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. In 2021, the village of Pemberton was home to 3,400 people.
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 centre for seed potatoes and, more recently, organic farming, with a big Slow Food/Tere Madre movement. Pemberton is a bedroom community of Whistler.
Tourism has become more important to Pemberton, 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 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, there is skiing, sledding, snowmobiling, snowshoeing, snowboarding, ice climbing, 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 hosted the Canadian Paragliding Nationals in 2012.
- 1 Pemberton & District Visitor Information Centre, Hwy 99 & Portage Rd (across from the PetroCan gas station), ☏ +1 604-894-6175. Early May to late Sept: 9AM-5PM. 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 158 km north of Vancouver and 33 km north of Whistler Village. About 22 km & 20 minutes from Whistler northern town limits to the edge of Pemberton.
- North: dirt & gravel High Line via Seaton Portage & Selath to Lillooet
- West & north: dirt & gravel Hurley Pass to Braelorne & Goldbridge in summer only. Winter via snowmoble.
- East: In-shuck-ch Forest Service Road (FSR) via Lillooet Lake, Skookumchuck Hot Springs, Port Douglas, & Harrison Lake to Harrison Hotsprings.
- Link TransBC road reports
- Link RSR road reports
- Parkbus, toll-free: +1-800-928-7101, email@example.com. Service for 46 passengers from downtown Vancouver (Burrard Street) to parks that feature hiking or campus, such as: Shannon Falls, Stawamus Chief, Alice Lake, Garibaldi, Joffre Lake, Cypress, and Golden Ears Provincial Parks.
There is no direct rail service - the Rocky Mountaineer just passes through.
- Lillooet - Salath - Seaton Portage (Speeder) (The 2-car passenger train provides, besides daily round trip service, limited service farther south to Ponderossa Ranch near D'Arcy & can be chartered to extend the Ponderossa Run to D'Arcy - 45 min 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.).
- 1 Pemberton Regional Airport (Pemberton Airport, Pemberton Areodrome, CYPS, Whistler local airport, Whistler regional airport), ☏ +1 604-894-6135. M-F 8AM-5PM or by appointment.
- Air: heli-skiing, charter planes & helicopters (Web Cam).
- 2 Blackcomb Aviation (Prop, jet & helicopters), 1850 Airport Road, ☏ +1 604-894-5153, firstname.lastname@example.org. M-F 8AM-5PM or by appointment.
- 3 Blackcomb Helicopters, Head Office: 1641 Airport Road. Booking Office Whistler, 218-4293 Mountain Square (Booking Office Whistler by gondola), ☏ +1 604-894-1144, email@example.com.
- 4 Tyax Adventures, 17 - 1850 Airport Road, ☏ +1 250-238-0177, toll-free: +1-888-892-9288, firstname.lastname@example.org. M-F 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.
- 5 BCFS Fire Attack Base (Fire Base, Forest Fire Fighting Base), 2000 Airport Road (end of Airport Rd. directly north of eastern tip of runway.), ☏ +1 604-894-5436, fax: +1 604 894-5092, Dombowsky@gov.bc.ca. Summer Fire Season. The BCFS Fire Attack Base logistics & training base; aircraft kept at Pemberton Aerodrome.
You can cycle to Pemberton via Highway 99.
1st & 2nd only bikes in summer go on front bumper rack on WAVE Transit buses.
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.
By public transit
- BC Transit (Pemberton Valley Transit System), ☏ +1-604-894-6135. Operates two bus routes daily, a multiple times per day: Local transit: $2.50 for adults, and $2 for seniors and students; Travel to or from Whistler: $4.50.
- Bus route 99 connects between Whistler and Pemberton
- Bus route 100 connects Pemberton village with Mount Currie and Xit'olacw. The bus runs daily every 1½ to 3 hours from 6AM to 7:45PM and sticks close to Highway 99 so it's not very useful for visitors.
- 1 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).
- 2 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.
- 3 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. Day-use permitted in winter.
- 4 Pemberton & District Museum & Archives Society, 7455 Prospect St, ☏ +1 (604) 894-5504. Tu–Sa 10AM–5PM. The compact site in the heart of Pemberton village displays five historic buildings from local history, stuffed with artifacts of how the settlers lived. In the yard are old farming machines. An interesting place to pass a couple of hours. The society which runs the museum also preserves about 25 m of archives. By donation.
- 5 Lil̓wat7úl Culture Centre, 82 Ir 10 Rd (U̓ll̓us Community Complex, second floor), ☏ +1-604-894-6115, email@example.com. M-F 8:30AM–4:30PM (call to confirm). Exhibits of cedar baskets, wood carvings, mask, buckskin clothing. Cultural programs of stories, drum making, guided nature walks. These add up to Nt̓ákmen (Our Way), the traditional values that inform all aspects of a person’s life, from how they live on the land to using the Líl̓wat Ucwalmícwts (traditional language). The setting — the administrative and educational centre of a nation moving to self-determination — is itself educational. Free, by donation.
