The gorgeous Joffre Lakes Provincial Park is home to ice fields, chilly running streams, craggy hills, and turquoise-blue lakes. The park’s most well-known attractions are the lakes at Lower, Middle, & Upper Joffre.
Each of the three lakes, which are all along the walk from the parking lot, is more beautiful than the previous one. Rockflour, also known as glacial silt, floats in the water & reflects green & blue light, giving them its remarkable, vivid blue colour.
These can be seen from a convenient vantage point 500 metres from the parking lot. The terrain gets steeper and harder as you move closer to the Middle & Upper Joffre Lakes. U-shaped valleys and lateral moraines are all signs of the park’s glacial past.
There are hiking, camping, wildlife viewing, & fishing activities in Joffre Lakes Park. The incredibly stunning Joffre Lakes’ vivid blue waters are undoubtedly something you’ve seen on Instagram. There are many things to do in Joffre Lakes Provincial Park.
Yet there’s a lot to learn before you go, just like with any well-known lake in Canada (like Moraine Lake). You’re not the only one organising a trip, and things might get stressful.
Things to do in Joffre Lakes Provincial Park
Joffre Lakes Provincial Park, which has been established to safeguard the lakes and the surrounding area, contains the Joffre lakes trail. As this implies that provincial park regulations apply to the trail, it’s crucial to make advance plans.
Hence, if you’re eager to travel to Joffre Lakes, this blog will be of assistance. Everything is covered here related to things to do in Joffre Lakes Provincial Park, from where it is to how to hike the trek successfully to the question of if you can dive in the lake. It consists essentially of all the questions you assumed you needed to ask, plus a few extras you never realised were so significant!
The Lower, Middle, & Upper Joffre Lakes are the three lakes that makeup Joffre Lakes. Each one is more exquisite than the previous one! From the moderately difficult 9.4 kilometres (5.8 miles) round-trip Joffre Lakes hiking trek, you can see all of these lakes. In fact, the scenery along the route makes this one of the best walks in Canada.
The crystal-clear blue waters of Joffre Lakes are legendary. The sunlight refracting off the surface of the lake gives these lakes a Gatorade-blue hue, which is caused by the glacial silt and rock flour that was created when the glacier developed thousands of years ago. Because of the sunny days & melting glaciers, these lakes will likely be at their bluest and brightest if you visit during the summer.
1. Joffre Lakes are Where?
The little town of Pemberton is 25 kilometres (15.5 miles) away from Joffre Lakes, which is situated in Joffre Lakes Provincial Park. The most common place for visitors to stay the night before trekking at Joffre Lakes is the tourist destination of Whistler, which is the next closest town. Sixty-one and a half kilometres (38.2 miles) from Whistler.
Vancouver is the city nearest to Joffre Lakes and is reachable through the Sea to Sky Highway in 2.5 hours (182 kilometres/113 miles).
2. How far does Joffre Lakes Trail Stretch?
The distance of the complete hiking trail at Joffre Lakes, from the campsite on the opposite side of the third lake, is 4.7 kilometres (2.9 miles) one way. It will often take 4 to 6 hours for most people to hike up and back down.
Three lakes—Lower, Middle, & Upper Joffre Lakes—can be seen along this walk, as was previously described.
Only 200 metres, or a 5-minute leisurely stroll, separates the parking lot from the first lake (Lower Lake). Despite being magnificent, this lake is nevertheless the least attractive of all the lakes.
From the parking lot, it will take 1 to 1.5 hours to walk more than 3 kilometres (1.8 miles) to the Middle Lake. Though Middle Lake is thought to be the most attractive of the three lakes, it’s important to note that many tourists decide to turn back once they get there.
A 1.5 to 2-hour hike will take you to the third and last lake (Upper Lake). After taking in the lake views, the majority of visitors leave this location.
To reach the campsite on the opposite side of the third lake, the trail must travel another kilometre or 20 minutes. It is lovely to visit this location. Hence, in my opinion, finishing the full trek is definitely worthwhile. If you’re camping, this is additionally where the campsite is.
We will add that this trail is scenic for the vast majority of the way. There are certain areas that are covered with trees, although you rarely spend more than 20 minutes in these forested areas.
3. Is the trek to Joffre Lakes Challenging?
The Joffre Lakes trail is categorised as intermediate, making it appropriate for people of average fitness. The trail is not level, and there are several difficult ascents. Nonetheless, the elevation increase on this trail is only 370 metres (1213 feet) in total.
The Joffre Lakes Trail could be categorised as a tough path because, in my opinion, the elevation gain determines a trail’s difficulty.
