The Joffre Lakes hike has been on my bucket-list for a couple of years and so finally having the opportunity to go was super exciting for me. This hike is 10 km return and has spectacular lake views, as well as incredible vistas of the valley far below. The park is located on Hwy 99 about an hour north of Whistler and day passes, which you can book 2 days in advance, are required to hike this trail. There is a main parking lot located at the trailhead, which fills up early in the day, and an overflow lot just 400 meters away.
After checking in with the park ranger at the entrance, head down the trail to Lower Joffre Lake. You will find this lake 50 meters down the trail on the left where the path forks into two.
From the Lower Lake you can see Matier Glacier in the distance which is the glacier you will get a close-up view of from Upper Joffre Lake. This glacier actually feeds all three lakes and gives them their stunning turquoise colouring.
After tracing your steps back to the fork in the trail, turn left and continue along the main trail that will lead you to the Middle and Upper Lakes. You will soon cross a bridge over a creek and then continue along beside Lower Joffre Lake. As you leave the views of Lower Joffre Lake behind, the trail will now begin a steady uphill climb through the forest.
This hike will definitely give you a work out with a fairly steep trail as well as some stairs to work those leg muscles.
As you ascend along the side of the mountain make sure and have a look back at the views of the valley below you. You can even catch a glimpse of Lower Joffre Lake surrounded by trees.
After a significant uphill climb you will begin to see views of Middle Joffre Lake and the turquoise colouring of the water that to me was the most spectacular of the three lakes. The water gets the colouring from glacial silt (called “rockflour”) that is washed down the mountain, settles in the lakes, and then reflects the blue and green wavelengths of sunlight.
Continue along the side of the lake where the trail will lead you to a waterfall located just off to the side.
A short scramble over some exposed rocks and then over a bridge across the creek and you’ve reached Upper Joffre Lake.
There is a campsite at the far end of the lake that you can continue to…or just sit here and take in this gorgeous view. The side of the lake is very rocky so watch your step as you find a place to sit. We actually made our way back to Middle Joffre Lake to have our lunch as we found more places to sit there. As you make your way back to the parking lot take some time to appreciate just being in nature and having had a chance to admire these incredible views.
Joffre Lakes Park is located on the unceded shared territory of the Lil’wat Nation and N’Quatqua people.