Hot Springs are plentiful and beautiful in the area. Caution: There is a phenomenon called supernatant liquid. A layer of lighter, fresh, cooler water can float on top of the denser, mineral-rich, hot-springs water. Dipping your toe into the top of the pool may deceive you. The water underneath may be hot enough to scald, and cause 2nd or 3rd degree burns. Check out the temperature below the surface first before jumping into the pool, by dipping in with a bottle on a stick or lanyard, or with a long-handled cooking-pot. Don't use your bare hands or feet.
- 1 Keyhole Hotsprings (Keyhole, Pebble Creek Hotsprings), Upper Lillooet FSR 42.5 Km (1½ 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 (closed in winter because of bears). Three amazing cascading rustic pools, hanging off the side of the cliff like birds nests. The third and lowest pool sits right in the river. Each pool is fashioned out of native stone found on site & mortar by local & regional volunteers. Part of Meager Creek Hotspring/Geothermal Vent System. Lillooet River Trail is an easy 1 mile/1.6 km trail parallel to the river. Parking lot at ~ 42.5 Km, with bridge and an improved dirt road. The old trail at 44 Km is permanently decommissioned & closed. Area up hill of Hotsprings is a designated "Ungulate Area" for mountain sheep and goats. If you must bring a dog, keep it leashed. This is also a good idea because of all the Grizzlies & other bears around. Road snow-ploughing scheduled for Upper Lillooet Hydro Project, i.e. dams. Parking lot may not be ploughed. Free & free camping.
- 2 Meager Creek Hot Springs, Upper South Creek FSR 11 km + 4 km up hill + 9.5-km trail (2 hours and 64 km 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. Or, via Miller Creek over the pass, or down off the Meager Glacier or Pemberton Ice Cap.). 24/7. Three beautiful volunteer-built cascading large pools, with the lowest pool beside Meager Creek. No dogs or camping allowed poolside. Best to keep dogs leashed as it is a wildlife area, i.e. mountain sheep, mountain goats, coyotes, wolves, deer, moose, grizzlies & black bear. Vehicle access: 4-wheel drive vehicle or a full size pick-up with high clearance. Or deep winter via snow mobile. Free & Free Bush Camping for now, but expect fees if trail tenure is granted.
- 3 Skookumchuck Hotsprings (T'sek Hotsprings, Saint Agnes Well Hotsprings), In-shuck-ch Forest Service Road (1½ 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 for camping.
- 4 Sloquet Hotsprings (Sloquet Hot Springs), Sloquet Creek FSR 10 Km (Can be accessed from the north by way of Pemberton & Mount Currie or from the South on FSR/logging roads on the west side of Harrison Lake.). 24 / 7. The Hotsprings consists of a series of small but excellent hot pools in a wilderness setting. Hot water pours out of the forested side of the bank of Sloquet Creek & flows into 2 intimate 2-person double upper pools- tight fit, then into a the larger shallow lower pool. On occasion, the water in the upper pools may be too hot to bathe in. The 3rd pool farther down the creek is just right temperature. $5 day use & $15 camping at trail head.
Climbing: surrounded by the Coastal Mountains, Pemberton has some of BC's finest hiking and back country camping opportunities. It also offers 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.
- 5 Sunstone Golf Club, 1730 Airport Rd (10 mins east of Pemberton just before Pemberton Airport.), ☏ +1 604-894-6197, toll-free: +1-800-390-4653. A par 72 course with full service club house. $25-69, depending on day of week and time of day.
- 6 Big Sky Golf, 1690 Airport Rd (10 mins east of Pemberton just before Pemberton Airport. Clubhouse down Big Sky Drive), ☏ +1 604-894-6106, toll-free: +1-800-668-7900, fax: +1 604 894-5545, firstname.lastname@example.org. Summer: Su–Th 8AM–8PM, F Sa 8AM–9PM; other seasons shorter hours. 18-hole course with a 19th hole bar & restaurant. Moderate prices.
- 7 Cayoosh Expeditions (Often meet at Old Community Centre Playing Fields Park), email@example.com. Experienced paraglider pilots and skilled outdoor guides Corinne and Jim offer tandem paraglider pilots in some of the best free flight conditions in North America. They have been building the sport of paragliding in the Pemberton Valley for decades. They also can sell paragliding gear, up to complete wing and harness sets. Tandem flight $240.
- 8 Sea To Sky Paragliding (Frequently meet at Old Community Centre Playing Fields Park), ☏ +1 778-892-7733, firstname.lastname@example.org. May–October, by appointment. Instructor pilot Guy offers tandem paraglider flights, mostly from Mt Mackenzie. When the Canadian National Paragliding Championships were held here in 2017, Guy organised them. Tandem flight $240.
Biking: Almost 200 km of free trails for cross-country skiing, biking, walking, or riding a horse in the whole Valley System.
- Ironman triathlon. 23 km from Whistler Town limits to Pemberton. It's a popular, though challenging, hilly route. Part of the annual Whistler - Pemberton IronMan Canada Race.
- 1 Be Natural, herbal apothecary and foods, 108, 7433 Frontier St (In the AG Foods strip mall), ☏ +1 604-894-8884. 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.