A leisurely 5-minute walk will get you to Lower Lake from the parking lot. While in excellent weather, the hike to Middle Lake is typically a leisurely stroll. Around the midway point, there are numerous substantial sets of steps that can be fairly steep.
The steepest part of the trail, from Middle Lake to Upper Lake, can be quite slick, particularly close to the waterfall as well as the bridges. For this hike, it is advised to use suitable hiking footwear.
4. Is the Joffre Lakes Provincial Park dog-Friendly?
Dogs are frequently permitted to enjoy the trails & lakes in BC provincial parks as long they’re wearing leashes. However, there were more dogs using the route than typical due to the popularity of Joffre Lakes.
Sadly, not all pet owners (although the vast majority do) abided by the regulations, and dogs started to run off-leash, endangering local bears and creating a safety hazard. Dogs that are off-leash can also harm local wildlife and native plants.
5. When to visit the Joffre Lakes?
From May 1 through November 14, during the warmer months, Joffre Lakes Provincial Park is accessible to the general public. Despite the fact that the park is always open and accessible, it is not recommended to hike there during the winter months owing to the avalanche risk.
Due to the lakes’ clearest blue hue, June through September are the busiest months for tourists to travel to Joffre Lakes. August is, in my opinion, the finest month to travel because that’s when the lakes are usually the prettiest to photograph.
Try to finish the hike during the middle of the week and begin early in the morning because, as you can see, it gets very busy here during these months. In the summer, you can also begin the hike later in the day.
While it doesn’t become dark here until 9:30 p.m. till the summer, beginning your trek at 3 or 4 p.m. is a wonderful idea. Because it’s a rather challenging track to negotiate in the dark, We strongly advise returning to the car park before it becomes dark.
6. Joffre Lakes: Is it Crowded?
One of the most popular walks in BC is Joffre Lakes, which may be very crowded, especially in summer. Over 75% of the 200,000 hikers who visit the Lakes each year do so in the summer.
7. Don’t Wear Appropriate Shoes
The number of hikers we saw at Joffre Lakes sporting sandals or other inappropriate footwear truly astounded us. While you might be able to hike in sandals to the middle lake, it would be considerably more challenging and dangerous to hike to the higher lake because it entails navigating a boulder field. You must put on appropriate footwear.
You might experience snow, possibly a lot of snow, depending on the time of year. A common misconception is that just because it’s nice and bright in Vancouver, it will also be so in the mountains. It is possible that the trail may be coated in ice & snow if you go trekking in the spring.
Due to the high volume of activity on this trail, you have a good chance of getting assistance if you are hurt. But, it does not imply that you should behave irresponsibly. Even if you didn’t actually need them, you probably wouldn’t regret carrying microspikes and wearing hiking boots.
If you have to turn around or get hurt as a result of wearing the incorrect shoes, you will definitely regret it. This hike has a moderate rating. Be careful to handle it accordingly.
8. Going on a Hike Without Bringing the Basics
When hiking, especially if you’re undertaking a more challenging climb like Joffre, In the ideal scenario, you should bring the ten necessities, but at the very least, pack a waterproof jacket, lots of water, and a few granola bars.
It’s impossible to predict when the weather may abruptly shift, especially up in the mountains. If you don’t bring enough (or any) water on a hike, you risk being dehydrated rapidly and taking much longer than you anticipated.
Everyone hopes they won’t get hurt, yet accidents do happen. BC Search & Rescue teams are requested to assist with emergencies at Joffre Lakes on a regular basis. Even a rescue from the glacier was seen us. Any summer weekend’s weekly incident report will demonstrate how busy search & rescue teams are.
9. Leave the Path
This is sound advice for any trek, but Joffre Lakes warrant special attention. The region has seen a lot of erosion as a result of the rise in tourists. There are various side trails that cross the main trail near the middle & upper lakes and lead to recently constructed lake viewing platforms.
Some hikers made these trails so they wouldn’t have to wait in line with everyone else trying to reach the lakes. These were made by anxious tourists who were all looking for the ideal location to take pictures (because, really, if you didn’t post it on Instagram, did it even happen?). In an effort to help the devastated ecology recover, BC Parks has recently roped off these braided routes.
Despite these precautions, we observed numerous groups of hikers step over the ropes in order to grab the ideal Instagram image, disregarding the warnings that said to keep on the trail. Don’t emulate them.
10. Joffre Upper Lake Camping
Come when the path is less likely to be busy if you don’t want to hike in the crowd or stand in line for your shot. If you enjoy camping, this is a fantastic chance to take stunning pictures of the lakes as well as the park when there are almost no people around. Many times throughout the course of the weekend camping trip at Joffre, you had the lower & middle lakes to themselves. This comes under the best things to do in Joffre Lakes Provincial Park.
