Trail Guide: Joffre Lakes, BC

Canada / Thursday, August 11th, 2022

Joffre Lakes Hike Summary

  • State: British Columbia
  • Difficulty: Intermediate
  • Type: In and out
  • Parking Permit: No
  • Time: 5 hours
  • Round-Trip: 8km / 4.98ft miles return to Upper Lake - 9.4km / 5.8miles return campsite
  • Elevation Gain: 318m / 1,043 ft Upper Lake
  • Season: June - September
  • Camping: Yes
  • From Vancouver: 3 hours
  • Shuttle Service: Parkbus
  • Dog Friendly: No

Joffre Lakes Park is a popular camping site and hiking trail located outside of Pemberton, BC. The camping site has become very popular thanks to the waterfalls and three beautiful glacier-fed lakes. The three lakes include Upper, Middle, and Lower Joffre Lake. The snow-capped mountain peaks rise from Lower Joffre Lake and can be seen from an easily accessible viewpoint close to the parking lot. As you continue, it becomes an increasingly rocky, rough and steep path.

The evidence of the glacial history of the park is found in the lateral moraines, U-shaped valleys, and glacial silts. This beautiful area of icefields, jagged peaks, turquoise blue lakes, and cold rushing streams was recognized as a recreation site in 1988 and attained a class park status in 1996. What draws hikers to the camping site is the vivid blue waters of Upper, Middle and Lower Joffre lakes, which you will pass along the trail. The unbelievably bright turquoise color is created from glacial silt which is suspended in the water. This silt reflects the blue and green wavelengths of sunlight.

As well as hiking and camping, the lakes have opportunities for mountaineering, fishing, and wildlife viewing as well.


Joffre Lakes Information

Due to recent upgrades in the hiking trail, Joffre lakes park can be hiked year-round. Even then, most visitors prefer visiting the lake when the water turns to its signature blue. One can quickly catch the blue lake marvel from mid-June through to late September. Dogs are no longer permitted in Joffre Lakes Park. As of summer 2018, park rangers are set to turn around anyone hiking with a dog. However, the lake offers excellent fishing. There are a variety of species of trout in the lakes. If you plan to do some fishing in Joffre, be sure to carry your fishing license.

The park provides limited parking space at the entrance and parking overflow around the hike entrance. Additionally, anyone who parks along the Duffey highway will be towed; this is strictly enforced.

This in and out trail to all three lakes will take approximately 3.5 – 5 hours. It is a total of 10km to the Upper Lake and back to the carpark with an elevation gain of around 400 meters.

Upper Joffre Lake

Joffre Lakes Hiking Route from Parking Lot

Joffre Lakes is among the most beautiful hiking sites in British Columbia. Compared to similar alpine lakes in British Columbia, it is relatively easy to access the area.

Starting from the parking lot, head along the trail and in minutes take the small detour to arrive at Lower Joffre Lake. The view is remarkable, and the glacier is seen perched high above the mountains. Walk back to the main trail before turning left to continue your hike to Upper Joffre and Middle Joffre Lakes. You will cross a bridge and follow a path along the edges of the lake. 5 minutes later, the trail will start to become a steep incline through a forested area. After approximately 20 minutes, you’ll arrive at a clearing where the route opens for clear views across the valley and you can look back towards the direction you came from as well.

Continue your hike along the trail as it crosses a long log floating on the second lake, a very famous Instagram selfie location, and pass a wooden bridge. While the route leaves the middle Joffre Lakes zone, a short path diverts to the right where you will see a powerful waterfall along the lake that connects the Middle Joffre and Upper Joffre Lakes.  Returning to the trail, keep on hiking uphill, and in 15 minutes time, after crossing a second wooden bridge, you will have a glimpse of the Upper Joffre Lake. Although it will appear as if you are just about there, you still got a long walk around the lake. As you arrive at the end, the path opens up while the Upper Joffre becomes more observable along with the views of the glacier.


You may also be interested in these nearby trails: Panorama Ridge, Elfin Lake. Or check out the Best Hiking Trails in British Columbia!

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