Joffre Lakes Provincial Park
Avalanche and glacier hazards exist in Joffre Lakes Provincial Park. For current avalanche bulletins visit http://www.avalanche.ca/cac/bulletins/latest/sea-to-sky
Only experienced groups practiced in crevasse rescue and properly roped should venture onto snowfields and glaciers. For more information visit http://www.avalanche.ca/
Trail Improvement Project Underway!
BC Parks is undertaking the second phase in a two year trail improvement project on the main Joffre Lakes Trail (to Upper Joffre Lake) in 2013. There is a trail crew and machinery working on various sections of the trail. The work will continue, potentially into October of this year. There may also be weekend work activities. There may be an increase in helicopter flights overhead, including the placement of project materials along the trail.
The new section of trail between the middle and upper lake is now open but there are still ongoing construction activities. Please keep to the trail, obey temporary signs and do not cross roped off areas. A new route to a scenic viewpoint on the northwest shore of Upper Joffre Lake has been marked with flagging tape but is also under construction. Care is required to walk through a short section of boulders. The viewpoint is a natural moraine of large boulders as well.
- Please follow public safety warning signs and any directions you may receive from the trail crew or park rangers. Expect some noise and short hiking delays when you encounter the project work of the day. Thank you for your patience.
- In 2012, as part of the first phase of the project, a new trail between Middle Joffre Lake and Upper Joffre Lake was constructed. It provides views of a cascading waterfall and a large, glaciated mountain vista across the upper lake. Hikers may discover this will make their day, without having to continue to the often busy backcountry campsite at the far end of the lake.
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
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.
Overnight campers can set up their tents on the far (south) end of the lake in the small, but level campsites provided. The campsite, along a section of lakeshore and in the adjacent rock talus slope, is some distance from the toe of the glacier. The campsite may fill up on weekends so it is best to get there early. In the warm afternoon sun you can hear the thunderous crashing of ice as it calves from the glacier. 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
Between Lower and Middle Lakes there is a large boulder talus slope mid-way to the middle Joffre Lake that must be negotiated. From the boulder area to the Middle Lake outlet bridge the trail is steep and rough. Pet (dog) owners need to use caution, common sense, discretion and show control of their pets, especially if owners choose to temporarily unleash their pet when hiking through these tough sections.
Popular backcountry areas, such as Joffre Lakes Park, are really not suitable for dogs or other pets due to large numbers of people, wildlife issues and the potential for problems with bears (i.e.: a bear chasing a dog back to the dog’s owner). Compared to other backcountry parks in the Sea to Sky Corridor, Joffre Lakes is one of the few where dogs are currently still allowed. If you do choose to bring your pet to this area, please respect the park, its wildlife and other park visitors.
Facilities Available at this Park
Pit or Flush Toilets
BC Parks Discover Camping Backcountry Registration System allows you to purchase a backcountry permit before leaving home.