Harrison Hut Trail

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Revision as of 19:11, 15 July 2019 by George (talk | contribs) (Winter Approach)
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Harrison Hut Trail
Harrison Valley.JPG
Hiking North-East towards the trailhead and the Capricorn Lookout on the Harrison Hut Trail
Length 12.3km
Class Class 1
Status Minor Issue
Access via Lillooet South FSR (Status)
Destination Harrison Hut
Caretaker Varsity Outdoor Club
Legal
  • Type: FRPA Section 57 Tenure
  • Status: Active until 2018-01-12
  • Number: 123456789
GPS
Maps

The Harrison Hut Trail is a 12.3km trail that links Harrison Hut to the Lillooet South FSR. For non-motorized parties completing the Pemberton Icefield Traverse this trail acts as the northern entrance (or exit). The trail travels through old growth, second growth, old cut blocks, fresh cut blocks, and old logging roads with a few viewpoints of the Meager and Capricorn Valley's along the first half of the trail. There are three creek crossings, the second of which has a steel bridge (Barr Creek).

In 2018 the new Meager South Connector (MSC) Road was completed and a new gate at 23km on the Lillooet South FSR was installed and permanently locked. The first half of the trail is now somewhat obsolete since you can bike/hike the new MSC Road to the half-way point of the trail much faster. See the Google Map to get a better sense of this.

Landslide Hazards

The Meager Group is one of the most geologically active areas in Canada and is responsible for periodic landslides including, in 2010, one of the largest in Canadian recorded history. So, before heading up to the hut, you may wish to [check and see] if the road/area has been closed. This sometimes happens during very hot periods where snow-melt increases, or periods with a lot of precipitation. You can read about some of the information the government uses to make this decision in this document.

The Harrison Hut Trail is accessed via the Lillooet South FSR and stays on the stable side of the valley and is less exposed to geological hazard than the other nearby areas. The Upper Lillooet / Meager Creek FSR road information may also be of interest to you, especially if you were considering visiting other places in the Meager Creek valley that are more exposed to landslide hazards such as Meager Creek Hot Springs.

Trailhead

Harrison Hut Route Sketch

The trail can be reached via the Lillooet South FSR (aka Overseer Main or Meager Main) and the Meager South Connector Road. To reach the FSR from Vancouver drive north Pemberton passing through Squamish and Whistler. At Pemberton Portage Rd turn left. Follow the road to a roundabout where you go left onto Birch Rd. At the end of Birch Rd make a right onto Pemberton Meadows Road. Continuing on this road 8.8km past the Lillooet River FSR turnoff leads you straight to the start of the Lillooet South FSR.

2km past all the signs indicating the start of the FSR and the end of Pemberton Meadows Road there will be a gate. The gate is locked annually Sep16-Nov30 and Apr1-Jun15. Sometimes it is locked randomly for high landslide hazard periods so it is advisable to call the Sea to Sky Forest District for the most up to date status. There are places to park and the road is easily biked from this point.

The road is marked with km signs all the way along and generally a flat and easy bike ride. At 19km and 20km there are two fairly sizable hills which might require a dismount unless your name is Spencer and you have a cyclo-cross bike and are a buff piece of meat. At 23km is the second gate, if you got this far by car great! You won't get any farther though. The gate is immediately before a bridge and not even an ATV would be able to get around it. A moose can leap pretty easy over it, so if you have a moose then that would work. There is spaces to park before the bridge. If the gate is open, do not go through - you will get locked out and without cell service you will be stuck, possibly for a very long while.

About one km after the bridge is the turn off for Perkins Main Road. Before the 23km gate was installed, this was the 4WD road used to access the trailhead for the Harrison Hut Trail. The original trailhead is about 7km up that road. Instead of hauling your bike up 7km of rough rough road and then hiking through overgrown cut blocks for 6km on the first half of the trail, most people now opt to skip Perkins Main Road and the first half of the Harrison Hut Trail. Instead, continue straight on the Lillooet South FSR. At the 25km mark (just before the last big hill) the FSR ends and the Meager South Connector Road begins. Continue on this road for 7.5km until you reach the junction with the old Meager Creek FSR. The path to the closed hot springs is to the right (north) near the bridge crossing Meager Creek. To get to the Hut, turn left (south), go about 100-200m, then make a left on to Road R0005 (it is a little hidden). Travel up this road 3km to the third switchback. There will be a turn off to the right (south). Follow this road for 700m until the road ends. This is the halfway point and the new Trailhead for the Harrison Hut Trail which is flagged to the left (east) at the road end.

If you are adventurous, Road R01656 also goes up towards the trail but doesn't quite reach it. You might have to do some low class bushwacking for about 1km from the end of the road to reach the trail.