- 2 Pemberton Distillery, 1954 Venture Pl (15 min east of Pemberton proper in the Pemberton Industrial Park adjacent to Mount Currie), ☏ +1 604-894-0222, fax: +1 888-894-3676, email@example.com. 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 is available on-site and served at some local establishments in Whistler and Pemberton. Tastings and tours available; call ahead. During summer, also at Pemberton Farmers Market, the Barn in downtown, W 3:30–6:30PM.
- 1 North Arm Farm, 1888 Hwy 99 (5 km east of the McDonalds & PetroCan gas station), ☏ +1 604-894-5379. 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 home-made sandwiches. Coffee $2.15, sandwiches $6-10, baked goods $2-5.
- 2 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), ☏ +1 604-384-3842. Tu-Su 11AM-9PM-ish. Not fast food, but fast slow food. 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. WiFi hotspot. Moderate prices.
- 3 BlackBird Bakery, 7424 Frontier St (Hidden in the old train station), ☏ +1 604-894-6226, firstname.lastname@example.org. M-Sa 6AM-6PM, Su 7AM-5PM. Croissants, cinnamon buns, freshly baked breads. Fresh roasted and ground coffees. There's a small comfy couch in back and a small south facing terrace. WiFi hotspot. Moderate prices.
- 4 Mount Currie Coffee Company (Mount Currie Coffee), 2-7331 Arbutus St (beside Pemberton Gateway Village Suites Hotel, 1st right off Hwy 99 entering Village), ☏ +1 604-894-3388, email@example.com. 6:30AM–6PM. Local favourite for coffee, gelato and paninis. Sit outside in the covered all weather patio. WiFi hotspot. Moderate prices.
- 5 BackCountry Pizza, 104-1436 Portage Road (Hidden under the water tower at Portage Place. Turn off Hwy 99 at the 1st & only traffic light. Diagonal corner from Pemberton Gateway Village Suites Hotel. Across the street from Arbutus), ☏ +1 604-384-1888. Daily approx 10AM-10PM. Small south facing terrace. Great pizza by the slice. Eat at the small counter or take out. A local favourite. moderate.
- 6 Portage Station Restaurant, 1436 Pemberton Portage Road (also hidden under the water tower at Portage Place; turn off BC Hwy 99 at the 1st & only traffic light. Diagonal corner from Pemberton Gateway Village Suites Hotel, across the street from Arbutus), ☏ +1 604-894-1100, firstname.lastname@example.org. Daily 8AM-9PM. 2 patios & a long sit up bar. Great Local craft beer selection. Breakfast menu includes Eggs Benedict.
- 7 Pemberton Valley Supermarket, 7438 Prospect St, ☏ +1 (604) 894-3663. Daily 8AM–9PM. If you are cooking on your own, this is a quite serviceable place to get a full line of groceries and fresh produce. There is a nice deli at the front offering hot meals and sandwiches.
- 8 Sunstone Bar & Grill, 1730 Airport Road (in the clubhouse of the Meadows at Pemberton), ☏ +1 604-894-6197 ext 5, toll-free: +1-800-390-4653, email@example.com. Summers; reduced hours spring, fall; closed winter. Meals in a beautiful green setting surrounded by high mountains. In summer, the open, high-roofed deck is insanely pleasant. Watch incoming aircraft fly by low on their approach to nearby Runway 06. Satisfactory vegetarian options. Entrées $14-24.
- 1 Pemberton Valley Lodge, 1490 Portage Rd, ☏ +1 604-894-2000, toll-free: +1-877-894-2800. All-suite hotel (units range from studio room to two bedroom), contemporary, lodge-style atmosphere. Outdoor hot tub with 360⁰ mountain view. $160-390.
- 2 Nairn Falls Provincial Campground, Highway 99 (3 km south of town on Hwy 99), ☏ +1 604-986-9371, firstname.lastname@example.org. Quiet hours are 10PM to 7AM. Seasonal, bookings for busy summer weekends are best made months in advance, 1/2 the spots may be booked in advance on line the rest 1st come 1st serve on site.
- 3 Greenwood Country Inn, 1371 Greenwood Street (northwest of the Frontier Street shopping district, via Aster Street and Dogwood Street; go to the circle at the end of Greewood Street), ☏ +1 604-894-5607, toll-free: +1-877-977-5607, email@example.com. Check-in: 4PM, check-out: 11AM. This friendly, comfortable B&B is a delightful base for adventures in Pemberton. Margit, the innkeeper, is helpful and accommodating. And, she makes a mean breakfast. Most rooms have access to a kitchenette, which gives you the flexibility of self-catering or enjoying her delicious-breakfast. Free Wi-fi. No smoking. One room can accommodate a small pet. $100-$195/night, double occupancy; breakfast $15/person.
- 6 Pemberton Health Centre, 1403 Portage Rd, ☏ +1 604-894-6939. Daily 8:30 AM - 8:30 PM. Provides emergency care during operating hours. Emergency care is also available in Whistler with somewhat longer operating hours and the nearest hospital with an emergency department operating 24/7 is in Squamish.
|Routes through Pemberton|
|Cache Creek ← Lillooet ←||N S||→ Whistler → Vancouver|