Joffre Lakes

Duffey Lake

A popular hike to three turquoise-blue alpine lakes

Hiking Difficult

Distance
9.1 km
Ascent
442 m
Descent
442 m
Duration
2-3 hrs
Low Point
1.2 km
High Point
1.6 km
Gradient
14˚
VIEW ON MAP
Joffre Lakes Map

Description

Joffre Lakes is one of those trails that everyone in BC has on their to-do lists. Yes it's super popular and yes you might have to dodge groups of people posing for Instagram shots... but there's a reason it draws crowds. Less than a three-hour drive from Vancouver, a well-maintained trail and not one, but three turquoise blue glacier-fed lakes, each more spectacular than the last. What more could you want?

Lower Joffre Lake is a flat 5-minute walk from the carpark. A viewpoint here looks up to the mighty Matier Glacier which hangs over Upper Joffre Lake. A well-defined trail continues upwards, crossing Joffre Creek a few times, as it switchbacks up to Middle Joffre Lake. At this point you've done most of the elevation. You'll get your first glimpse of Upper Joffre Lake after another 15 minutes, although the trail continues around the lake for a good bit longer to the base of the glacier.

The color of the lakes is due to "rock flour" — rock ground up during glacial erosion and suspended in the meltwater, reflecting green and blue wavelengths of sunlight.

There are 26 campsites at the Upper Lake. See http://www.env.gov.bc.ca/bcparks/explore/parkpgs/joffrelks/#WalkInCamping for details. Spots are likely to fill very quickly on summer weekends. Also note that the parking lot fills up rapidly and parking on the side of the highway is not allowed. It definitely pays to start early for this one.

Difficulty

Difficult

Hiking trails where obstacles such as rocks or roots are prevalent. Some obstacles can require care to step over or around. At times, the trail can be worn and eroded. The grade of the trail is generally quite steep, and can often lead to strenuous hiking.

Low Exposure

1 out of 4

The path is on completely flat land and potential injury is limited to falling over.

Remoteness

2 out of 4

Away from help but easily accessed.

Best time to visit

May, June, July, August, September, October

Features

  • Alpine
  • Picturesque
  • Water features

Guidebooks in this area