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Joffre Lake Camping – What to Know before Visiting?

You may have seen numerous viral Instagram posts about the beautiful blue glacial-fed lakes of Joffre lakes provincial park. Joffre lake camping is a famous hiking trail in British Columbia, Canada.

This renowned spot offers you an adventurous hiking trail, amazing lakes with turquoise blue waters, alpine terrain, and campgrounds amid the beautiful Joffre Lakes provincial parking lot.

So, if you would love to visit Joffre lakes provincial park and experience the surreal blue lakes, we are here to guide you with everything related to Joffre lake camping and hiking. We ensure you this guide will help you with every possible doubt you might have.

1. About Joffre Lakes Provincial Park

Joffre lakes provincial park is a provincial park located near Pemberton in British Columbia, Canada. It has three lakes: lower, middle, and upper Joffre lakes. You can visit Joffre lake year-round, but in the winter you would only see frozen lakes covered with snow.

joffre lake camping
Photo by Soubhik Chakrabarti on Unsplash

1.1 Activities in Joffre Lakes Provincial Park

If you are a thrill-seeking individual then Joffre lakes provincial park has a lot to offer you.

You get an amazing Joffre lakes trail, a Joffre lakes camping experience, mountaineering, winter recreation (backcountry skiing and snowshoeing opportunities exist), wildlife viewing, and fishing in the Joffre lakes.

1.2 Facilities in Joffre Lakes Provincial Park

Visiting Joffre lakes and being in the wilderness, the Joffre lakes provincial park provides few facilities for visitors’ ease. It offers walk-in/backcountry/camping/wilderness camping. For accessing this facility you need to reserve a backcountry camping permit.

Joffre Lakes Provincial Park Solo Hike & Camp

It also provides pit or flush toilets. There are many pit toilets located at various parts of the Joffre lakes.

It has two pit toilets located at the parking lot and one is located at the second lake. It has one urine diversion toilet at the viewpoint of the upper lake and another at the camping area of the upper lake.

1.3 Directions to Reach Joffre Lakes Provincial Park

Via Car: To reach Joffre lakes provincial park, you have to take the Sea to Sky highway to Pemberton junction. From there, just follow the signboards toward Mount Currie. After a distance of a few km, take a right turn on Duffey lake road. After approx 20km on Duffey lake road, you will start seeing the Joffre Lakes parking lot signs. This is where the Joffre lakes trailhead starts.

We Found a HIDDEN SPOT in The Busiest Hiking Trail in Canada: Joffre Lakes // Nat and Max

Via Bus: Parkbus offers bus services to many bc parks: Garibaldi provincial park, Golden Ears provincial park, and Joffre lakes provincial park. It departs from downtown Vancouver near Burrard Skytrain station with a stop in whistler village.

1.4 Parking for Joffre Lakes Provincial Park

Joffre lakes provincial park has a parking space with three parking lots: the Main parking lot, the Cayoosh parking lot, and the Overflow parking lot. The Cayoosh parking lot is farthest from the main entrance for hiking Joffre lakes. The Main and the overflow parking lots get full as soon as 9 am.

Pro tip– Reach Joffre lake provincial park or Joffre lakes trailhead parking before 8 am to get a parking space. Avoid parking on the highway if you don’t want your car to be towed.

1.5 Pass to Visit Joffre Lakes

You need a free day-use pass to visit Joffre lakes provincial park from July to October. The pass gives you access to only hiking Joffre lakes for a day.

1.6 Restrictions and Prohibitions

No campfire symbol
Photo by ZoranPhotographer from Depositphotos

Prohibited- Campfires, Harvesting of natural resources, and domestic animals. Camping is only allowed in the designated camping area.

1.7 Geology of Joffre Lakes

You might be wondering why the Joffre lakes are so crystal clear turquoise blue! Well, let us tell you the geological reason behind the Joffre lakes being so blue.

The main reason for Joffre lakes’ blue color is the rock flour or the glacial silt at the bottom of the lakes which throws the blue and green wavelengths of sunlight that appear turquoise blue to us.

joffre lake camping
Photo by Karine Germain on Unsplash

1.8 History of Joffre Lakes Provincial Park

Joffre Lakes Recreational Area was established in 1988 and gained the status of a Provincial Park in 1997 and became another British Columbia park. It became popular after the new Duffey lake road was opened and turned into a section of highway 99(the Sea to Sky Highway).

1.9 Mountains in the Joffre Lakes Provincial Park

Joffre Lakes Provincial Park includes not only three mesmerizing lakes but also many mountains. The mountains that come under the region of Joffre lakes provincial park are

a) Joffre Peak.

b) Mount Matier.

c) Mount Taylor.

d) Mount Howard.

e) Mount Hartzell.

f) Mount Spetch.

g) Tszil Mountain.

h) Slalok Mountain.

2. Hiking Trails for Joffre Lake Camping

To reach the Joffre peak and stay at the Joffre lake camping grounds, you have to hike the three Joffre lakes trails. Joffre lakes day hike can be considered a moderately challenging hike due to the elevated uphill climb.

