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Whistler Day Trippin’ to Pemberton

a snow covered mountain

Pemberton, BC, is located a half-hour drive from Whistler. It’s one of the most picturesque mountain towns in all of British Columbia. Perhaps even giving Whistler a run for its money. 

A lush, farm-filled valley surrounded by snow-capped mountains is hard to ignore. It makes for a great escape from the hustle and bustle. It’s a perfect whistler day trip (among many day trip possibilities).

If you are thinking about exploring one of BC’s best-kept secrets, here is a rundown of all the places to eat, places to visit, and things to do in Pemberton. 

First Things First, How Far Is Pemberton from Whistler?

Pemberton

Teaser: A vision of Pemberton

Pemberton is so close to Whistler that you can pack in a full days’ worth of activities in Pemberton and be back into the Village by nightfall. 

If you are driving, it takes 30 mins from the center of Whistler Village to downtown Pemberton. That’s 32.6 km or roughly 20 miles.

Can you bike from Whistler to Pemberton? As the end of the sea to sky highway, it’s a favorite finale for road cyclists. It takes roughly 2.5 hours to bike it for an experienced road biker. Expect lots of hills and busy highway traffic.

Can you walk between Pemberton and Whistler? Not unless you are crazy. It’s a seven-hour walk along a busy highway. Do yourself a favor and drive, bike, or transit.

If you don’t have your own means of transportation, check out the Pemberton Commuter, a public transit service that runs five times a day. 

Northbound trips heading from Whistler start at the Gondola Transit Exchange Stop #1, make a pit stop at Meadow Parks Recreation Centre and Rainbow Estates, before ending at Blackbird Bakery right in Pemberton proper. The first trip starts at 6:20 am, and the last trip back is at 9:58 pm.

What to Do in Pemberton, BC?

Are you wondering what to do in Pemberton? It’s our favourite local destination for epic outdoor adventure and for gourmet food.

The Pemberton Valley is a fertile landscape that has developed a slow food culture as unique as the peaks surrounding it.

The following suggestions for Pemberton, BC, covers places to eat, like One Mile Eatery and North Arm Farm. Want to quench your thirst? We also detail the many awesome local breweries and distilleries in the valley.

Or maybe you want to get out into nature, so we check out Nairn Farms and One Mile Lake. And don’t forget the epic mountain biking, hang gliding, and backcountry activities this little town offers.

We love all things Pemberton, which is why we want to spread this deep appreciation with a guide to the perfect day trip to Pemberton.

Start Your Day with a Mountain Morning Pit Stop

latte's and coffees on a table

A small sampling from Mount Currie Coffee Co.

A trip to Pemberton wouldn’t be complete unless you stopped for a shot of espresso and a delightful sweet at Mount Currie Coffee Company, located right on the highway beside Mile One Eating House. 

After getting their feet wet in Pemberton in 2007, Mount Currier Coffee has since opened another location in Whistler, so you might already be familiar with them. But, when in Pemberton, checking out their flagship cafe is a ritual we never neglect.

Not only do they make one fine cup of coffee, which could rival roasts from Vancouver, they bake an array of snacks in-house to help you power through your morning. 

As much as possible is sourced locally, including potatoes from up the Valley at Helmer’s Organic Farm, Pemberton Meadows Beef, and Turkey. If you roll into town too late for morning coffee, don’t worry, they also serve lunch!

Activities in Pemberton

It shouldn’t be surprising to discover that Pemberton is an epic outdoor adventure destination. Surrounded by some of the most beautiful mountainscapes in the province, the local activities focus on getting into the backcountry. 

The Whistler day trip activities in Pemby are endless.

Mountain Biking

Whistler is a world-class destination for mountain biking because of its downhill park, but just North of the resort is a mountain biking mecca. 

Switch up your mountain biking trip in Whistler with Pemberton, an area with trails suitable for just about every level of experience. There is something for the mountain biking beginner (tips for beginners here) to the seasoned pro. 

If you haven’t lugged your bike up from Whistler, there are a few places in town to rent all the gear. Pemberton Bike Co., related to Whistler Bike Co., can get you totally set up for a day in the mountains, whether you need a complete downhill kit or a cruisey cross country set up.

If you are new to the area and have a bike in hand, we suggest checking out the Mackenzie Area, just east of Pemberton or Mosquito Lake. 

You can find the full breakdown of Pemberton’s world-class mountain bike scene on Trailforks. They will have the most up-to-date info on the trails in the region.

White Water Rafting With Wedge 

Based out of Whistler, Wedge Rafting hosts some of their most beautiful runs starting just North of Whistler on the Green River. This makes their Green River run easy to fit into a whistler day trip. 

Their whitewater river guides are the best of the best from around the world. They routinely come back season after season for their summer stint at Wedge. 

They carefully guide you through all the safety protocols before hitting the river for a day of scenic, whitewater turbulence. The Green River Run is a series of Class 2 and Class 3 rapids, making for an exhilarating but still family-friendly activity (Need more family-friendly activities?)

The Green River run is their most popular for a reason; it offers some of the best introduction to the epic landscapes around Pemberton and Whistler, canyons, rapids, wildlife, and mountains. It doesn’t get more Canadian than this.

Backcountry Sled Tours

Broken Boundary takes you deep into the Pemberton backcountry during the Winter months for a once-in-a-lifetime sledding adventure. 

They take you beyond the peaks you can see and into the surrounding backcountry. The power of the mountains is tangible when you are surrounded by them. 

While experienced sledders can rent the necessary equipment through Broken Sled you can also get a handle on the basics with clinics and courses. They also offer backcountry tours for skiing and snowboarding. 

