Joffre Lakes Provincial Park is located on the Duffey Lake Road section of Highway 99, the Sea to Sky Highway, northeast of Mount Currie in southwest BC.
Steeply rising from Lower Joffre Lake, the glacier-laden peaks are visible from an easily accessible viewpoint 500 metres from the parking lot. Evidence of the park’s glacial history can be found in the U-shaped valleys, glacial silts and lateral moraines.
Floral displays are spectacular for brief periods in the summer months and opportunities for photography abound in this magnificent area of jagged peaks, icefields, cold rushing streams and turquoise blue lakes. The park offers hiking, camping, mountaineering, wildlife viewing, and fishing.
High above Lillooet Lake are the three small Joffre Lakes. Two of them require a challenging hike to reach, but Lower Joffre Lake is just minutes from Hwy 99 at the Joffre Lakes Provincial Park trailhead. Not many visitors make the effort to carry a small boat through the forest to the lake, but those who do are treated to the finest landscape surrounding any lake in the region. Not only is the lake fantastically coloured – shades of turquoise and aquamarine – but it is also surmounted by the massive Joffre Glacier Group. On a clear day, time seems suspended as you paddle here in absolute stillness.
Perhaps the toughest but most rewarding hike in the region is to Upper Joffre Lake. The three lakes in this subalpine chain are strung like a turquoise necklace on the mountainside below the massive Joffre Glacier Group. It’s a short 500-metre walk from the parking lot beside Hwy 99 to Lower Joffre Lake, but a stiff 2.5-mile (4-km) hike to Middle Joffre Lake and another 1 mile (1.5 kms) to Upper Joffre, a total distance of 7 miles (11 km) return. The main hiking trail from the parking lot past three lakes to Middle and Upper Joffre Lake is a rough mountain route, which is also popular for snowshoeing. Elevation gain to Upper Joffre Lake from the parking lot is approximately 400 metres. Expect wet trail conditions throughout the year, particularly as you approach Middle Joffre. You’ll have to scramble in places where loose soil conditions make for treacherous footing.
The reward of reaching Upper Joffre cannot be overstated. The ice falls of Matier Glacier, Mount Matier and Mount Joffre tower above the turquoise waters of the lake: an amphitheatre of crevassed, blue-hued ice rises directly above the lake’s south end and embraces most of the mountainside in a sweep from Mount Taylor to Joffre Peak and Mount Chief Pascall. Cool winds blow down from the icefield; you’ll begin looking for shelter from the breeze almost as soon as you arrive at Upper Joffre.
Expect winter conditions in Joffre lakes from November until April. Persons travelling into Joffre Lake Provincial Park should be properly equipped and experienced in winter travel during this period. No emergency services are available during the winter season.
According to that rare breed of mountain cat – the ice climber – Lillooet is the centre for ice climbing in British Columbia, and owing to the ease with which nearby glaciers can be reached, the Joffre Glacier Group has been visited by novice and expert ice climbers alike for decades, and its popularity continues to grow. Beware exploring the glacier. Only experienced mountaineers should attempt mountain climbing or venture onto glaciers and snow fields, as even knowledgeable climbers run the risk of falling into a crevasse.
There are no facilities in this recreational area other than an outhouse and approximately 24 walk-in, backcountry campsites. Camping is permitted year round at Upper Joffre Lake, 5.5 kilometres from the parking lot. The ice falls of Matier Glacier, Mount Matier and Mount Joffre tower above the turquoise waters of the lake. Be properly equipped and experienced in winter travel. No emergency services are available during the winter season. Winter camping at the Upper Lake campground is not recommended due to high avalanche danger. Campers are expected to remove all traces of their visit.
Both Lower and Middle Joffre Lakes have been stocked with rainbow trout that are now reaching maturity. Owing to the frigid conditions in these two lakes, the size of most fish is smaller than you’ll wish to keep. However, given the setting, a paddle on Lower Joffre offers as many rewards as does landing a trout.
Mule deer and coastal black deer, black bears and mountain goats make their homes in and around the park. Pikas and hoary marmots may also be seen.
Joffre Lakes Provincial Park (1,460 hectares) is located , about 14 miles (22 km) northeast of Mount Currie on the Sea to Sky Highway 99, between Pemberton and Lillooet, in the Vancouver, Coast and Mountains region of British Columbia.
Nearby Regions & Towns