British Columbians are spoilt for choice when it comes to hiking. Despite this, Joffre Lakes is one of the few that you’ll want to do over and again. The glacial-fed lakes are a vivid turquoise-blue and are surrounded by spectacular mountains and tall evergreen trees.
The beauty of Joffre Lakes is that it offers something for every level of fitness. After 5 minutes you reach the first of three glacial fed lakes. Due to the short distance to the first lake, it can be enjoyed even for those with little time to spare. Even better, bring some floaties and a few drinks and you can lay back and relax.
The trail continues up the valley towards the second lake. The trail is a mix of flatter sections and steeper climbs, but the trail is wide and well-made. It takes 1 to 1.5 hours to reach the second lake, which is more beautiful and scenic than the first. You follow the trail around the lake, with multiple stops available to dip your feet in the chilly waters, stop for a snack, or walk out on a log into the lake. If you had to turn back here, you would be more than satisfied with the experience.
After the second lake, the trail deteriorates and is a little rougher (it’s still accessible, but not as easy as the nicely benched trail experienced so far). It takes roughly another hour to reach the third lake. The third and final lake is the most spectacular. There are rocks you can climb down to sit next to the lake and eat your lunch. One of the glaciers that feeds the lake is sitting in the backdrop, with a steady-flowing waterfall as the ice melts.
The trail continues around to the far side of the lake, which caters to a camping area. It’s not necessary to walk around to the campsite, as the views don’t get much better. If you are daring you can swim in the water, but it is very cold all year-round. In total it takes about 5 hours to do the return trip. Spring is a nice time to complete the hike, as there will still be snow on the mountain tops. In the summer months, watch out for wild fires in the area.