Joffre Lakes Provincial Park: Hiking Guide

Joffre Lakes

I’ve gone on some incredible hikes in my life, including a 4-day backpacking trip on the famous Inca trail and an overnight hike to Crater Lake National Park, but sometimes a simple day hike can knock your socks off. Even though it features one of the most popular hikes in Canada, Joffre Lakes Provincial Park wasn’t even on my radar until I stumbled upon it while road-tripping through British Columbia. Years later, I still think about this hike and that stunning turquoise water.

This hike should be on everyone’s bucket list

Lower Joffre Lake

Getting to Joffre Lakes Provincial Park

Located just two and a half hours from Vancouver, you will drive the scenic Sea to Sky highway to reach Joffre Lakes Provincial Park. A parking lot is located at the base of the hike, which fills quickly. Get there early to beat the crowds.

Joffre Lakes Hike

Joffre Lakes Hike Information

  • 7.7km (4.8 miles) out and back
  • 491 meters (1600 feet) elevation gain
  • Accessible almost year-round but snowshoes are necessary in winter
  • The hike is rated as moderate; you need to be in decent shape
  • The hike allows dogs, which is always a plus for me because my pup is my favorite hiking companion!
Joffre Lakes

As I climbed the trail, I was met by three gorgeous turquoise lakes – lower, middle, and upper Joffre – each more vibrant than the last. I also saw a rushing waterfall, but it is easily forgotten since the real show-stopper is the giant glacier located on a picture-perfect mountain, visible once you make it to middle Joffre.

Joffre Lakes
Middle Joffre Lake

Believe it or not, my favorite lake was not upper Joffre, which undeniably has the best view of the glacier. Instead, I preferred the middle Joffre lake. It is not quite a vibrantly turquoise as upper Joffre, but it’s also not nearly as popular with other hikers. Everyone seemed in a rush to get to the top of the hike, but not me. Instead, I chose to have my lunch at middle Joffre, while my dog went for a dip in the icy water. We had the place to ourselves, and it was very, very tranquil. I don’t like crowds when I’m in nature.

Joffre Lakes Middle Joffre
Middle Joffre Lake

After making it up to the top of the hike, I sat for a while at the rim of upper Joffre until I started to get cold. Even in July, I was close enough to feel the frozen breeze toppling off the glacier onto to still water below. I decided it was time to head back down.

The way back was much easier than the climb up, and before I knew it, we were back at the car. The hike in total was just a couple of hours, but I still think about that afternoon often. I guess some memories are just too beautiful to let fade!

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Photo credit for all photos in this article: Guillaume Dutilh

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