KM Road Direction or Monument
0.0 Pemberton Meadows Road End of Paved Road
8.8 Pemberton Meadows Road Sign "End of Public Road" Start of Lillooet South FSR
2.0 Lillooet South FSR 2km Gate Locked Seasonally Sep16-Nov30 and Apr1-Jun15 (park here if locked)
8.9 Lillooet South FSR Go Right
18.9 Lillooet South FSR Go Left
19.0 Lillooet South FSR Start of 1st Hill Climb
20.0 Lillooet South FSR Start of 2nd Hill Climb
23.0 Lillooet South FSR 23km Gate Locked Permanently

(park here)

23.7 Lillooet South FSR Go straight. Left is turn-off to Perkins Main (old trailhead)
25.0 Lillooet South FSR Start of 3rd Hill Climb. End of FSR. Start of Meager South Connector Road
26.9 Meager South Connector Road Top of Hill. Viewpoint
32.5 Meager South Connector Road Junction with Meager South FSR. Go Left
32.7 Meager South FSR Go Left onto Road R0005.
35.6 Road R0005 Go Right.
36.4 Road R0005 Spur End of Road. New Trailhead.

If you are looking to get to the old trailhead from the Perkins Main turn-off, these are the directions:

KM Road Direction or Monument
26.0 Perkins Main Go Right
28.0 Perkins Main Go Right
29.0 Perkins Main Go Left
29.1 Perkins Main Go Left
~29.5 Go Right
~30.8 Trailhead

Summer Approach

Trailhead location 13.4km from 23km gate @ elev. 1020m / 60km from Pemberton
Biking distance 13.4 kilometres from 23km gate or 34.4km from 2km gate.
Hiking distance 5.75 kilometres
Elevation gain 1,200 metres (3,937 ft)
Approximate time 6-8 hours in / 5-6 hours out

Bears are frequently seen in this area during the summer. Consider travelling in groups greater than 3 or carrying a bear bell. If camping along the trail, bring a rope and bag to hang your food up. 900m from new trailhead and the end of the road, the trail crosses Pika Creek and 4km from the logging road the trail crosses Barr Creek. Once over Barr creek the last push to the hut is 1.8km and 400m of elevation gain. The last creek crossing is right at the Hut and is easily crossed via some large boulders. Do not hang out in Pika Creek as it is known for its frequent and unpredictable landslides and rockfalls.

Winter Approach

Trailhead location Start of Lillooet South FSR @ elev. 240m / 23.7km from Pemberton
Skiing distance 12.3km on Trail + 40.0km on unplowed FSR
Elevation gain 2,100 metres (6,900 ft)
Approximate time  ??

Access during mid winter is problematic. The Lillooet River (North side) FSR is usually not plowed, and commonly gated at km 9 (just past Hurley FSR turn-off) due to avalanche danger, and in any case doesn't get you back to the S side of the Lilloet River as the bridge is gone. The new South Side route is not plowed past the last farm. This makes mid-winter access a long and arduous affair, adding roughly 40-45km of travel along logging roads, but people have skied to/from the hut over the Pemberton Icecap from either South Creek or even Brew Hut. Generally it is not accessed, in winter, as a simple weekend trip. To see one account of ski access to Harrison Hut see Nick Hindley's 2018 trip report.

Harrison Hut is the VOC's most remote hut situated on the far north end of the Pemberton Icecap. Winter access requires up to 40km of travel on an unplowed forest service road, potentially a river crossing, and a 6km bushwack skin. Alternatively, it can be access through a multi-day traverse of the Pemberton Icecap from the Rutherford Emergency Shelter, or from Ring Lake in Callaghan Provincial Park. Due to the extremely remote and difficult nature of accessing the hut in winter, the VOC accepts entry and exit access by Helicopter. This is the ONLY INSTANCE of motorized access at ANY of the VOC huts which the VOC accepts and only if there are no non-motorized travelers in the time frame you wish to access the hut. If you intend to access the hut via Helicopter, you MUST register and accept that you are second in priority to any non-motorized travelers. Include the full details of how many are in your party, the dates and times of helicopter access, contact information, and the company you flying in with. In addition, please bring with you your own firewood. The firewood at the hut is collected from treeline alpine and is a very limited resource and by bringing in your own wood we can preserve the wood at the hut for non-motorized users and reduce our overall stress on the environment. If there are ANY conflicts as a result of motorized users willfully abstaining from the procedures set out herein, the VOC will not hesitate to revoke this policy.

Trail Maintenance

Maintenance Bulletin

Ongoing Major Projects

Archived Major Projects