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.
Photo: Door Somers
from Lower Joffre Lake, the glacier-laden peaks are visible from
an easily accessible viewpoint 500 metres from the parking lot.
Evidence of the parkís glacial history can be found in the U-shaped
valleys, glacial silts and lateral moraines.
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.
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
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. Itís 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. Youíll have
to scramble in places where loose soil conditions make for treacherous
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 lakeís 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; youíll begin
looking for shelter from the breeze almost as soon as you arrive
at Upper Joffre.
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.
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.
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 youíll 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.
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.