11. Remove Waste
Garbage seems to accompany large crowds of people everywhere they go. The sight of these stunning locations being ruined by empty beer cans and protein bar wrappers breaks our hearts. In 2017, when two photographers hauled out 40 pounds of trash they found along the trail, litter at Joffre Lake made national news.
Garbage detracts from the pleasure of being in nature, harms the ecosystem in the area, and can draw bears to the trail & accustom them to people. Keep in mind to leave no trace and to pack out just what you pack in. Let’s all do our share to maintain the cleanliness of areas like Joffre Lakes.
12. If your fitness level isn’t sufficient, don’t hike Joffre Lakes Provincial Park
A fantastic type of exercise is hiking. What could be better than working out while admiring the breathtaking views that nature has to offer? But it’s crucial to be aware of how difficult a hike you’re embarking on and realistic about your capacity to manage that degree of physical effort.
What people see on social media serves as inspiration. People desire a personal visit to these locations. If you are physically able, you should strive to visit these places in person as often as possible. It’s a challenging hike. Only a short distance separates the parking area from the first lake. We strongly advise pausing at the lower lake to take in the scenery if you’re not up for the task.
13. Walking in tandem as a Group
For some of the journey, walking in a group abreast is not an issue because the Joffre Lakes trail is rather wide in several places. Certain areas of the trail are so narrow that they can occasionally only accommodate one person at a time.
Being compelled to leave the trail to avoid groups that insistence on using the entire trail to stroll side-by-side is really inconvenient. In addition to being impolite, doing this harms the nearby areas. If anyone else is moving in the opposite direction, line up your group in a single file so that everyone may pass. As a general rule, those moving downward should make way for those moving upward.
14. Conquer the Space for Your Individual Photoshoot
When they arrive at the middle & upper lakes, the majority of hikers pause to snap a few pictures. How can you not take a picture of that stunning glacier-fed lake to remember the effort you put into getting here?
But, because Joffre is so well-known right now, there are actual lines of people eagerly awaiting their picture at several locations near the lakes. Always be considerate of others around you. When it’s your turn, snap a few pictures but don’t start a 15-minute photo shoot.
If you want to capture a lot of specific pictures, come back when it’s less crowded or camp out overnight.
15. Joffre Lakes Provincial Park bear Safety
The region near Joffre Lakes is home to both black & grizzly bears. In fact, it is thought that the huge bear population in this area is seriously threatened.
If you’re just here to trek, it’s unlikely that you’ll encounter any bears. That’s because bears detest crowds and are likely to avoid the trail. You MUST, however, always have bear spray on you, make a lot of noise, & never feed or try to get close to a bear.
You must be significantly more prepared and bring bear spray if you intend to camp here. Moreover, make sure all food items are securely stored.
16. Swimming at Joffre lakes Provincial Park
If you’re feeling bold, you can swim in the Joffre Lakes, but be advised that the glacial waters are extremely chilly. Using water that is only 4 degrees Celsius (39 degrees Fahrenheit) on average! This comes under the best things to do in Joffre Lakes Provincial Park.
If you want to swim here, try to bring a wetsuit for cold water and a towel to dry off with afterwards. Since there aren’t any emergency services nearby and spotty mobile service, you must be a strong swimmer to swim here.
Make sure to call for assistance if you unintentionally fall into the lake in chilly weather. In the Joffre Lakes Provincial Park, hypothermia can occur. It’s also vital to remember that Joffre Lakes has no cell service.
17. How far away from Whistler & Vancouver is Joffre Lakes?
It is a 2.5-hour trip (182 kilometres/113 miles) via the Sea to Sky Highway from Vancouver. If you’re travelling this route for the first time, take your time—one it’s of Canada’s most beautiful drives.
Highway 99 connects Whistler and Joffre Lakes, which are separated by 61.6 kilometres (38.3 miles) in driving time. You travel along a very well single-lane roadway as it winds through mountains.
You MUST drive to the circumstances from both sites in the winter with winter tyres on your car.
18. Where is there lodging near Joffre Lakes?
If you want to travel by car from Vancouver to Joffre Lakes, the day will be long. Fortunately, there are numerous lodging possibilities. Some of the lodgings are:-
1. Mt. Currie and Pemberton
Joffre Lakes is located here, approximately a 25 km (15.5 mi) drive away. A little town with a few shops, eateries, and cafes is Pemberton. The hotels nearest to the Joffre Lakes Trail’s beginning are listed below.
The Hitching Post Motel features cosy accommodations and a sizable garden and is situated in Mt. Currie, just 5 minutes from the centre of Pemberton. Here, a room starts at $125 CDN per night.
