Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Short Hike to Nairn Falls

One of our outings for last weekend was a short hike to Nairn Falls located 20 minutes north of Whistler in the Nairn Falls Provincial Park.

The falls are a mere 60 metres in height, in comparison with nearby Shannon Falls at 335 m, but they are geographically quite interesting as you may be able see in the photograph above if you click to enlarge. But I'll tell you a little bit about them anyway.

The Green River carries sand and gravel which erodes away the bedrock over time and where it moves in a circular motion it carves potholes which sometimes join together underground leaving a bridge of rock, with the water swelling to the surface farther along. All these features are here at Nairn Falls and it is a most spectacular place, with the water roiling along with great force and a lot of noise.

Here the river has turned the corner through the potholes and drops away again, churning along with great force and sending spray flying in all directions.

When we first came here years ago, there was not much in the way of a guard rail but over the years the rocks overlooking the site have been completely fenced off. Not the place to fall into the river here I think.


A most spectacular place and of great interest geologically speaking. Of course the whole region is volcanic in origin which is what makes it so beautiful.


The hike from the parking lot to the falls is a mere 1.5 km but not so easy as that might suggest. It follows the bank of the Green River but goes up hill and down dale through the thick trees which line it all the way. The banks are very steep and the river runs very fast and is also quite cold, as they warn you on the signs. There is a final upward climb to the top of the rocks overlooking the view point to the falls.

The falls are a spiritual site to the local Lil’wat Nation. Part of the trail to the falls is the traditional route used by the Lil’wat people to access the falls and Mount Currie.

A view from near the parking lot, at the beginning of the trail where you can see the river continuing on its way from Green Lake which I showed you in this post. It now flows a little more sedately here which is just as well since there are 94 campsites who would like to have more peace and quiet than you find by the falls themselves.

After that effort, it's time for a drink at the nineteenth hole of the Big Sky Golf and Country Club, * just north of Whistler and one of the many world class golf courses in the area.


The outside vine covered pergola is a very pleasant spot to sit and watch the golfers putting on the 18th green. Something I have never seen before is the continuous very fine spraying of water all around the patio which makes it a very refreshing place to sit on a very warm day. You can see the little clouds of spray at the top of the left hand support pillar.

A perfect finish to a lovely day out and about near Whistler.

* Thanks to an anonymous commenter, I have changed this to the correct golf club which I had in error as Pemberton Golf and Country Club.

18 comments:

Lord James Bigglesworth said...

Never got that far north. Really missed something, by the pics. Beautiful place you're in, JMB.

Sean Jeating said...

Still euphorised :), I can't praise this post properly, as there do obviously not exist enough letters in the alphabet. Therefore I shall retreat under the rocks of Seanhenge, where by diving into deep contemplation I shall try to carve the missing letters.

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

It's beautiful.

Calum said...

What a wonderful post showing us a wonderful and beautiful place. Thanks for bringing this place to us.

Vic Grace said...

I have never bee there, it looks a lovely place. I assume you took the Sea to Sky Highway, fortunate it was last week not this.

CherryPie said...

It looks such a beautiful place :-)

Gledwood said...

Amazing!

I happened to post up a picture of water falling yesterday... beautiful as it is, I suspect MY falls are actually superimposed fake, but hey-ho!

mutleythedog said...

Nothing interesting like that here ,,, I am jealous!

Dr.John said...

Thanks for the tour and the explanation.

Anonymous said...

You really have some special pictures in this post. Not my intention to criticise but the golf course where you had lunch under the water-misters (which is fantastic when it is 40 degrees as is fairly common in Pemberton)is actually Big Sky Golf which is located beside to the Pemberton Valley golf course (which is now actually called The Meadows at Pemberton). Big Sky is the one with the water-misters on the pagola. You must have hiked from Nairn to Big Sky (~10km)because the area traffic was gridlocked due to the music festival, both on Hwy 99 and the side road which goes to the golf courses and the airport. Again, your pictures are great. - Rastas

leslie said...

Wow, once the highway is all finished, that sounds like an amazing place to see. You're lucky you went and returned before the big rock slide. Did you hear the highway will be closed for at least 4 days?

Carver said...

Sounds like a fascinating place and your photographs are fantastic. You captured the water in motion amazingly well.

Dragonstar said...

Such beautiful photos. A spectacularly lovely place. It would naturally be a sacred place. I'd love to experience it in person.

jams o donnell said...

Wow jmb more amazing scenery. I wondered for a second if Mount Currie was named after Canada's greatest general but I suppose not

Glenn Palmer said...

Very nice pics. I'll have to try to get up there before the olympic hordes descend.

Heart of Rachel said...

Those are magnificent shots of the river and the falls. It looks like a lovely and peaceful place.

It must be great to sit down to a refreshing drink after taking that walk.

jmb said...

It is indeed James.
Glad you enjoy the photos Sean. Stop pulling my leg!
Indeed it is LGS
Calum you would see some great mountains in this part of the world.
Yes Vic Grace, but my friend went back and came back on Monday just in time.
Lovely Cherie indeed.
Gleds good to see you. Hope you are OK.
Mutley no mountains but seaside perhaps.
You are welcome Dr John.
Thanks for the correction Rastas which I have made. I was the weekend before the music festival.
It is a terrible disaster Leslie, a huge problem for many people.
Thanks Carver, I just point and shoot as usual.
It is so interesting geologically speaking Dragonstar. Very noisy too!
Isn't it Jams. No just a local settle for Mount Currie.
Well if you wish to brave to road which is awful it is a nice place to visit.
Thanks Rachel, it is a great place and the drink was wonderful.
Thanks to everyone for visiting and commenting.

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

It looks a beautiful place and those falls are, as you say, spectacular.