One Mile Lake

For a chiller Pemberton activity, check out One Mile Lake. This pristine little body of water sits along Highway 99 right at the entrance to town and offers a host of chill activities. In the summer, this is a swimming spot but also great for paddleboarding, kayaking, and canoeing.

If you are an avid birdwatcher, the surrounding wetlands are home to any number of local waterfowl. It also has a relaxing walking trail around it’s shores, parts of which are highly accessible.

Nairn Falls Provincial Park

If you are driving from Whistler, you might as well also make a pit stop at Nairn Falls Provincial Park. One of the most fantastic waterfalls in the area is Nairn Falls. Situated in a stunning canyon with aquamarine waters, you can take it all in from the viewing platform.

This park offers hiking, camping, and nature viewing opportunities. It’s one of our favourite parks to camp in because of the space’s shady sites and quiet nature. Rates are $22 per person per night

Lunch and Dinner Break in Pemberton, BC

For a tiny little farming community, Pemberton has more than one place to fill you up over the lunch hour. 

Most local eateries take their inspiration from the cornucopia of produce available at their front door, including local meat producers, organic veggies, and of course, the famous Pemberton potatoes.

Mile One Eating House

Mile One burgers

One Mile Eatery: Can’t get much better than mac & cheese and burgers

Maybe the best place to source ethical comfort food in all the Sea to Sky Corridor, Mile One Eating House focuses its attention on two things: burgers and mac and cheese. 

Their entire menu is a revolving door of creative takes on both these delicious dishes. Locally sourced meats, cheeses, and vegetables make the foundation of all the plates on their menu.

Even if Pemberton isn’t our final destination, we can’t drive through without stopping in at Mile One for a burger. If burgers aren’t your thing, the mac and cheese options are also to die for. Our favourite is the Wild & Tame with Two Rivers’ elk chorizo, BC mushrooms, asparagus & tomatoes.

Fish & Rice Sushi and Beyond

Pemberton’s only sushi restaurant is a relatively new spot but already getting rave reviews. Merging Japanese with other culinary traditions, you can get Pad Thai with a kamikaze sushi roll all at the same time.

Expect excellent seafood and affordable prices at this Pemberton restaurant. We love the BBQ Yellowtail Roll, the Seafood Salad, and their rotating lineup of specials. 

North Arm Farm 

North Arm Farms is the darling of the Sea to Sky. It combines a fun family activity with delicious local food. It’s a large farm that offers u-pick fruits and vegetables in the summer, local craft markets on a seasonal basis, and most importantly — a delicious dine-in menu.

Made with veggies grown within sight of the shop, you’ll love the breakfast treats, cheesy paninis, and hearty soups on offer. Once full, stock up on fresh farm vegetables at the shop and head out back to see the goats, pigs, and sheep.

The Pony Restaurant

a horse drawn carriage in front of a building

One of the original places to eat in Pemberton, BC

Before everything else, there was The Pony. This is a local favourite, long considered to be one of the original Pemberton BC establishments. The new owners took over this historic spot in 2009 and have transformed it into an elevated foodie destination.

As with the rest of the Pemberton restaurant scene, you can expect locally sourced meats, cheeses, vegetables, and potatoes. As they say on their website, “Our food showcases both Chef Owners fine dining experience but is presented in typical rustic Pemberton fashion.

Alongside tasty menu options, the Pony has one of the most picturesque patios in all of BC: Mount Currie.

Looking for Barn Nook?

A long-time Pemberton staple for authentic Thai food, Barn Nook has permanently closed its Pemberton location. However, they are set to open a new Whistler spot in Fall 2021. Check their website regularly for updates. 

Feeling Thirsty? Pemberton Breweries and Distilleries

The Pemberton Distillery

A proud local establishment, making fine spirits since 2008. Like the other food and drink-focused establishments in the town, they also take much of their inspiration from the land around them. 

In their opinion, you can’t make vodka without Pemberton potatoes.

We’ve been on many distillery and brewery tours in our day, but we’ve never witnessed such dedication to the craft as we did through our tour with these guys. We learned more in one hour about locally made whiskey than we had ever known before. The folks at the Pemberton distillery are passionate about the spirits they produce.

Besides their passion, Pemberton Distillery set itself apart from the rest of the spirit world through its craft spirit and organic certification. 

a group of people standing on top of a wooden fence

You can’t get more local than the Beer Farmer Brewery

Although most vodka these days is produced with grain, Pemberton is the only certified organic potato vodka in the world. If that isn’t something to cheers to, then we don’t know what is. 

At the time of writing, Pemberton Distillery Tours were on hiatus due to COVID-19 health restrictions.

The Beer Farmers

The Beer Farmers combine Pemberton Valley’s tradition of farming with the Canadian love of beer. One of the area’s newest breweries, this family-run farm, isn’t doing things a little differently. Its focus is to grow local beer from ingredients produced right here in Pemberton.

Barley, hops, and water all go into the fermentation tanks to produce some seriously tasty brews. Check out their dog-friendly tasting room spilling out of the old barn to sample some of their offerings. We love the Locals Only Lager and the Cover Crop Hazy IPA.

Make A Trip to Pemberton on Your Whistler Vacation

Taking a day out from your jam-packed Whistler holiday can be a tough sell, but traveling to Pemby for a day trip is well worth the time. Afterall, Whistler to Pemberton takes only 30 mins!

The pace is slower, the food more focused, and the mountain air feels fresher. When it comes to things to do in Pemberton, it might start with the mountains but it will always end with the food. Maybe it’s just our humble opinion, but Pemberton is a must-hit pit stop on any BC road trip. It’s honestly a gem with something to offer the backcountry folks, the foodies, and the families.

 

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