Just thirty minutes north of the popular resort town of Whistler, you’ll find Pemberton. An outdoor enthusiast’s dream, home to nearly 3,500 residents, and growing rapidly.
Nestled tightly between the Pemberton valley and at the base of Mount Currie, the picturesque village of Pemberton was once only accessible by train. However, after the 1960’s when Highway 99 was built, locals and visitors to the area have since been able to enjoy the beautiful commute that continues today. “Adventure Begins Here” is the town’s slogan, and it certainly lives up to its title being an area naturally developed for almost every outdoor activity imaginable.
Pemberton proudly resides on the traditional territory of the Lil’wat Nation and was first called home by the Salish First Nations people, settling at the foot of Mount Currie and the head of Lillooet Lake. Living here, you get to enjoy a daily backdrop that will rival many others, as the skyline of the valley is dominated by the beauty of Mount Currie (‘Ts’zil’ in the local Lillooet language), towering at 2,591 metres above the village.
Whether heading north from Vancouver or coming south from Lillooet, we highly recommend making a stop here. Colourful and lush in the warmer months, and magical in the frosty, snowy winter, whichever season you pay a visit, there’s something worth adding to your itinerary.
When the snow starts to melt and the vibrant wildflowers pay a visit, you’ll see eager mountain bikers pop up to get a kick-start on the season. With hundreds of winds, inclines, and routes to explore in every direction, Pemberton’s world-class trail network draws enthusiasts every year from near and far. If you like to bike but wouldn’t class yourself as a daredevil on the pedals, each year (albeit not the last couple due to Covid), the town shuts off the Pemberton Meadows Road to host the annual Slow Food Cycle event. A fantastic day spent cruising along through the meadows, stopping in at local residences and farms for fresh produce, crafts, live music and social fun before reaching the final stop on the route at the Beer Farmers to quench your thirst with a locally brewed craft beer in the sun. Check the website for updates to this year’s event!
Perhaps you’d like to take in the beauty of Pemberton from 10,000 feet above ground level? Fly high above the valley and soak up 360° views of Mount Currie, Whistler and Blackcomb thanks to Whistler Skydiving. Local’s tip: the spring is a fantastic time for this activity as the meadows are full of new season colour.
Hiking is a favourite activity here with options to suit all fitness levels. Those looking for something a little easier can take in the beauty of One Mile Lake thanks to a short, one-mile loop over boardwalks and trails with mountains as your surrounds. Up for a bit more? Tack on an extra loop trail (approx. 4.3 miles) that starts at One Mile Lake, and heads up and over through the trees to Nairn Falls – another popular checkpoint for visitors travelling through on Highway 99.
The area of Pemberton was developed at the turn of the century as a result of forestry and agriculture and is today famous for its seed potatoes. Thanks to its geographic isolation, potatoes that are grown here are virus-free. In 1945, Pemberton was designated a Seed Potato Control Zone and since 1965 no outside seed potatoes may be planted in the valley.
You’ll find potatoes a staple on pretty much every menu, farm stand or dinner table in the area but there are also other great foods to try while you’re in town. Blackbird Bakery is a must-try when you’re visiting (a local favourite) for coffee with Pemberton beans and the most delicious baked goods – everything is made in-house using locally sourced organic and natural foods. You cannot go past without trying one of their chocolate croissants fresh out of the oven or their turkey pot pies! Or for something else quick on the go, some of the best pizza can be picked up or ordered from Backcountry Pizza – it’s truly delicious and one slice is never enough!
The Pony restaurant is a name everyone close to Pemberton will know, where rustic, wooden hitching posts still stand to welcome you. Their hand-punched fries are, you guessed it, from a farm down the road and their beers on tap are all from B.C. micro-breweries. Grab a bite either indoors near their wood-burning stove or outdoors on the patio with grand-old Mount Currie standing in direct sight.
Speaking of ponies, with more horses per capita here than anywhere else in British Columbia, a horseback riding adventure is a pretty great way to spend the day (or overnight!). Take things a little slower as you enjoy riding across riverbeds and through meadows and open fields with customized adventures for riders of all abilities. Enjoy a day out with Whistler Horseback Riding on one of their horses raised since a baby, or with Copper Cayuse Outfitters for an hourly, daily or even a 3-day overnight expedition!
With two premiere 18-hole golf courses beautifully laid out at the base of Mount Currie to enjoy through the sunnier seasons, open fields prepped and ready during winter for Cross-country skiing, lakes ready to fish in summer or ice fish in winter, there really isn’t much you can’t do here.
Housing here is growing rapidly. In fact, the Village of Pemberton has been growing at a faster rate than any other municipality in the Sea to Sky corridor. The population rose 32.4% since the last census, from 2,574 people in 2016 to 3,407 in 2022.
Driving around Pemberton, whether in the village or 5 minutes north, you’ll find new houses and housing developments underway. From homes with a little more land, to townhomes, duplexes and condo’s, there’s something here for everyone to settle and live, work, and play. But the rise in population isn’t all that surprising to the residents or the town’s Mayor. Being a part of a close-knit community, enjoying a slower pace and a unique lifestyle found outside of the bigger cities is a strong drawcard for many who already live nearby, a little further but still in the province, those across the country or even those further offshore.
If Pemberton might be on your list of locations to consider calling home, reach out to one of our expert local REALTORS® today and let them help show you not only which home could become your new havn, but what life in the mountains really could really be like!