The Joffre Lakes Provincial Park is one of British Columbia's most beautiful and popular parks. Breathtaking views of three exquisite turquoise lakes, majestic glacier-laden peaks and old-growth forests, make the Joffre Lakes hike a highly rewarding adventure.
About the Joffre Lakes Provincial Park
The Joffre Lakes Provincial Park is one of the most picturesque parks in British Columbia and the whole of Canada. The provincial park was established in 1988 and is located 35km east of Pemberton in British Columbia in Canada.
Three glacier-fed lakes - Lower, Middle and Upper Joffre Lakes provides breathtaking views. The rock flour, produced by the glaciers surrounding the park, in the water reflects blue and green waves and gives the lakes its turquoise colour. Joffre Lakes Provincial Park is a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts. It is home to the popular and moderate Joffre Lakes Hike that thrills hikers with exquisite scenery consisting of turquoise lakes, surrounded by hanging glaciers and towering mountains. During the winter, when the lakes are frozen over, Joffre Lakes Provincial Park is a popular destination for climbing and snow shoeing.
JOFFRE LAKES HIKE
The Joffre Lakes hike is a moderate hike that offers incredible rewards in terms of scenery.
The Joffre Lakes hike passes three exquisite turquoise coloured lakes that are fed by the Matier Glacier. The first lake, Lower Joffre Lake, is located near the trailhead. Lower Joffre Lake is located on a short diversion from the main trail at an elevation of 1,240m. The views from here is a spoiler of what is to come with a birds eye view of the towering mountains and hanging glaciers.
Walking back onto the main trail from Lower Joffre Lake, you will start the 5km upward climb towards Upper Joffre Lake. The gravel trail turns into a well-maintained dirt path and you will cross a bridge crossing over Joffre Creek, below the lower lake. The trail then gradually starts to climb through old growth forests of hemlock and spruce trees. After the initial half an hour of climbing, you will read a 'moraine' (or a boulder field) that is essentially a mass of rocks and sediment deposited over many years by glaciers.
The path continues over the boulders and provide some scenic views over the coast mountains and valley below. A few switchbacks will take you towards the spectacular Middle Joffre Lake. The section of the trail between Lower and Middle Joffre Lakes takes the longest and is the most challenging part of the trail. However, this part of the trail is well groomed with steps in sections to make help you navigate through the moraine boulder field.
Middle Joffre Lake is about 3km from Lower Joffre Lake at an elevation of 1,535m. Once you have reached Middle Joffre Lake, you will notice the glacier-laden peaks towering above. It is worth stopping here to soak up the scenery and maybe have a snack.
The trail continues towards Upper Joffre Lake via a relatively short and easier hike. On your way, you will pass a scenic waterfall that rushes down from the upper lake to the middle lake. The final section of the hike is a bit more challenging and require some scrambling over roots and rocks. It is all worth it as soon you will reach Upper Joffre Lake at an elevation of 1,600m. Most people make this their final stop of their return hike. For those who would like to set up camp o explore a bit more, keep hiking along the upper lake for another 40 minutes or so towards the camping site. There are beautiful spots to have lunch at near the streams rushing down from the glacier towards the lake.
It is possible to scramble over the boulders towards Matier Glacier if you have the time (and energy). However, this is rather dangerous as chunks of ice can sheer off at any moment. It is much better to hear the rumble of the ice sheering off the glacier and tumbling down the rocky slopes from a distance!
Heads up: Joffre Lakes Provincial Park is located in a sensitive wilderness area. Learn how to Leave No Trace before you go so we can all keep the wilderness wild.
How to get to Joffre Lakes
Joffre Lakes Provincial Park is located 180km from Vancouver (or a 3 hours drive). The parking lot is located just off highway 99, east of Pemberton. Parking is limited and it is advised to arrive early or to take a bus
If you decide to drive to Joffre Lakes Provincial Park, please adhere to the posted speed limits through Pemberton and Mount Currie en route to the park. Speeding negatively impacts community members who live along the road and it puts both your and their safety at stake. There is also no parking permitted along the highway. Cars are frequently towed along this stretch of the road, so it is advised not to take the risk.
Transportation to Joffre Lakes from Vancouver
The Joffre Bus Service
provides convenient and affordable return transportation from downtown Vancouver to Joffre Lakes Provincial Park is provided daily during the summer season (May to October). Limited parking and the lack of any other public transportation options make this an ideal service for everyone.