This short trail is one of the famous hiking trails of bc parks, all thanks to the beautiful glacial-fed lakes of Joffre.

Along the way to this trailhead, you will be able to visit the three lakes: first lake- lower lake, second lake- middle lake, and third lake- upper lake.

You also get to witness creek crossings, waterfalls, mountain goats, and viewpoints of the beautiful surroundings. At the top of the hike, you get a view of the glacier.

Joffre lake camping
Photo by Erika on Unsplash

2.1 How Far is This Hike?

The hike for Joffre lake camping is a 9.2km(round-trip) long hike that takes about 4-5 hours. The hike starts after a 5 minutes walk from the main parking lot, where you can visit the first lake.

The second lake(the middle lake) comes after a hike of almost 2 hours from the lower lake. The third lake(upper lake) comes after 2.75 hours of hiking. Let’s know more about each Joffre lake.

2.2 Hike for Lower Joffre Lake

Lower Joffre lake is the first lake you will encounter after a few minutes of your hiking trail.

It is a great spot for a family picnic with an easily accessible viewpoint, so you can just head back from here also or continue the hike for the middle Joffre lake and the upper Joffre lake.

Lower Joffre lake
Photo by bjoernalberts from Depositphotos

Along the way, you get to experience beautiful soul-refreshing cold rushing streams of waterfalls and creek crossings.

2.3 Hike for Middle Joffre Lake

The hike filled with remote wilderness environment and elevation gain will take you to the most photogenic Joffre lake of the three lakes- the middle Joffre lake.

Middle Joffre lake
Photo by Pierre_Leclerc_Photography from Depositphotos

Here you will see the famous spot for photogenic- a long and slim log floating on this Joffre lake. If you get a chance to click your picture here, be cautious not to fall in the freezing water of the middle of Joffre lake.

2.4 Hike for Upper Joffre lake

After the second lake- middle Joffre lake, you have to pass a slippery and steep trail to reach the last and third lake- upper Joffre lake. It is no doubt a beautiful point to experience breathtaking glacier views with glacier-laden peaks.

The Joffre lake camping grounds are also located near upper Joffre lake. We’ll talk more about the Joffre lake camping (backcountry camping ) in the next point.

Joffre Lakes: the MOST BEAUTIFUL Hike in British Columbia

3. Camping at Joffre Lakes Provincial Park

Backcountry camping is an experience you should not miss if you are in the Joffre lakes provincial park. Joffre lake camping is located near upper Joffre lake.

Camping is only allowed in the designated campgrounds and thus the campground fills quickly as there are a lot of crowds. Let us talk more about Joffre lake camping in detail:

3.1 Reservation for Joffre Lake Camping

A reservation is compulsory if you are planning to stay overnight for Joffre lake camping. You need a camping permit to book a campsite in Joffre lakes.

These campsites are given on a first-come-first-served basis, so you need to confirm a camping reservation as soon as possible(maximum 2 months in advance).

3.2 Camping Grounds at the Joffre Lakes Provincial Park

After a 5.5 km trail, there are a total of 26 Joffre lake camping sites located south of the upper Joffre lake.

DETAILED GUIDE TO JOFFRE LAKES - Commute, Day Pass, Trail guide, Hike details, Cost, Etc

You can find a pit toilet and storage for food which is bear-proof for the visitors’ convenience. These campsites can accommodate small backcountry tents and cannot be used without a camping reservation.

3.3 Essentials You’ll Require for Joffre Lake Camping

While going to Joffre lake camping, you need to bring a few necessities such as

  • Water- You should bring your own drinking water or a water filter as you won’t be finding potable water in the backcountry.
  • Mosquito Repellent or net- You will surely find many mosquitos in the backcountry, so it is better to bring a net or repellent to avoid mosquito bites.
  • Sleeping Pad- Don’t forget to bring a sleeping pad while going to Joffre lake camping.
  • First-aid Items- In case of any emergency, you should be well-prepared to handle it. Bringing basic first-aid items is a good thought to tackle common injuries or sicknesses while hiking or camping.
  • Documents- You should not forget to bring the important documents for the Joffre lake camping. Important documents are your personal ids and slips of camping permit.
  • Gadgets- Imagine coming to beautiful Joffre lakes and not clicking pictures to remember the scenery for your lifetime. To avoid this mistake, you should bring your camera, batteries, and power banks.
  • Cooking Essentials- Bring backcountry stoves and cooking utensils to cook your food at the Joffre lake camping grounds.
  • Toilet Paper- For hygiene purposes, you should bring your own toilet paper with you while going to Joffre lake camping.
  • Bear spray– You are going into the remote wilderness when you decide to go for Joffre lake camping which is prone to bear attacks. So, bringing bear spray is a good thought.
  • Snacks and beverages- You should pack any snack and beverage that is lightweight and easy to carry.
  • Food storage box- The campsites have a bear-proof food storage box, but it’s better to carry your own food storage box to keep it with you.
  • Navigation aids- In extremely remote areas of Joffre lake camping, you need navigation and communication aids such as maps, satellite phones, compass, etc because you can’t rely on your cell phones in such places.
  • Flashlight- For a stay in Joffre lake camping, you should pack a flashlight or headlamp in your backpack.

