Joffre Lakes Hike, Pemberton, British Columbia
Distance: 10km round-trip
Time Taken: 3 hours
When to Hike: June – September
Starting Point: Joffre Lakes are relatively easy to access, unlike other lakes in the region. There is a large car park situated just off the Duffey Lake Road a few miles north of Pemberton. The hike is signposted beside some portable toilets at the start of the trail in one corner of the car park.
The Hike: If you stay left at the fork towards the start of the trail, you will soon reach the first of the three, the Lower Joffre Lake. There isn’t really any elevation here, and so is the easiest to ‘hike’ to, although it’s basically just a walk. Take this option if you just want to get a photo of one of the beautiful lakes, but don’t want to hike to get there. On a clear day you can see the Matier Glacier, which you will be hiking up towards, perched high above in the mountains.
Once you’re finished with the first lake, return along the trail and continue down the right fork, leading towards the Middle and Upper Joffre Lakes. The path will cross a bridge and continue around the edge of the Lower Lake for around 5 minute, before you start to gain elevation. This is quite a steep section, and after 20 minutes the trail opens up revealing beautiful views across the valley and where you’ve just climbed. After passing the Joffre Creek on the left, the trail continues to climb and switches back a few times, where you can see the Lower Lake below. Shortly later you will reach the stunning Middle Lake, where the Glacier serves as a stunning backdrop. There is a floating log here which most people use for gorgeous photos, you can’t visit the Lakes and not get one!
The trail continues around the Middle Lake, and continues uphill past a very beautiful waterfall before disapearing up into the trees, intertwining with the river, as you head up towards the Upper Lake. After about 15 minutes you’ll be able to see glimpses of the Upper Lake through the trees. Continue through the roots and divots until the trail opens up on a wide rocky area with stunning views out across the Upper Lake, and see the Glacier flowing into its waters on the far side. Unfortunately, this is quite a busy spot filled with tourists who want to stop and stit for a while as they check out the Lake. The trail does continue further around the Lake towards the Glacier on the far side where you can find the campsite, so do keep walking if you want to find your own more secluded spot to take in these breathtaking sights.
To return to the car park, simply follow the trail back the way you came. It’s a lot faster walking down than up! Key points on this hike: make sure you get a photo on the floating log at the Middle Lake, and try and find a more secluded spot off the path at the Upper Lake (the photo above was taken on a high and wide rock standing above the trail towards the campsite, and nobody was around!). These lakes are truly picturesque and really are a must see when in BC!!
Enjoy the hike!!