Harrison Hut Trail
|Harrison Hut Trail|
Hiking North-East towards the trailhead and the Capricorn Lookout on the Harrison Hut Trail
|Access||via Lillooet South FSR (Status)|
|Caretaker||Varsity Outdoor Club|
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).
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.
The trail can be reached via the Lillooet South FSR (aka Overseer Main or Meager Main). 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 9km past the Lillooet River FSR turnoff leads you straight to the start of the Lillooet South FSR. At this point reset your odometer and follow the following directions to the trailhead. Please note the trailhead has moved slightly as of 2017. The map linked here shows the new portion, which goes through a couple of cutblocks (shown in red on the map).
If you are familiar with the old trailhead, the turnoff is roughly 120m before you reach it. Take the right turn there and proceed roughly 1.3 km to the new trailhead.
|KM||Road||Direction or Monument|
|0.0||Lillooet South FSR||Sign "End of Public Road"|
|8.9||Lillooet South FSR||Go Right|
|18.9||Lillooet South FSR||Go Left|
|23.7||Lillooet South FSR||Go Left (2WDs park here)|
|26.0||Pika Spur (Perkins Main)||Go Right|
|28.0||Pika Spur (Perkins Main)||Go Right|
|29.0||Pika Spur (Perkins Main)||Go Left|
|29.1||Pika Spur (Perkins Main)||Go Left|
|Trailhead location||3.6km up Pika Spur @ elev. 900m / 63.7km from Pemberton|
|Hiking distance||12.3 kilometres|
|Elevation gain||1,200 metres (3,937 ft)|
|Approximate time||6 hours in / 5 hours out|
In summer one can drive all the way to the trailhead with a 4WD vehicle. At the trailhead there is space for about 6 cars in various pullouts nearby. 2WD vehicles should park at the start of Pika Spur. Pika Spur is steep (12%) and very loose and the likelihood of getting stuck is high if the road has not been maintained recently. Other 4WD won't like you either since your spinning wheels will ruin the road surface. Pika Spur is about 6km long so plan for extra time if you will be hiking from the bottom.
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.
The trail starts out traversing across the south side of Meager Creek Valley for 5.6km. The trail however, is not flat in this section and undulates up and down between 1,000m and 800m in elevation. Hereafter the trail reaches an old logging road. Go right and downhill on the road. 700m down the road there will be a junction to which one should turn left and continue south (Continuing to the right will lead you towards the closed Meager Creek Hot Springs). Another 500m further the logging road ends and the trail continues off the left and begins it's ascent towards the Hut. 900m from 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.
|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.
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. 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.