Joffre Lakes - Lower Lake

Joffre Lakes


Joffre Lakes Trail is near Pemberton, British Columbia, Canada. The trail head is a two-and-a-half-hour one-way-drive from Vancouver. The lakes are beautiful, and the trail is relatively easy. The trail experiences heavy traffic every day during the hiking season. You will need a free day pass starting in May. The driving distance is probably the only reason that it doesn’t have more people than it currently does. If you don’t want to line up for popular photo spots or park far away, it’s advised to arrive early.

The trail is about 8 km round trip and has elevation gain of about 500 m. It is well maintained. Based on the above description, you probably guess it’s a relatively easy hike. Even if you don’t hike regularly, you can still hike to the upper lake. It might take you a little bit longer, but you will get there.


I mentioned the upper lake because the trail passes through three lakes at three different elevations. The lower lake is literally next to the trail head (ok, it’s probably about 2 hundred meters from the trail head). By looking at the lower lake, you can get a taste of what the middle lake and the upper lake might look like. Most of the elevation gain is between the lower lake and the middle lake. Additionally, you’ll need to hike through an exposed area with no shade, so it’s advised to be sun-wise (use sunscreen or wear a long-sleeve shirt). Distance between the middle lake and the third lake is short, about 40 minutes. There is a waterfall, Holloway Falls, between the middle lake and the upper lake.

There are many rocks/boulders along the upper lake where you can sit down, enjoy the view, and have your snacks. If you’re up for it, you can also take a dip in the ice-cold water. After you have had enough of the view, you can return to the parking lot using the same route you came from.

Once again, the trail is very popular, and some sections are narrow, therefore practicing good hiking etiquette is essential. This trail is one of few in this province that doesn’t allow dogs.

The trail is open year-round. In late fall and winter seasons, you will enjoy a completely different scenery compared to the summer.

If you need a challenge, you can continue to Matier Glacier via Joffre Lakes from the camp site at the upper lake.

Joffre Lakes in winter