Building Clock Tower. in to town 4 blocks around the roundabout & turn left after crossing the railroad tracks), ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. M-Sa 6AM-6PM, Su 7AM-5PM. Croissants, cinnamon buns, fresh baked breads. Fresh roasted and ground coffees. There's a small comfy couch in back and a small south facing terrace. WiFi hotspot. $$ Moderate.
- The Wood Restaurant & Lounge (The Wood), 1436 Portage Rd (Hidden under the Water Tower at Portage Place. Beside the Petro Canada gas station and across from the Gateway Building with the Red Clock Tower.), ☎ . M-F 4PM–10PM, Sa-Su 8AM–10PM. Great steaks and pastas. Sit outside with your choice of north and south facing patios, or enjoy the sit up bar. Local brunch favorite, particularly the Eggs Benedict. WiFi hotspot. $$ Moderate.
- Mount Currie Coffee Company (Mount Currie Coffee), 2-7331 Arbutus St, ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. 6:30AM–6PM. Local favourite with amazing coffees, gelato and paninis. Sit outside in the covered all weather patio. WiFi hot Spot. $$ Moderate.
- Pemberton Distillery (Schramm's), 1954 Venture Pl (15 min east of Pemberton proper in the Pemberton Industrial Park adjacent to Mount Currie.), ☎ , fax: +1 888-894-3676, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Retail shop and tastings: F-Sa noon-6PM; Tours: Sa 4PM. Local maker of spirits and some non-alcoholic mixers. They're most noted for their Schramm Organic Potato Vodka, made out of local "Pemby" spuds, Gin, Absinthe, Whiskey and Fruit Liqueurs, which are available on-site and served at some local establishments in Whistler and Pemberton. Tastings and tours available, call ahead. Often found at Pemberton Farmers Market in downtown Barn Wed 3:30-6:30 till Canadian Thanksgiving. Non-alcoholic mixers and real distilled Vanilla available at Mile One Eating House. $$.
- Pemberton Gateway Village Suites, 7330 Arbutus St (1st building at 1st traffic light, junction Hwy 99 across from the PetroCanada station. Under the Red Clock Tower, at the beginning of the town.), ☎ , toll-free: , e-mail: email@example.com. Mile One Eating House downstairs. Condo-style units: kitchens, balconies, heated bathroom floors, flat screen TVs, WiFi and free underground parking. 360° Mountain views. $100+.
- Pemberton Valley Lodge, 1490 Portage Rd, ☎ , toll-free: . All-suite hotel (units range from studio room to two bedroom), contemporary, lodge-style atmosphere. Outdoor hot tub with 360⁰ mountain view. $160-390.
- Nairn Falls Provincial Campground, Highway 99 (2 km south of town on Hwy 99). Seasonal, bookings for busy summer weekends are best made months in advance. $.
|Routes through Pemberton|
|Cache Creek ← Lillooet ←||N S||→ Whistler → Vancouver|