Just north of the internationally-acclaimed alpine destination of Whistler is the town of Pemberton. It was named after Joseph Despard Pemberton, the 1850's Hudson's Bay Company surveyor-general who laid out the town-site for Victoria. Yet Pemberton couldn't be more different than the province's capital.
Pemberton and the surrounding valley of the same name has the rustic air of Wild West British Columbia, due in part to the area's ranching and mining history and the conscious effort of the locals to preserve it. As idyllic as it is rustic, the community itself is set at the base of Mount Currie and is surrounded by rolling farmlands. Affectionately referred to as Spud Valley, this region is rich and fertile thanks to the convergence of the Lillooet River, the Green River and Pemberton Creek. And naturally, these rivers feed several area lakes including Anderson Lake, Lillooet Lake, Birkenhead Lake, Owl Lake, Green Lake, Mosquito Lake and One Mile Lake, to name a few.
While Whistler offers more glamorous options, there's a beautiful simplicity to Pemberton which attracts adventurers from across the globe. Whether you're hiking, biking, riding, off-roading, fishing, rafting, kayaking, golfing, cross-country skiing, snowmobiling or just relaxing in nature, this is one of the most beautiful places in the province to do it.
Water-lovers can experience everything from rafting the Green River, jet boating on the Lillooet River or even fishing on Duffey Lake. Hikers can enjoy trails geared toward any level and length of excursion in places like the One Mile Lake and Nairn Falls walking trails or Birkenhead Lake's longer Lakeshore Trail. Mountain bike trails exist here in abundance from groomed systems to gravel roads. Pedal the trails around Ivey Lake and Mosquito Lake for some fast-paced rides or take the whole family out for the day on the 8 kilometer Valley Loop Trail which loops from Pemberton Village to Pemberton Creek Dyke. Taking a winter vacation this year? Snowmobiling the Pemberton Ice Fields is a once-in-a-lifetime experience while the Joffre Recreation Area provides some of the best cross-country skiing in the area.
Perhaps the most popular event on the Pemberton calendar is the ever-popular Pemberton Festival, a 3-day live music extravaganza that features some of the biggest acts on the planet and attracts visitors from Victoria, Vancouver and even as far away as Washington State.
We're not taking anything away from Whistler, but you never know what you'll find if you keep driving another half hour...