Nairn Falls is a provincial park with a campground and waterfalls about 2 hours from Vancouver. It’s 29 km north of Whistler, near Pemberton.
What to Expect at Nairn Falls
Nairn Falls is a smaller yet fairly typical provincial park. At just 171 km in size, it’s not big, unlike nearby Garibaldi Provincial Park which is massive. Nairn Falls has lots of trees though, and campsites, hiking trails, a river and waterfalls. It’s a really nice park.
At Nairn Falls you can expect to see a campground with over 90 sites, beautiful walking trails, and a body of water that is appropriately named Green River. The forest is primarily a mix of cedar and hemlock, plus a few Douglas fir.
Nairn Falls is a long skinny park. It goes along the Green River for about 1.5 km and its trails connect with One Mile Lake which is a couple of kilometres away. The park is highly recommended not just for camping but also for short visits.
There is a small day-use area at the park. It has just a couple of picnic tables and a pit toilet. There are some nice places to hike and ride your bike in the area. The trails are usually well-marked and the one that leads to the waterfalls is on fairly level terrain (at least for most of the way).
Where is Nairn Falls
Nairn Falls Provincial Park is located on Highway 99 about 4 km south of Pemberton and a 25-minute drive north of Whistler. It takes about 2 hours in good traffic to get there by car from downtown Vancouver.
Because of its location, Nairn Falls makes for a great base to explore Whistler and Garibaldi Provincial Park. It’s also right by One Mile Lake and just 33 km west of Joffre Lakes Provincial Park.
RV RENTAL INFO
Want to go camping in a truck camper, motorhome or other kind of recreational vehicle? Then check out the rental specials at Fraserway RV. They often offer really good deals.
Fraserway RV has locations in both Abbotsford and Delta, as well as in other cities across the country. We went camping in one of their RVs at Nairn Falls in 2020 and had an amazing time! We used the provincial park as our base and explored Whistler and the Sea to Sky Region in addition to the immediate surrounding area. It rained a bit during our stay, but we stayed dry and were far more comfortable than if we had tented! And packing up at the end was so easy – no wet tent or equipment!
Nairn Falls Campground
The campground at Nairn Falls is beautiful, but also slightly more rustic than most other provincial parks in the Lower Mainland. Unlike Alice Lake and Porteau Cove in the Sea to Sky region, for example, Nairn Falls only has pit-style outhouses, so no flush toilets. There is also no running water, nor hot showers.
The campsites at Nairn Falls are beautiful. They are large, surrounded by trees and well-spaced out. The entire campground area is flat and level, so good for wheelchairs and young kids on bicycles. A couple of the pit toilets are also wheelchair accessible.
Although there is no running water, there are two water pump stations where you can hand-pump your H2O. Unfortunately, the pumps aren’t operational in the winter season. There is also no sani-station at the campground for RVs (although there is one in Pemberton at the Tourist Information Centre at the corner of Portage Road and Highway 99).
As of July 2020, camping at Nairn Falls only costs about $22 or so per night, which is a bargain. The price is less per night than most other Lower Mainland Campgrounds, like Alice Lake, because the facilities are more rustic (i.e., no flush toilets or hot showers).
Some of the campsites at Nairn Falls overlook the river and have amazing views. Others are close to the highway. All the sites are nice. If you want one of the best ones though you’ll have to book well in advance!
To see a layout of the campground click Park Map.
Hiking Trails at Nairn Falls
There are three main places to go for a walk at Nairn Falls. There is the Nairn Falls Trail which goes to the waterfalls. It’s an easy and fairly flat 3-km round-trip walk.
There is also the One Mile Lake Trail which is 2.4 km one-way, goes up over the hill and is good for both walking and mountain biking. At the other end of the trail is One Mile Lake which is a nice place to swim and walk around.
The third area to explore is Coudre Point which is just a very short walk from the campground down to the river. It’s by far the shortest of the three walks.
See below for more details about each of the trails.
Nairn Falls Trail
The Nairn Falls Trail is a 1.5 km route from the day-use parking lot at the entrance to the park to the waterfalls. It takes about an hour to get to the falls and back and it’s a beautiful trail. In a couple of places you can even walk down to the river. The Nairn Falls Trail is a narrow gravel trail on which bicycles are not permitted.
The trail is fairly level and easy to walk along. It’s a beautiful area. The only remotely challenging bit is when you get close to the falls. At the end of the trail is solid rock and you need to walk over the rock to get to the lookout areas. The rock surface is smooth though and not steep. Most people won’t find it a problem at all. People with mobility issues might though.
