Joffre Lakes

January 3, 2016

Joffre Lakes is one of BC's most beautiful hikes and is relatively easy to access compared to other alpine lakes.

From the parking lot just off the Duffey Lake Road, head along the trail staying to your left at the fork and in just minutes you will reach the first of three lakes. The view is amazing with the glacier sitting high above the mountains.

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Trailhead

Head back up the trail to the fork and turn left along the path and across a bridge following the trail along the edge of the lake. After 5 minutes, the trail will begin to head uphill and continue through forested area. After about 20 minutes, you will come to a boulder field. Easy to cross in winter, be careful on any other season.

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After passing through the boulder field, you will hear the sound of Joffre Creek.

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Middle Joffre Lake

Continue up the steep hill, eventually you will reach Middle Joffre Lake.

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Middle Joffre Lake

Continue along the trail that weaves along the shoreline of Middle Joffre Lake and cross over Joffre Creek again.

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Camping is welcome year-round at Joffre Lakes. In the summer months, 24 camping areas can be found at the far shore of the third lake.

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Joffre Creek

These are very rustic camping areas in a tremendous setting but with no facilities other than an outhouse.

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There is a small, $5 charge for camping overnight at Joffre Lakes and you can pay online at the BC Parks site or at the trailhead with an envelope, dropbox system.

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In the winter, with the lakes frozen and the trees weighed down with snow, Joffre Lakes takes on a serene beauty, with the low sun cutting through the trees and the forest brightly reflecting.

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Evidence of the park’s glacial history can be found in the U-shaped valleys, glacial silts and lateral moraines.

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Middle Joffre Lakes Falls

Another 20 minutes past Middle Joffre Lakes and you will start to see Upper Joffre Lake emerge with the glacier providing a beautiful backdrop.

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Matier Glacier and Mt. Matier at 2,783m (9,130ft.)

You can continue as far up to the base of the glacier, following the river that feeds the upper lake from the melting ice, or just pick a spot next to the lake to enjoy your lunch.

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Stonecrop Glacier

This magnificent area of jagged peaks, icefields, cold rushing streams and turquoise blue lakes was established as a recreation area in 1988 and became a Class A park in 1996.

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Cayoosh Range

Matier glacier is an alpine glacier dating back to the last ice age which occurred during the Pleistocene epoch from approximately 110,000 to 12,000 years ago.

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Lower Joffre Lake on the way back

Scientists consider this "ice age" to be merely the latest glaciation event in a much larger ice age, one that dates back over two million years and has seen multiple glaciations.

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Joffre Peak and Mt Matier, view from First Lake

To reach the trailhead of Joffre Lakes, take Highway #99 (Sea To Sky Highway) northbound through Squamish, Whistler, and Pemberton. Continue straight through the lights at Pemberton, along the highway towards the town of Mt. Currie. Turn right at the intersection with the sign towards Lillooet. Zero your odometer and continue along the winding road, past Lillooet Lake before heading up a steep hill. After traveling 21km from the intersection in Mt. Currie, watch for signs to the Joffre Lakes parking lot. The trail begins at the furthest end at the bottom of the lot.

Click here to watch a YouTube video of this hike

Map

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Roundtrip length: Around 7.2 km (4.47 miles)
Allow 4 hours
Minimum Elevation: 1,251 m (4,104 ft)
Maximum Elevation: 1,613 m (5,292 ft)
Elevation gain: 379 m (1243 ft)

Download route in GPX format

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Driving distance from Vancouver:
182 km
Driving time from Vancouver: Approx. 3 hours