Joffre Lakes

Upper Joffre Lake

Upper Joffre Lake

Well, what an action packed few days for my weekend this time round.  I managed to squeeze a lot into three days so it will take a couple of posts to re-tell.

I’ll start with our day trip to Joffre Lakes Provincial Park.

A view from the trail

A view from the trail

Joffre Lakes is an awesome trio of glacier lakes about 30km north of Pemberton (it took about an hour to drive from Whistler).  The road is in good condition all the way, however it does get steep and windy in a couple of spots.

The first and lowest of the three lakes

The first and lowest of the three lakes

From the car park it takes a very short time, maybe five minutes to get to the first and lower lake.  A stunning lake offering views of the glacier in the alpine that the third and highest lake lies just beneath.  The trek from the first lake onwards is pretty mellow.  The national parks crew have been upgrading the trail and for 20 minutes or so after the first lake it’s a very smooth path.

The crew have been hard at work

The crew have been hard at work

Eventually the climb gets quite a bit steep and as you ascend you are along side a river that is racing down the slope.  I felt the need to stop and take several photos of this creek.  It was pretty light so it was hard to get the ideal streaming effect.

JL River 2

JL river 1

At one of my photo stops I had a very special moment.  I was trying to get creative and take some tricky angles which meant climbing out on a log over the creek.  I placed my day pack on the river bank, left it there to get my photo and watched in dismay as the event unfolded .  My pack fell perfectly into a rock pool face up and open.  By the time I got back to my bag it had filled up nicely with water.  Pretty much everything in there was soaked, including my baguette and most devastatingly my camera lens which is now sitting next to me in a bag of rice hopefully drying out.  After that stop it was a grumpy climb to the next lake where my mood instantly brightened with the view.

JL Middle Pan

Another stunning lake, offering a cloudy green colour.  The sun kept ducking behind clouds so the lake was constantly changing shades of colour which was a cool effect to see.


JL Middle 2

JL Middle 3

JL Middle L 1

After this lake we made our way to the final lake, along the way we passed some friends from Whistler.  They had spent the night at the third lake, one of whom had a lost a bet and as a result had to swim in the lake.  Apparently it was extremely cold and not the best bet to have lost.

Along the way to the third lake, the trail takes a new path past an incredible waterfall.  The water crashes down from the upper to middle lake and it is impressive to think of the volume that charges down this section.

JL upper fall

The third and upper lake is simply stunning.  Situated right below Matier Glacier, it offers dramatic views of said glacier and beautiful views over the lake and down the valley.  A truly tremendous hike that only took us two and a bit hours with many stops for photos and special, idiotic moments.


Upper Joffre Lake with a view of the Matier Glacier


The upper lake looking down the valley

JL UL MG Panish

Another angle of the Matier Glacier


The hike down was quick and fun.  We passed several more friends on the way down.  This hike is definitely one of the most popular in the area as it is relatively simple and possible to do in a few hours or as an over night trip.


Stay tuned for the post on the final two days of my weekend.  I was lucky enough to get to a truly incredibly spot!

Sneak Preview

Sneak Preview


4 responses to “Joffre Lakes

  1. Stunning! Unbelievable photography of this beautiful planet of ours

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