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Joffre Lakes Provincial Park
About This Park
Leave No Trace at Joffre Lake Provincial Park
Steeply 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 towards middle and upper Joffre Lakes, the trail becomes steeper and more challenging. 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.
Know Before You Go
- Trail Report [PDF] (October 30, 2021)
- 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.
- Parking on the edges of highway 99 is not permitted. Use designated parking lot only.
- The parking lot fills very quickly, particularly on the weekends, and a reservation does not guarantee a parking space in the lot. Plan ahead by arriving early.
- There are no garbage cans in the park, please pack out what you pack in.
- This is a very high use park and it is busy 7 days per week, extremely busy on weekends.
- Camping is only allowed in the designated area at the Upper Lake.
- A reservation is required for any overnight stay in Joffre Lakes Park. Winter camping is not available November 1 – April 15 due to avalanche risk.
- Campers without a reservation will not be permitted to stay overnight.
Prohibited in this Park
- Harvesting of natural resources; this includes mushrooms.
- Domestic animals.
Free Day-Use Pass Reservations
As of June 17, 2022, free day-use passes are required to visit Joffre Lakes Park. Reserve your free day-use pass at reserve.bcparks.bc/day-use. Passes are available to book starting at 7am, two days in advance of your planned visit.
|Trail or Trailhead||Pass required||Timing||Overnight stays|
|Joffre Lakes||Trail (Person)||All-Day||Day-use pass not required for overnight campers. A camping reservation is required and must be carried at all times.|
Backcountry Camping Reservations
The BC Parks reservations system allows you to purchase a backcountry camping reservation and have a tent pad guaranteed for you before leaving home. As there is no cellular coverage in Joffre Lakes Park, reservations must be made before arriving at the park.
Backcountry reservations are required for all overnight stays in Joffre Lakes Park. Camping is not available November 15 – April 15 due to avalanche risk.
Off Hwy 99 east of Pemberton, BC on the Duffey Lake Road.
This park is serviced by Parkbus
Did you know Parkbus is an environmentally friendly, affordable transportation service from downtown Vancouver to select BC Parks? To find out more about Parkbus, as well as their routes and schedules, check www.parkbus.ca or contact them at 1-800-928-7101.
Maps and Brochures
Nature and Culture
- Wildlife: Deer, black bears, grizzly bears and mountain goats reside in the area. Pikas may be spotted along the trail. Please use the metal food cache at the campsite to store your food.
- Management Planning Information
- The Visitor Use Management Strategy (VUMS) for Joffre Lakes Park was approved in 2021. The VUMS provides management direction for addressing high visitor use at the park. Through the VUMS public comment process, BC Parks identified several gaps in the management plan direction in the VUMS. BC Parks will address these gaps through an additional management planning process in partnership with Lil’wat Nation and N’Quatqua.
- The 1989 Joffre Lakes Park Master Plan was deemed invalid in 2018 because of misalignment between direction in the plan and the significant increase in visitor use at the park beginning in 2012.
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 leads past three lakes; Lower, Middle and Upper Joffre Lake. 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, five minute, easy walk and there is a nice viewpoint here. If you carry on, the trail becomes steeper, but 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.
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 is narrower and rougher and 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 black flies 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.
Facilities Available at this Park
Pit or Flush Toilets
There are two pit toilets located at the parking lot and one pit toilet at the second lake. Two urine diversion toilets are located at the upper lake, one at the viewpoint and one at the camping area. Bring your own toilet paper.
Camping is permitted only within the designated campground at Upper Joffre Lake, a 5.5 km moderate to challenging hike from the parking lot. There are 26 backcountry tent pads, one urine diversion toilet, and a bear-proof food storage unit. The small gravel tent pads are located on the far (south) end of the lake and accommodate small backcountry tents. The campground fills quickly on weekends so it's best to make reservations ahead of time. Camping and reservation fees are in effect June 1, 2019 and year-round thereafter.
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.
Reservations are required from June 1, 2019 and year-round thereafter. Thank you for your support!
The BC Parks reservations system allows you to purchase a backcountry camping reservation and have a tent pad guaranteed for you before leaving home. As there is no cellular coverage in Joffre Lakes Park, reservations are required before arriving at the park.