Blue skies and sunshine turn girls' thoughts to spring-time pleasures... like summertime hikes. While I'm all for exploring the lesser knowns, some hikes are justifiable popular - and Joffre Lakes is one of them.
A lot of the hikes with big mountain peaks and turquoise waters require some gear for an overnight, or some stamina for a really big day, but Joffre is delightfully accessible. That does mean it's really busy in the summer months, but it's still worthwhile.
The biggest challenge with Joffre is getting there - it's 3+ hours from Vancouver, but a great choice if you're spending the weekend in Pemberton or Whistler.
Park off Duffey Lake road, hit the trail, and within minutes you'll come to the first lake - whaaaaaat. Don't stop though, there are better sights to be seen.
You've got another 30 minutes along the lake and through the forest until you hit a boulder field, cross that and follow Joffre Creek up a fairly steep section to hit the second lake (Middle Joffre Lake, the names here are less inspiring than the views).
Switchback up some rocks and within half an hour you'll see Upper Joffre Lake. This freezing lake is a beautiful turquoise, and surrounded by peaks and glaciers. Wander over to the glacier, or stop anywhere along the banks for a break. Some people (read: Mat) will always be crazy enough to jump in the water, but just know it is quite literally GLACIAL.
Bonus: camping at Upper Joffre Lake! We've only ever done this as a daytrip, but it's quite popular for overnights too - and waking up to those turquoise waters would be a treat. Just don't expect to be alone.
The Joffre Lake trail is dog-friendly, but dogs must be kept on a leash at all times.
This hike is also popular as a snowshoe, though I've never attempted it. It's on the list, so will report back asap.
Time: 5 hours
Distance: 11 KM
Elevation gain: 400 M
Driving time from Vancouver: 3+ hours
Difficulty: A challenging easy
Worth-It Factor: 9.5/10