The Pemberton Hotel is a popular choice for couples because it is situated over a well-liked tavern. The unexpectedly large rooms here start at $124 CDN per night.
The most well-liked destination for hikers to stay before tackling Joffre Lakes is undoubtedly Whistler. But this tourist hotspot offers a lot more lodging options, dining options, and entertainment options. The top lodging choices in Whistler with quick access towards the highway to Joffre Lakes are listed below:
The contemporary boutique hotel Summit Lodge Boutique Hotel, which is situated on Main Street in Whistler Village, offers rooms with kitchenettes in addition to an outdoor pool and hot tub. The price of a suite starts at $233 CDN per night.
Riverside Resort is a resort with cabins and yurts for rent. It is situated on Mons Road, close to the main road to Pemberton. There is a campsite nearby as well. Together with that, there is a volleyball court, a playground for kids, a cafe, and a small shop. Here, a one-bedroom cottage may be rented for as little as $103 CDN per night.
The Whistler Village chairlift is only a five-minute walk from the Pan Pacific Whistler Village, a stunning full-service, all-suite hotel designed in a European manner. It offers a breakfast buffet, free wireless Internet access, & ski and bike valet storage at the slopes.
19. At Joffre Lakes, is Camping Allowed?
Yes, a wilderness campground may be found at Joffre Lakes Provincial Park. The only area to camp in the park is at Upper Joffre Lake, where the campground is situated. There are 26 sites available, and due to their various elevations, they all provide privacy.
Before camping, spots were available on a first-come, first-served basis, but no reservations were necessary. Backcountry camping must be chosen when making reservations on the Discover Camping website.
You must print two copies with this permit after making your reservation because you must leave one fastened to your tent and show the other to the park ranger.
A bear-proof foodstuff storage unit and a drop toilet are also present here. Be sure to bring plenty of thick clothing and a high tog sleeping bag because it may get very cold now at night, even in the summer. Also, toilet paper is no longer provided by BC Parks at the campsite.
It’s important to mention that because of the risk of avalanches, you cannot camp here from November 1 to April 15.
20. Is a pass required to enter Joffre Lakes?
A day pass is necessary to enter Joffre Lakes Provincial Park from July to October. The free pass can be picked up starting at 7 a.m. on the day before your visit. There is a limit of four individuals per booking, but each person is allowed one pass.
With this pass, you can visit Joffre Lakes whenever you want during the day. It’s important to know that no pass is necessary to visit the lakes after 7 p.m.
Overnight campers are exempt from needing a day pass. Your backcountry reservation is sufficient in this case. Simply have it on you at all times while hiking, or at the very least, take a screenshot of the email.
A prototype scheme called the day pass was started in 2021. Watch the website for any developments in the summer of 2022.
21. Without a car, how do you travel to Joffre Lakes?
You can reserve shuttle service to Joffre Lakes from Whistler or Vancouver if you don’t feel like driving there and don’t want to deal with the headache of finding a parking space.
From June through September, the Whistler through Joffre Lakes bus service operates on all weekends and federal holidays. At around 9:20 a.m., the bus takes you away from the Whistler Creekside car park and drops you down at the Joffre Lakes trailhead. At about 5:30 p.m., it will return to pick you up where it left you off.
22. Do Joffre Lakes tours Exist?
If you wish to hike to Joffre Lakes with a knowledgeable guide, there are a few tour alternatives available. Also, it’s advantageous that you won’t have to stress about parking or driving there on your own.
You are picked up from your Vancouver hotel for this full-day excursion, which then takes you to Joffre Lakes, where you will embark on a 5-hour hike with your professional guide. You are given lunch, which you can have while taking in the most picturesque vista possible at Upper Lake. The fact that only 5 people can take this tour is something You really like.
This all-day photography excursion that leaves from Vancouver is another fantastic choice. Your guide will teach you how to snap stunning images on the trip to Joffre Lakes, which is guaranteed to make your friends and your family back home envious!
Also, your guide will use his own camera to capture some images of you, which he will send to you after your trip. The tour lasts 12 hours and comes with transportation. Nevertheless, you’ll need to have your own camera! Each person on this tour will pay $237.
Lower Joffre Lake, Mid Joffre Lake, & Upper Joffre Lake are three interconnected lakes in the park. Because of the fine silt known as “rock flour,” which is produced by glaciers & suspended in the water, the lakes are renowned for their striking blue colour.
Together with a wide range of other animals. The most well-liked activity in the park is hiking, and there are a variety of trails available for hikers of all experience levels. In the winter, guests can go backcountry skiing, camping, and fishing in addition to hiking. The Joffre lakes provincial park is available all year, though snow and ice during the winter may restrict access.