Never would I have thought that water could cut through rock and create canyons through the forest like at Nairn Falls near Pemberton. Often forgotten, this short hike to these majestic waterfalls is a great family-friendly activity that promises you an exciting reward. Located only 20 minutes north of Whistler Village, this adventure is worth the detour.
Nairn Falls Provincial Park
Nairn Falls is located within Nairn Falls Provincial Park which is also home to a beautiful campground. This easy hike will have you walk through the forest alongside the Green River for a little less than 1.5 km.
Getting to Nairn Falls is pretty straightforward; drive north on Highway 99 towards Pemberton and about 20 minutes in you will see signs to Nairn Falls Provincial Park on your right.
This provincial park is patrolled by a park operator and it also has outdoors restrooms which is good to know before start your hike. Make sure to check the trail conditions on BC Parks’ website before you head out. This trail is well maintained but it’s good to know the trail conditions before you go.
From the parking lot, it’s easy to find the trailhead, just on your right behind the restrooms. The trail follows the river the whole way with minimal elevation change. As you can see in the picture below, the trail is right on the edge of the Green River which runs fast and can be hazardous. Watch where you walk so that you don’t slip on the edge!
The world reveals itself to those who travel on foot.
The last part of the trail is a steep uphill section which will be the most difficult part of the trail and your final climb before the viewing points. The rocks here can sometimes be slippery on rainy days or in the winter so use caution.
Walk up to the top using the handrail if needed and there you will see the first viewing platform which overlooks the upper falls.
Did you know? Nairn Falls is actually a double waterfall connected by a canyon that throttles the flow of the Green River. Both waterfalls are about 30m high and the flow can be pretty impressive following a big rainfall or after the snow melts. It’s a different experience every time.
“Eventually, all things merge into one, and a river runs through it.” – Norman McLean
Generally speaking, Nairn Falls is a hike that can be done year-round. Even though this hike is considered easy, proper hiking preparations should still be taken. Especially if hiking during the winter when the trail is covered in snow.
If you turn around and walk down the rocks towards the fence you will see a handrail. Use caution here again because there are no stairs to walk down. The second viewpoint will have you feeling like you are on the Titanic flying away with Jack and Rose. Here you can witness the true power of the Green River crashing down Nairn Falls’ second drop.
Across the canyon, there are logs and rocks that are part of the debris that has come down with the falls over the years. The sheer amount of water falling here is always impressive.
Wherever your Whistler adventures bring you, make sure to add Nairn Falls to the list. It’s always a little quieter here than the most touristy places in the area. Nairn Falls is a true supernatural British Columbia experience.