Hike Joffre Lakes Trail in Pemberton, Canada

Just north of Whistler lies Pemberton and just north of Pemberton is Joffre Lakes Provincial Park. Not the most known area, but within this Provincial Park is the trail to Joffre Lake. Actually three Joffre Lakes. You get Lower, Middle and Upper Joffre Lakes. All absolutely stunning and beautiful in their own right. This hike is not for the faint of heart or the unprepared first timer. It can be done, but the elevation gain is even moderate for an avid hiker.

Not to be missed if you are in the area, I would say it was one of our favorite of the trip!

Hike Joffre Lakes Trail in Pemberton, Canada

Miles: 4.5 ♦ Elevation Gain: 1,259′ ♦ Trail Type: Out and Back ♦ Trail: Moderately Hard ♦ Time: 2:00 – The recommended time to allot to this hike is 4-6 hours. Be realistic about your capability in the elevation gain.

I fell in love with Pemberton. Not originally on the list for places to explore, we came about it only because of this hike. The chill, laid back vibe was comfortable and inviting. Then with the outdoor possibilities being endless, it was a dream area.

As you drive out of town towards the trail you come to two parking lots for this trailhead. The one on the right at the trailhead, which is quite large for the area. The second one is before you get to the trailhead and it is large. Large enough for RVs and if you are towing anything.

For this trail you must get a permit online before you head to the trail. They allow a certain amount of permits each day. Make your way to the main parking lot and check in at the stand. They are actually there and they do check. If you do not have a permit they do not allow you on the trail.

There are bathrooms for you to use and then head to the right of check in and there is the trailhead.

You will make it to the first lake within a quarter of a mile and it gives you a glimpse of what is to come. Lower Joffre Lake is easily accessed and on a clear day you can see Matier Glacier.

Head back to the turnoff and head towards Middle Joffre Lake. The hike starts of with a very slight incline and then be aware it quickly turns into a climb. We saw multiple people that were not prepare either by their gear or their fitness level. On a hot day make sure to bring enough water and some snacks.

You will hike through a rocky area that is called a “moraine.” This means this rock came from a glacier guiding it down the mountain and settled in its place. After this rocky area, I was joking while we were hiking that it felt like a stair stepper because each was a step up, not forward. Then the joke was on me because for over 100 steps, it was actually steps!

At just under two miles you will reach Middle Joffre Lake. This seems to be the most popular for people. It is stunning but it is also a great place to stop and rest before your final push.

While the lakes are the main attraction of this hike, you are given an extra reward of a massive and beautiful waterfall. Take another breather to take in this waterfall.

You are so close at this point and yes, it does feel like you will never get there. Even on this short hike, the few miles feel like double or triple the amount.

Your first glimpse of the turquoise alpine lake is at the 2.3 mile marker.

Then explore as much as you want. The boulders create some stadium seating to take in the glacier and towering peaks and the glacier waterfall.

Check out a video of a panoramic view of the lake:

Get your free day use permit here: Joffre Lakes Trail Permit

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