Easy access to some of the most spectacular scenery in the Coast Mountains. 10km round trip to Upper Joffre Lake, 400m elevation gain (1200' gain). A great hike in summer, and a fun snowshoe in winter. Three beautiful turquoise lakes, a blue glacier, waterfalls and old growth forest. Duration: just a few minutes walk to the first lake, or a half day/full day to explore the whole area.

Joffre Lakes is a well loved destination, and for good reason: it is absolutely stunning. Not only is it located on one of the most scenic drives you could ever hope to find (Duffy Lake Road) , but it's possible to enjoy this area no matter how much time you have, or how much hiking you want to do.

There are three bright turquoise lakes in the Joffre chain, the first being just a few minutes from the parking area. From Lower Joffre Lake, the views are stunning, and as you continue up the trail, it just gets better and better. The Parks Service is working on trail upgrades, and now a new section of the upper trail takes you past a gorgeous waterfall just under Upper Joffre Lake. The trail is steep in places and requires proper footwear and intermediate hiking ability.

From the top of the trail, you can continue on to the camping area (24 sites/$5 a person) and another huge waterfall, plus you'll get a closer look at the blue icefalls of the Matier Glacier directly above you. On a sunny day these lakes sparkle with little diamonds, below clear deep blue skies. On cloudy days, the lakes turn a brighter turquoise. Upper Joffre Lake has some epic camping spots, and serves as a good access point to the surrounding mountains for ski touring and mountaineering.

With easy access and beautiful scenery, this area gets very busy. To have some alone time with Joffre Lakes, you'll need to go very early in the morning or late in the day in summer months. To reach the parking area, head north on HWY 99 from Whistler or Pemberton, and follow the Duffy Lake Rd until you see the well marked Park signs on your right. There's a large parking area here (plowed only intermittently in winter!) that sill manages to spill over onto the highway on summer weekends.

Unfortunately, dogs are no longer allowed at Joffre Lakes Provincial Park.

Pack List

  • For a day hike bring minimum 2L of water
  • Sturdy hiking boots
  • Warm layers (even in summer, mountain weather is unpredictable and it can get very cold in the alpine)
  • And everything you'd normally have in a day pack...
  • Headlamp
  • First aid kit
  • Lots of food
  • Extra layers, jacket
  • Camera
  • Bug repellent in summer (there can be a lot of mosquitos if it's not windy)
  • Gators in spring/early summer for the mud!
Show More
RT Distance 6.2 Miles
Elevation Gain 1200 Feet
Activities Camping, Photography, Snowshoeing, Backpacking, Hiking
Skill Level Intermediate
Season Year Round
Trail Type Out-and-Back
Features
Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Forest
Lake
Picnic Area
River
Romantic
Scenic
Waterfall
Wildflowers
Wildlife

Reviews

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Overall rating: 

Sadly no longer dog-friendly in 2018

One of my favorite hikes - and my first alpine glacial lake hike with my dog, I have done twice when in Whistler. Sadly, was looking forward to coming back this year and learned that dogs are no longer allowed. https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/joffre-lakes-hike-dogs-1.4646944

Beautiful Hike; too many people

This is a pretty easy hike, so if you are in the area I would recommend spending a couple of hours here. If you are planning on doing this hike I STRONGLY recommend starting early. We started at about 8:00am and there were already a dozen or so people on the trail, on our way down we passed countless groups and the parking lot was insane. There were at least 30 people in line for the restroom when we got done. A beautiful trio of lakes, but again start early if you want some peace

Way too busy

I've done Joffre a couple years ago, but when I went up recently I was shocked to see an overflowing parking lot. The trail made the SeaWall in Vancouver look slow. The views are stunning, but the crowds for so thick, and the endless "hammock" instagramers kinda got on my nerves. As someone who goes on hikes for the piece and quite and authenticity I wasn't keen on this area. I'm glad so many others derive so much joy from it though. I'd happily sacrifice this spot to the crowds to save the many other locations nearby.


Please respect the places you find on The Outbound Collective.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

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