Earlier this week one of my fellow Lower Lonsdale writers posted an article about the devastating rush to jump in to autumn. While we all love summer here in Vancouver, there seems to be a panic in the final weeks of August as everyone scrambles to plan that final camping trip, throw an epic BBQ, or gather school supplies. While the rush can be fun, I urge you to hear the words of my colleage, and rather than stress about the coming cold snap–which may not even arrive thanks to Godzilla–take some time to rest and relax! One surefire way to take advantage of our good weather and shed that end-of-summer stress is to get out in to nature. I realize that I’m perpetuating the urge to pack more in, but once you’re out there in the woods, take a deep breath and smile–summer isn’t over yet!
As I’ve mentioned before, Vancouver has a vast number of natural attractions to choose from for your urban break. One in particular that I love is Nairn Falls Provincial Park. Nestled in the forest between Whistler and Pemberton, this BC gem is only a two hour drive from our home here in Lower Lonsdale. The park is easy to locate, being right off BC-99 N, and there’s ample parking for daytippers. Take your time on the Sea to Sky, stopping in at Brittania’s Galileo Coffee , and enjoying those lovely winding roads and coastal views!
What to do in Nairn Falls
Well, there the obvious of course–go visit the falls! From the parking lot, follow the sounds of the river to find the appropriate trail head. There’s only one trail, and while it is not wheelchair accessible, it is an easy trek on a well groomed wooded path. The “hike” runs along a 1.5km trail that follows the picturesque Green River. Take an opportunity to veer off course and make your way down to the water. I wouldn’t recommend swimming, as the current is quite strong, but the waterside vista makes for some lovely photo ops and a nice place to relax.
At the end of the trail you’ll find yourself at Nairn falls. The falls–which are slightly obscured by various rock walls–are around 60m high and feed in to a collection of pools and rapids. After taking a selfie and reading about the process of erosion, make your way down to the bottom region of the lookout. Here you’ll be treated to an impressive display of nature, as water rushes and roars over a cliff of polished rock mere metres from where you stand.
Aside from the falls, which really don’t take that much time out of your day, there is a multitude of activities to keep you busy in this area. For instance, a short car ride north of the falls will bring you to One Mile Lake, where you can try your hand at paddleboarding. If you prefer to paddle in a seated position, head on over to Green or Alta Lake. While industrious beavers have stop-gapped the River of Golden Dreams, which connects the two lakes, paddlers can still enjoy the lakes themselves, or take a trip down the river as far as the dams will allow. TIP: hours of operation and rental availability are subject to change, so call ahead or stop by an info centre (off Hwy 99) to avoid dissapointment.
If the 2 hour commute to Nairn Falls seems a bit daunting for a daytrip, or you have a hankering to explore beyond–e.g., Pemberton Valley, Garibaldi Provincial Park, Joffre Lakes–plan to camp on site. The rustic campground at Nairn falls features a large number of beautifully wooded sites that are both spacious and private. The cost is $20 a night, and there are enough sites on hand that you generally don’t need to worry about booking ahead. For the nervous nelly’s out there, pre-select your spot on the BC Parks website. Of course, if you’re highly adverse to water pumps and pit toilets, you could always incorporate Nairn in to your next trip to Whistler.