Harrison Hut Trail
|Harrison Hut Trail|
Hiking North-East along the towards the old trailhead and the Capricorn Lookout on the old now decommissioned first half of the Harrison Hut Trail. The second half of the trail is still open and maintained and has a new trailhead.
|Access||via Lillooet South FSR (Status)|
|Caretaker||Varsity Outdoor Club|
The Harrison Hut Trail is a 5.75km 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 and second growth forests. There are three creek crossings, the second of which has a steel bridge (Barr Creek). The trail used to be 12km long before the new Meager South Connector (MSC) Road was built. With the new road, the first half of the trail is now obsolete and the new trailhead starts at the end of road R0005 (see Google Map). The MSC road and R0005 are easily bike packed and have great views of the Capricorn Landslide and the Lillooet-Meager Confluence.
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 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.
The trail to Harrison Hut 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.
Lillooet South FSR is gated in two locations. The first gate is located 2 km up the road. This gate is locked seasonally to protect grizzly bears under the Wildlife Act from September 16th to Nov 30th and from April 1 to June 15th. During the Wildlife Act closures, non-motorized travel is allowed past this gate.
The gate at 2 km can also be locked during periods of extreme landslide risk. These closures are unscheduled and depend on weather forecasts. Weather conditions that constitute extreme landslide risk and result in closure of the 2 km gate are:
- When average temperature for 6 days exceeds 25°C; or
- Rainfall exceeds 20mm/24 hours with 2 or more days of temperatures above 25°C; or
- Rainfall intensity exceeds 70mm/24 hours.
The second gate is located 23 km up the road. This gate is always locked to motorized traffic, so this is where you'll have to park.
The closures listed above, as well as the closure of the Meager Creek Hotsprings Recreation Site are being actively enforced by the Province.
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. 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
|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|
|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.
|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)|
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.