I live in a land that is vertically-blessed, so have never bothered to explore the local hiking trails and easy walks. I prefer to harness gravity and ride, climb, ski, or even, (just once), drop out of the sky. (Pemberton is one of the world’s best locations for paragliding, so I had to try it.)
But since having a baby, I have walked. Through forest trails, along lakeside boardwalks, up and down and around and around, I have walked. I discovered I can walk half-asleep. I can walk and sing extremely monotonous songs.
(Husband: why are all these kids’ songs so repetitive?
Me: So you can remember them even when you can’t remember your own name.)
I walk when I want to be writing, with my brain whirring into gear as my feet move. (The baby lets me stop every now and then to tap out something on the phone as long as I’m quick. But mostly, he gazes up at the leaves and shadows in such quiet awe I wonder if he can see forest-nymphs.)
I foresee many days of walking ahead of us. At least until he starts riding a bike and jumping off cliffs.
Happily, I live in Pemberton. Land of trails.
So even when the sweet-faced Sleep Stealer graduates from the baby sling, and begins trundling on his own, we’ll keep taking our daily constitutional in the woods.
If you walk hard enough, you probably don’t need any other god.” Bruce Chatwin
Hence, my mission to discover the best hikes in and around Pemberton to do with kids.
The number one choice is the newly completed, machine-built Nairn Falls Connector, a leg of the Sea to Sky Trail, that will eventually link Squamish all the way to D’Arcy. It’s a 2.2 km up and over trail that links One Mile Lake with the Nairn Falls campground.
It’s not a free ride.
If you want flat and friendly, take a lap around One Mile Lake.
If you want short and spectacularly scenic, start at the campground and walk direct to Nairn Falls.
If you want to escape the heat and get a taste of the alpine, head up the Duffy Lake Road and walk in to Joffre Lake. The first lake is easy. Do as one local family does and make it an annual mission, to go higher and further each year.
But if you want a decent half-day adventure, that could end either with a swim or a waterfall, and can be done with a bike trailer or stroller, the Nairn Falls Connector is the winner.
Two moms did it with a 6 month old in a chest harness, a 3 and 5 year old, with a baby jogger that the girls could use as a support vehicle – which made things a good workout for the moms and a good adventure for the kids. It took us 40 minutes each direction.
Walking alongside the brand new Disc Golf course gave us plenty of opportunities to spy the baskets and tee-boxes in the woods, and the undulating terrain provided constant variety (from “my legs hurt” to “wheeee!” in 60 seconds or less.)
You might also spot rubber boa snakes and the blue-listed lace fern, as well as BC’s provincial flower the dogwood, which is in bloom in May and June, and which the trail was routed around.
Afterwards, celebrate the accomplishment and treat yourself to a locally made gelato at Mt Currie Coffee Co, a fruit smoothie at Solfeggio or a natural beef burger at Mile One Eating House, all of which manage to be both kid friendly and foodie rated. Mile One also has a huge map of the area on the wall, that lets you trace your adventures, and plan your next ones.
The point, after all, of hiking with the little ones, is that they’ll want to do it again.
Hiking in Pemberton, BC
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