The stunning hike up to Joffre Lakes is worth the drive past Pemberton to reach the trailhead. Continuing the walk all the way to the third lake gives stunning views of the magnificent Matier Glacier in Whistler.
Drive north from Whistler along Highway 99 for 62.0km. You will pass the town of Pemberton and other small villages. Continuing on the highway around Lillooet Lake, it will soon become more narrow and twisty. You will see signs for Joffre Lakes Provincial Park from the Highway. Take the turn on your right-hand side and try to find a parking spot, they fill up early.
|When to do|
June through September
Upper Joffre Lake
Trailhead & Backcountry Campground
Out and back
Start from the trailhead start along the only path there is. Within minutes you will find yourself at Lower Joffre Lake. This small lake is only a taste of what you will find at the top. The trail remains fairly wide and is extremely well maintained.
Continue along the path and start the climb. The rest of the trail is a climb up to the other two lakes. After gaining most of the elevation, you will come upon Middle Joffre Lake. From here you can start to see bits and pieces of your final objective – the Matier Glacier sitting above Joffre Lake.
Beyond Middle Joffre Lake the trail deteriorates in quality, with big rocks and roots becoming normal. After a little bit more climbing, during which you will pass a small waterfall, you’ll finally arrive at upper Joffre Lake – the finest of them all! From the north shore – the side in which you’ve arrived – there are stunning view of the Matier Glacier, it’s gorgeous teal color and the massive crevasse which permeates its face.
You will also be able to see Joffre Peak to the left of the Glacier and Slalok Mountain to the right. Mount Taylor will be even further right. All these peaks are totally alpine, rocky, and gorgeous. We advise hiking around the west side of the lake to reach the campground on the southern shore. Here you can get a better look at the glacier, and a look back across the lake.
Parking spots are limited and fill up fast, especially on weekends, when back-ups can be big enough to make news in Vancouver.
The climb is steep at times, so pace yourself and take care going down.
We saw several people venturing up to the lake with towels and swimwear. This lake is directly fed by a glacier, and will subsequently be filled with water that was just recently snow and ice. If you choose to go for a swim bring plenty of warm clothes for after!
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