Pemberton is located 32 km (20 miles) north-east of Whistler
and 99 km (62 miles) south-west of Lillooet
on the 'Sea to Sky' Hwy 99. Pemberton sits at the south end of a
fertile valley called the Pemberton Valley and backs onto the very
spectacular 2,438 metre (8,000 feet) high Mount Currie.
Pemberton's history dates back from 1859 when 'Port Pemberton' first
appeared on maps of British Columbia. Situated at the north end
of Lillooet Lake, 'Port Pemberton' was a stepping-off point for
the gold seekers venturing into the gold fields found near Cayoosh
Flat, the present day Lillooet.
Eventually the gold dried up and the new settlers found themselves
gravitating from 'Port Pemberton' towards the present-day location
of Pemberton. The fertile Pemberton Valley proved to be very good
for growing seed potatoes and the mountains around Pemberton offered
some forestry and logging opportunities.
Eventually the Pacific Great Eastern (P.G.E.) and later BC Rail
established a terminus at Pemberton with passenger service starting
in 1914. Pemberton had to rely on railway travel until Hwy 99 connected
from Whistler and the rest of the Lower Mainland in 1975. BC Rail
has been since taken over by the C.N. Railway and has a small platform
located near the Pemberton Hotel.
Valley' Pemberton Seed Potatoes
Pemberton Valley for over 100 years is well-noted for seed potato
production that is exported throughout the world. This agricultural
production, because of the unique location between regions, has
created virus-free seed potatoes of many varieties. The Pemberton
Valley is proudly referred to by the locals as 'Spud Valley' and
is quite evident in the area.
Pemberton is a small community that has been rapidly expanding due
to the close proximity of Whistler Blackcomb Resort at Whistler.
With more space available for people to habitat, Pemberton has been
building more services and offering residents an outdoor recreational
lifestyle throughout the region.
If you do visit Pemberton, try and visit the historic Pemberton
Hotel which was established in 1914. The hotel is located across
from the CN Railway on Frontier Street. The Pemberton Hotel has
a pub, accommodation and definitely adds to the character and outdoor
spirit of the Pemberton area.
There is a small museum found in Pemberton where you can view the
historic heritage that has come about. Located on Prospect Street
the museum is partly housed in a hand-hewn timber building made
in the 1880's and an old schoolhouse. Pemberton Museum showcases
local First Nations and the settlement process of Europeans into
Starting in the summer of 2008 at the end of July is the Pemberton
Festival. This music celebration is British Columbia's biggest concert
event held on four different stages featuring some of the world's
biggest acts. Book earlier in order to reserve camping and other
For golfers Pemberton offers outstanding golf at Big Sky Golf &
Country Club. The Robert Cupp designed course set amongst residential
homes and condominiums have tremendous views of Mount Currie in
You have the choice of Nicklaus North designed by Jack Nicklaus,
Fairmont Chateau Whistler Golf Club designed by Robert Trent Jones
Jr., and Whistler Golf Club designed by Arnold Palmer.
Mount Currie is situated on the east
side of Pemberton on Hwy 99 and is home to a First Nation Lil'wat
group of the Stl'atl'lmx Nation, members of the Lillooet Tribal
Council. You can find Spirit Circle Art Craft & Tea for refreshments
and, for food, in the old Yukon Joe's building the Mountain Heroes
Grill in Mount Currie.
Road to D'Arcy
For more exploring around Pemberton, at Mount Currie turn off the
'Sea to Sky' Hwy 99 onto Portage Road. Portage Road takes you 34
km (21 miles) into the beautiful countryside found at Birkenhead
Lake Provincial Park, D'Arcy and Anderson
Lake. D'Arcy is very different climatically as it is at the transition
zone from the wet coastal of Pemberton to the drier interior found
At D'Arcy you will find the narrow Highline Road a 4x4 summer-only
road that runs the length of Anderson Lake taking you to Seaton
Portage about 33 km (21 miles) away. The Highline Road follows
the BC Hydro transmission right of way along the C.N. tracks and
offers great views of Anderson Lake.
River Forest Service Road
A good area to explore around Pemberton is up the Pemberton Valley
following the Lillooet River up past Pemberton Meadows. Eventually
you will come to the turnoff to the Lillooet River Forest Service
Road. If you take the Lillooet River Forest Service Road, you will
come to the turnoff to the Hurley River Forest Service Road or up
towards Meager Creek.
River Forest Service Road
If you are heading up to Lillooet and have a good operating vehicle
there is a way following the summer-only route - the Hurley River
Forest Service Road. The road will take you through Bralorne,
Bridge, along Carpenter Lake and the Bridge River Valley into
Falls Provincial Park
For camping try visiting Nairn
Falls Provincial Park 3 km (2 miles) south of Pemberton, the
location where the Green River cascades over a rock ledge just below
the CN Railway tracks.
Meager Creek is the site of a natural hotsprings and land area that
contains high thermal properties. It has been thought that a thermal
power plant for electrical generation would be developed and various
projects have been designed. The road is subject to major washouts,
slides and is, unfortunately, closed right now because of a debris
dam across the road at Capricorn Creek since 2010. You will need
to check to see if it is open in the future.