Just a couple of hours north of Vancouver, you can escape to the wild peacefulness of Nairn Falls. Whether you’re looking to hike or relax in the hammock, you can get your nature-fill camping at this provincial park.
For my most recent mother-daughter camping trip, my mom and I headed north to Nairn Falls. As a child, I used to camp all the time. My family would pile into the trailer and stay for a long weekend. We’d do this a few times a year, often joining our large group of camping friends. But as my brothers and I got older, along with our camping buddies, camping fell to the wayside.
While we all occasionally camp, I’m bringing the family tradition back. Last year, I invited my mom to come tenting with me at Rathtrevor Provincial Park, and this year I picked out Nairn Falls for us. Coming late to the reservation time, I was surprised to get anything at all!
Nairn Falls is located just a few kilometers south of Pemberton, a small provincial campground and park located immediately off the highway. Coming from Vancouver, it’s not a far trip for an extended weekend like ours.
Of course, the action started before we even got to the park. Stopping at Tim Horton’s in Squamish for a bite, we had our dog with us and enjoyed our food outside on a picnic table. Out of nowhere, a young black bear appeared about 20 feet away on the hunt for garbage bins and food. Luckily our dog was so distracted by trying to get a piece of my bagel she didn’t even notice the bear (give her a break, she is 12). I’ve never scooped up my food and dog so fast in my life. Welcome to bear country!
Pemberton itself is a small town with a population of approximately 3,400 people. You won’t find a ton to do inside the town itself, but we did stop at the Friday farmer’s market, grabbed ice and cold drinks at the grocery store, used McDonald’s Wi-Fi, and bought a brush for my mop of a dog at the pet shop. It has the necessities!
What attracts people to Pemberton the most is the natural beauty. Surrounded by mountains (notably Mt. Currie), the area doesn’t lack one bit in the scenery. There are plenty of trails and lakes within driving distance, including the famous Joffre Lakes. Of course, you also have Whistler just south of Pemberton for more activities, lakes, and hiking trails.
Nairn Falls Amenities
At Nairn Falls, you’ll find yourself surrounded by trees. And thank goodness for that! It’s significantly hotter than Vancouver in Pemberton. For us, the temperatures were around 30°C in Pemberton as opposed to 25°C in Vancouver. But with the trees and shade of our campsite, it was quite alright.
The campsite has the basics. You get outhouses, water pumps (that are a serious workout), picnic tables, and firepits. The campsites are quite spacious and decently private from fellow campers. A park operator routinely drives by and provides firewood for sale (they even take credit cards. What a world we live in!).
Like Pemberton, there isn’t much at the campsite in terms of activities to keep you occupied. However, the tall trees and sound of the rushing river are lovely enough all on their own. You do have two trails right at the campground. One to take you to the Nairn Falls (a must-see), and the other will take you to One Mile Lake. One Mile Lake is a small swimming lake with a beach, boardwalk, and kayak or paddleboard rentals. We chose the drive to One Mile Lake since the dog can’t do long walks these days!
One word of warning, there are LOTS of mosquitoes at Nairn Falls. I left the weekend with 79 mosquito bites. Yes, really. I wore long sleeves when it cooled down and used bug spray, citronella candles, and mosquito coils. Come prepared.
Overall Thoughts on Nairn Falls
Without a doubt, it was a stunning location. BC scenery rarely disappoints, and you will get your nature fill for sure at this campground. In all honesty, I wouldn’t return to this campground based on the sheer amount of mosquitoes. At some points of the day, they would be gone. At others, they were feasting on my ankles. I’m not sure if it was a one-season thing or if the mosquitoes are bad every summer. Let me know if you’ve experienced the mosquitoes at Nairn Falls!
My mom absolutely loved the campsite. She enjoyed falling asleep to the sound of the river and the peacefulness of the Pemberton area. Mind you, the mosquitoes seemed to prefer me over her.
The campsite has a good mix of people, including families, adventurers, and quiet relaxing groups like my mom and I. Make sure to get a spot as close to the river as possible!
Written by contributor, Holly Heuver.