Joffre Lakes is one of the most impressive and beautiful places in Canada. There are three lakes in total, each more breath taking and blue than the last.
The trail itself has a couple of rough, tricky sections but with a lot of recent construction work the hike is not overly difficult. It’s best to allow between 3-4 hours for a round trip, along with stopping time for pictures.
The lakes are open all year round, but during the winter they are frozen over, meaning you cannot marvel at how amazingly blue they are. The colour is brought out by the light reflecting off particles of glacial silt floating in the water.
Where is it?
Joffre Lakes is located just north of Pemberton, around one hour north of Whistler. Follow the 99 as it becomes Duffy Lake Road until you reach the parking lot on the right of the highway.
There is overflow parking available on the left, just before the official turnoff – this is usually the best option on busy weekends and statutory holidays. Along with the lakes there is also an impressive waterfall between the second and third lakes.
When to go?
Although the trail is open to visitors year round the best time to go is during the summer, when the water is at its most stunning. During the winter the incredible turquoise is hidden from sight by a sheet of ice.
The trail itself is fairly shaded throughout meaning that even in the hottest weather you are not in direct sunlight all the time. The hike is around 1½ -2 hours one way and you should allow for 3-4 hours in total.
Recent construction on the trail means that previously tricky boulder sections are now a lot easier with a proper path built in its place. This, coupled with the beauty of the lakes, means that the hike is very popular and can become quite busy during weekends.
If you wish to avoid the crowds aim to go early in the morning or later in the afternoon.
What to bring?
As the hike is fairly straightforward you don’t really need to take many supplies unless you are camping.
Remember to bring plenty of water especially when it’s hot, along with food and snacks. Hats, sunglasses and sun cream are recommended when it is sunny.
There is no cell reception in or around the area so be aware of that. Finally, you should definitely bring a camera to capture the incredible landscape!
Camping is located at the far end of the third lake and is welcome all year round. There are a total of 24 rustic sites, with an outhouse as the only amenity.
There is a small $5 charge for camping and behind the lake you can find multiple waterfalls cascading down to the lake. These are a source of fresh water for all who choose to stay.
Campfires are prohibited year round and as usual garbage is your own responsibility so pack out what you pack in.