Joffre Lakes Provincial Park
- Conditions Report as of February 16th, 2015: Icy conditions and hard, supportive crust found at lower and mid elevations. Appropriate footwear and crampons recommended.
- Avalanche and glacier hazards exist in Joffre Lakes Park. Be properly equipped, self-sufficient, and experienced in winter travel.
- Click here for current Avalanche Bulletins.
- Information about travel in avalanche terrain including trip planning, standard equipment, and courses is available at Avalanche Canada.
- Winter camping: at Upper Joffre Lake campground is not recommended due to high avalanche exposure. Choose your campsite carefully to avoid avalanche terrain. Campfires are prohibited all year round.
About This ParkSteeply rising from Lower Joffre Lake, the glacier-laden peaks are visible from an easily accessible viewpoint 500 metres from the parking lot. If you carry on, the trail becomes a rough, rocky and steep hike through the Coast Mountain range. Evidence of the park’s glacial history can be found in the U-shaped valleys, glacial silts and lateral moraines. This magnificent area of jagged peaks, icefields, cold rushing streams and turquoise blue lakes was established as a recreation area in 1988 and became a Class A park in 1996.
A highlight of the park is the turquoise blue waters of Lower, Middle and Upper Joffre lakes, all three of which are located along the trail, and each more stunning than the last. Their striking, saturated blue colour is caused by “rockflour” – or glacial silt – that is suspended in the water and reflects green and blue wavelengths of sunlight. Joffre Lakes Provincial Park has opportunities for hiking, camping, mountaineering, wildlife viewing, and fishing.
Park Size: 1,460 hectares
- No emergency services are available; visitors should be self sufficient in this remote wilderness environment and properly equipped for self rescue.
- Bring your own drinking water as potable water is not available in the park. Water from lakes or streams should be boiled for at least two minutes.
- Campfires are not permitted at this park.
- The glacial fed lakes are very cold and are not recommended for swimming.
- Expect winter conditions in Joffre lakes from November until the end of May. Persons travelling into Joffre Lake Provincial Park should be properly equipped and experienced in winter travel.
Location and MapsPlease note: Any maps listed are for information only – they may not represent legal boundaries and should not be used for navigation.
Maps and BrochuresAny maps listed are for information only – they may not represent legal boundaries and should not be used for navigation.
Nature and Culture
- Wildlife: Deer, black bears, grizzly bears and mountain goats reside in the area. Pikas may be spotted at the third lake. Please use the pails and metal food cache at the campsite to store your food. Dogs must be kept on a leash.
Management PlanningManagement Planning Information
- Online Management planning information for this park is not available at this time.
Activities Available at this Park
Only experienced and well-prepared mountaineers should attempt mountain climbing or venture onto glaciers and snow fields. The trail from the parking lot past three lakes to Middle and Upper Joffre Lake is a rough, rocky and steep 5 km (3 mile) mountain route. Elevation gain to Upper Joffre Lake from the parking lot is approximately 400 metres. For your own safety and the preservation of the park, obey posted signs and keep to designated trails.
From the parking lot, Lower Joffre Lake is just a short 5 minutes, easy walk away and there is a nice viewpoint here. If you carry on, the more challenging trek to Middle and Upper Joffre lakes is well worth the reward: a sweeping view of rugged peaks, icefields and cold, rushing streams beneath the Matier Glacier.
Continuing on from Lower Joffre Lake, the trail winds upward through old growth forests of hemlock and spruce and along talus slopes. After a steep, rooty section, the trail emerges into a sub-alpine forest with views of the Matier Glacier.
At Middle Joffre Lake, you’ll want to stop to photograph the scene in front of you: with the lake’s pristine turquoise waters fringed by sub-alpine forest and backed by rugged Coast Mountain scenery.
The final stretch of the hike brings you to the largest and perhaps most stunning of the three lakes: Upper Joffre Lake. Here you stand beneath the frozen cascade of Matier Glacier, with a fine vantage of 2,721m. (8,927ft.) Joffre Peak.
In the warm afternoon sun you can hear the thunderous crashing of ice as it calves from the glacier and rockfall from the slopes above. Please keep in mind that because of the instability of glacial terrain, scrambling upslope to get a closer view is not recommended.
Note on this hike: Be sure to take insect repellent, as mosquitoes and blackflies can be pesky.
Etiquette: Pack out what you pack in and take it home with you. There is no garbage pick-up in the park.
Pets on Leash
Compared to other backcountry parks in the Sea to Sky Corridor, Joffre Lakes is one of the few remaining parks where dogs are currently still allowed. If you do choose to bring your pet, please respect the park, its wildlife, and other park visitors.
Popular backcountry areas, such as Joffre Lakes Park, are often not suitable for pets due to congestion on the trail and in camping areas, wildlife issues, and safety around bears and cougars (for example, a bear can chase a dog back to the dog’s owner).
Facilities Available at this Park
Pit or Flush Toilets
Please note, camping is not permitted in the parking lot or at Middle Joffre Lake during snow free months. Help keep the park pristine and practice “Leave No Trace” camping. Pack out what you pack in and take it home with you. There is no garbage pick-up in the park. Campfires are prohibited all year round.
BC Parks Discover Camping Backcountry Registration System allows you to purchase a backcountry camping permit before leaving home. The system does not reserve campsites. We encourage all visitors to purchase their backcountry camping permits online before arriving at the trailhead. Permits may be purchased up to 2 weeks in advance of your arrival date. Please note there is no cellular coverage in Joffre Lakes Park.