[Based on hiking conditions in late September]
Just a the three hour drive into BC’s backyard is the start of the Joffre Lakes hike, which is probably the hike of the year considering how many photos of Joffre Lakes you’ll find on social media (#joffrelakes). And as this post is titled, Joffre Lakes does live up to all that it’s hyped up to be. The hike consists of a lower, middle and upper lake, each one offering stunning views of their own. The Upper lake was my favourite of the three because it was unlike anything I’d seen before. It’s not everyday you get to be surrounded by glaciers and water so piercing and turquoise blue. It will take you approximately four to five hours to hike to the Upper lake and hike back down (10km in total). Since the hike up consists primarily of uphill terrain, your hike down will be easier. Along the way up, there’s lots of beautiful nature and scenery, which makes it a more enjoyable hike. Those who have been can’t forget the majestic waterfall or the viewpoints by the mountainside that look like they came straight out of a Game of Thrones scene.
If you live in BC, maybe you’ve seen photos on one of your social feeds of the widely popular log sitting on the turquoise blue waters. It was a snowy, rainy and foggy when we went, but you get the point:
Waiting for you at the Upper lake is an unreal view of glacial peaks towering over the turquoise blue lake. Fortunately for us, the weather cleared up by the time we arrived at the Upper lake, so we got to take in views like this:
Keep in mind that it’s past the ideal season to hike at Joffre Lakes (season is from May/June to September), but here are some tips on things I can recommend for the next time you take on this hike.
Wake up early
With the days growing shorter and because it takes three hours to drive there and back, you’ll want to wake up early so you can finish the hike with it still being bright out. By early, I mean leaving the house and being on the road around 6:30 or 7am.
Have winter tires on your car
We went to Joffre Lakes near the end of September, and along the highways, we saw signs that said to have winter tires on your car starting October 1. It’s up to you whether you want to take that advice or not, but if you’re going winter hiking, you’ll probably want winter tires or a very reliable vehicle for your own safety.
Wear layers /Be prepared for snow
It was about a month ago that I hiked Joffre Lake, and at that time it was already very cold to the point where it started to snow! Fortunately, as I’d mentioned, it stopped once we reached the Upper lake, and the sun even came out. The reason I’d recommend bringing and wearing layers is because the forecast called for a sunny day in Pemberton, but to our surprise, we were hit with rain, snow and cold weather. With layers, you can either take them off or put them on when you’re able to accurately gauge how the weather will really be at the start of the hike.
Bring snacks for the hike
This seems like a simple thing to remember, but many people forget to bring food to eat when they set out on a hike. Just make sure not to over-pack otherwise your bag will be a pain to carry! I’d recommend trailmix, apples, bananas, peeled oranges, berries, and plenty of water.
Wear old shoes or ideally, hiking boots
Since it was raining and snowing a bit during the hike, the ground was soft, wet and muddy. This was prior to me buying hiking boots, so unfortunately, my newest Asics runners got muddy though I tried as much as possible to avoid and tip toe through mud and rain puddles. It was after this hike that I invested in a pair of durable Timberland hikers. I’d suggest wearing hiking boots especially now that the weather is getting colder, rainier, and the grounds are getting soggier. Or if you don’t have a pair of hiking boots, wear older shoes that you’re okay with getting a bit dirty, depending on the weather conditions the day of your hike.
As with most hikes, the views were incredible and just breath-taking during the Joffre Lakes hike, especially at the Upper lake. If you can wait, I’d recommend hiking this in summer, when conditions are more ideal, unless you are an experienced winter hiker.