One Mile Lake Trail
The One Mile Lake Trail is about 2.4 km one-way from the campground area to One Mile Lake. The trail goes through the forest and is highly recommended (especially if you want to walk to a beautiful lake where you can then go swimming).
This gravel trail is well-marked and fairly well-maintained in the late spring, summer and early fall seasons, but not always so much in the colder months. You have to go up over the hill to get to One Mile Lake, so there is a fair bit of ups and downs. It’s a great trail though for both walking and mountain biking.
As a mountain bike trail, the route is marked “easy” and it’s ideal for beginners and young children. If you are out of shape (like us) or have young kids though, you might end up pushing your bike up some of the slopes. If you stick to the main One Mile Trail route you won’t encounter any really difficult terrain.
It takes between about 15 and 25 minutes to cycle from the campground at Nairn Falls to One Mile Lake. It takes about another 10 to 20 or so minutes to walk or ride around the lake.
A couple of trails lead down from the campground to the river at Coudre Point. Starting and finishing points are near campsites #17 and #47. It’s a short walk down to the river through the forest.
At Coudre Point you can walk through the forested trails and wander over the rocks at the edge of the river. The scenery is beautiful!
The Nairn Falls Waterfalls
The waterfalls are 1.5 km or just under a half-hour walk from the entrance to the park. To get there you walk along the Nairn Falls Trail which is a narrow dirt path overlooking the river below.
The waterfalls are about 150 feet (or 60 metres) high. There are three fenced-in lookouts that you can admire them from. Two are at the top close together and a third one is just a little ways down the hill. Be sure to check out both areas as the views from each are very different. It’s at the lower lookout area that you can see a waterfall up close.
Nairn Falls Video
To give you an idea of what to expect at the park, check out the following video which includes scenes of the campground, Coudre Point, Green River, Nairn Falls Trail, the waterfalls and the bike trail to One Mile Lake.
Tips and Advice
Below are some suggestions to help you make the most out of your visit to Nairn Falls.
About the Campground
TIP #1: Dogs are permitted at the campground. They must, however, be on leash at all times.
TIP #2: Wheelchair-accessible pit toilets are available by the main day-use parking lot as well as by campsites #46 and #83.
TIP #3: In the off-season the gate to the campground at Nairn Falls gets locked. You can still walk in to camp though. Also during the off-season, there is no charge for camping (which makes it an extra good deal). RVs can’t get past the gate when it’s locked in winter though, so you have to tent (and dress warm)!
TIP #4: The best campsites at the campground are numbers 6, 7, 11, 13, 14, 16, 48, 49, 50, 51 and 93. That’s because they have views of the river and are not right beside the highway.
TIP #5: The gate at the campground is closed in the summer from 10 pm until 7 am (so an hour earlier than some places).
TIP #6: Green River is beautiful. It can be a fast-flowing river though and not one you would want to swim in. Young children need to be watched carefully while in the area.
Things to Do
TIP #7: If you have time, we recommend you check out the Nairn Falls Trail, One Mile Lake Trail and Coudre Point. All three are highly recommended. If you can only do one though, make it the Nairn Falls Trail. If really short on time, then we recommend walking down to Coudre Point (although it takes 5 minutes or so to get to the start from the day-use parking lot). If you have mountain bikes and like scenic but easy trails, then definitely do the One Mile Lake Trail.
TIP #8: If you have bikes and want flat terrain, the roadways around the campsites are great for little kids. If you want to do some mountain biking, but nothing too serious or challenging, then the One Mile Lake Trail is exceptional (even for novices). Bicycles are not permitted on the Nairn Falls Trail or at Coudre Point.
TIP #9: Stand-up paddle boards are usually available for rent at One Mile Lake in the summer.
TIP #10: Joffre Lakes Provincial Park is just a half-hour drive away. If you like hiking and beautiful scenery, it’s highly recommended. Joffre Lakes is a popular destination though and parking can be a challenge on busy days, so go especially early in the morning if it’s sunny, a weekend or during the summer holidays. (Note: for much of 2020 and 2021, Joffre Lakes Park has been closed because of COVID-19.)
To learn more about the park click Nairn Falls Provincial Park.
Other articles that might be of interest include the following:
- Camping in the Lower Mainland
- 12 Reasons Why RV-ing is Better than Tenting
- Lower Mainland Parks and Nature
- Whistler Area
- Sea to Sky Region
- Vancouver Summer Activities
- Outdoor Recreational Activities
- Vancouver on a Budget