3.4 Safety Precautions for Joffre Lake Camping

Stunning Joffre lake
Photo by Pierre_Leclerc_Photography from Depositphotos

Joffre lakes provincial park is set in the remote wilderness. So, it is important before going to Joffre lake camping, you should keep the following points in your mind:

a) Emergency services- The Joffre lakes provincial park has no emergency services available. Thus, it is recommended that you bring your own emergency equipment such as a repair box, first aid box, or bear spray.

b) Fire- Campfire or any other kind of fire is not permitted in Joffre lake camping for safety reasons. A place like Joffre lake provincial park which is full of nature and wilderness with coastal winter weather is highly prone to fire hazards. Thus, fire safety is given high attention in Joffre lakes.

c) Winter Season- Although Joffre Lakes Provincial Park is open all year round, it is advised to avoid Joffre lakes trail and Joffre lake camping in winter. The reason is, hiking can be dangerous during winter as there is an avalanche risk. Even the Joffre lakes are frozen so there will be less fun in hiking trails and camping at the Joffre peak.

d) Bear- Grizzly bears and black bears are inhabitants of joffre lakes provincial park, therefore you must be prepared for any worst-case scenario. You should not forget bear spray and a bear-proof food storage bag if you are going to Joffre lake camping.

e) Avalanche Safety gear- If you are planning to visit Joffre lake camping during winter, you mustn’t forget to buy and bring avalanche safety gear as there are high chances of avalanche risk.

3.5 Is Joffre Lake Camping a Crowded Place?

Being one of the famous bc parks, Joffre lake camping is at its peak during the summer season especially from June to August.

The campsites get overflowed with crowds. If you don’t get a campsite then you need to hike back as camping is not allowed without a permit and is not possible if the campsites are already full.

Man hiking at Joffre lake
Photo by kamchatka from Depositphotos

In winter, Joffre lakes are less crowded as the three Joffre lakes are frozen, so you can’t see the blue water of Joffre lakes. Also, winter camping is not open from November to mid-April, so avoid going in the winter for Joffre lake camping.

3.6 Best & Affordable Stays Near the Joffre Lake Camping

If you find the Joffre lake camping sites full, don’t get upset! You can have the camping experience just a few kilometers away from Joffre Lakes Provincial Park.

There are ample options you can choose from. Some of the recommended stays near the Joffre lake camping are mentioned below.

a) Washtock Family Campground.

b) Riverside Resort.

c) Nairn Falls Provincial Campsite.

d) Whispering Falls Resort.

e) Four Seasons Resort.

f) Joffre Creek Cabins.

g) Paradise Valley Campground.

Final Thoughts

Joffre lake camping is a perfect blend of scenic lakes, glacial views, and raw natural vibes. If you are a nature-seeker and love adventure, then Joffre Lakes Provincial Park of Canada must be on your bucket list.

Joffre Lakes Hiking and Camping | Canada

We hope that we have given you enough information regarding Joffre lake camping. Do share your experience if you’ve ever been to Joffre Lakes Provincial Park!

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQs)

1. What is the best time to visit Joffre lakes?

The best time to visit Joffre lakes provincial park is from April to September as in winter the environment becomes too harsh around the peak and avalanche risks are also present. The campsites are also not available during winter.

2. Is swimming allowed in Joffre lake?

Yes, swimming is allowed in Joffre lakes but remember these are glacial-fed lakes, so the water is extremely cold. The ideal time to swim in Joffre lakes is during peak summertime. Also, bring your own swimming suit and towel if you are planning to swim in Joffre lakes.

3. Are there any fees and charges in Joffre Lakes Provincial Park?

There is a fee for a backcountry camping permit in the Joffre lake camping sites but for the Joffre Lake trail, you just need to book a free day-use pass two days prior to your planned date.

4. Can we bring pets to Joffre Lakes Provincial Park?

No, according to the latest guidelines, domestic animals are prohibited from entering the Joffre Lakes Provincial Park.

5. What is the closing and the opening time of Joffre Lakes Provincial Park?

Joffre lakes trail opens at 7 am and closes at 11 pm. So, be sure to reach the joffre lakes provincial park according to the timings.

6. How tough is the Joffre Lakes Hike?

The short trail of Joffre Lakes which is about a hike of 3-3.5 hours can be considered a moderate-level challenging trail.

7. What is the reason behind Joffre Lakes being so famous?

The breathtaking glacier views, moderately challenging trails, and beautiful blue lakes make the joffre lakes provincial park so famous and popular among hikers and nature lovers.

8. Is there a parking facility at Joffre lakes trailhead?

Yes, Joffre Lakes trail has a parking facility. It has three parking lots, namely, the main parking lot(closest), the cayoosh parking lot(farthest), and the overflow parking lot. Avoid parking on the highway unless your car can be towed. The parking lots get full quite early, so try reaching here early in the morning.

Last Updated on March 4, 2023 by Janhavi Ramesh Kowligi