Joffre Lakes Hike

This was the first time after living in Vancouver for so long that we went as far on Hwy 99 as Pemberton. Although it's not really that far- only a couple of hours away- we just never managed to drive in this direction past Whistler. We reserved camping at Nairn Falls Provincial Park and decided to explore the local area for good trails. Joffre Lakes came up as one of the popular hikes and it also seemed like a good, not too long hike we could do after not hiking for a while due to all kinds of reasons and injuries :). What we didn't know about this hike was a very pleasant surprise at the end of the trail!

Joffre Lakes Provincial Park
Near to:
Pemberton, BC
Round Trip:
about 11km
Elevation Gain:
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Joffre Lakes Provincial Park is located about half an hour drive from Whistler and about 10 to 15 minutes past Lillooet Lake. Our day started with light rain and as we gained more elevation driving, heavy fog (the trail starts at about 1200m elevation). As we drove up, I thought we would be all by ourselves but when we got to the parking lot, there were at least ten cars already. It turns out to be a very popular hike with quite a few people on the trail.
The first part of the hike as you go right near the first lake is pretty easy, plus it almost feels like a commercialized type of trail (the trail is being upgraded right now), but as you continue up, it switches back to an old trail, which in my opinion is much more challenging, but enjoyable.
By far this is not a difficult trail although it does get really steep in a number of places. Once on an old part of trail, you steadily gain most of this hike's elevation pretty much all the way to the second lake. On a rainy day like we had, be very careful as you go through steep areas because they can be very slippery. But once you are almost at the second lake, this is where you are going to get a WOW factor, as a beautiful lake opens up with a view of a glacier at the back of the lake. On our first attempt, this is where we stopped. The view was so amazing that we decided that was already enough for this time around. We will for sure come back for an attempt to get to the third lake.
To get there from Vancouver, take Hwy 1 going West to Whistler which will turn into Hwy 99. Once past Pemberton, it is about half an hour or even 20 minutes depending on the weather since there's going to be a lot of zigzagging going up the mountains. There's no off-road driving to get to trailhead so any car will do it. Watch for the Joffre Lakes sign on your right but once there, you'll see quite a large parking lot. Try to make it there early, as it gets really busy!


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