Camping in Joffre Lakes Provincial Park
Camping at Joffre Lakes was one of the highlights of my summer. The three glacier-fed lakes are tucked in the mountains 3 hours outside of Vancouver. There are some places you almost cannot believe are real and this definitely one of them.
When To Go
Best time to camp is in the summer between June - September. Camping is possible in the winter, but not recommended as this is an avalanche area!
What Not To Miss On The Way There
From Vancouver follow the sea to sky highway. As the highway can become very busy mid-day I suggest getting up early and stopping at Fergies in Paradise Valley for breakfast. Their beautiful space is located in the woods next to the Cheakamus River. Breakfast is served under a canopy of trees in a grassy patch dotted with picnic tables. It's one of my favorite spots in all of the West Coast!
What Not To Forget
A couple things I am happy I brought that I can promise you will be too
Ziploc Bags (to keep the deer mice out of your food, but also to keep the scent of your food down aka no bears)
Extra socks (the nights get very cold and Merino wool is best)
Sunscreen (preferably one with zinc in it)
Bathing suit (although it is like jumping into an ice bath, the lakes are really refreshing)
Toque (as we call it in Canada)
Long pants, a wool shirt and down jacket for the night (seriously it gets really cold)
Water purification tablets (while the water is very clean there is the risk of getting the Giardia parasite so water purification is essential to avoid this)
Camping Fees and Permit
For overnight camping at Joffre Lakes, you'll require a backcountry permit. You can get that online here. The ranger does come around and check for these so I recommend having that on hand as you will be asked to leave if you don't have one. Additionally, you'll need to pay for each night of your camping before you enter the trail. The fee is $5.00 per night/person and kids under 6 years are free. There is a board in the parking lot that has all the details and envelopes to collect your cash. When you enter the trail there is a yellow box to drop off your envelope.
Camping is located at the last lake. The hike up takes roughly 2-3 hours depending on your fitness level. Pack light as you will be carrying everything on your back. Hiking boots are an option but not essential but then again don't come in an open toe shoe. Once you arrive the best spot (I call it the Penthouse) is located on a point at the end of the site along the water. You can't miss it. If you have a full day some people hike up to the glacier. It looks close but the round trip takes roughly 5 hours. Please be very careful if you do, most of the hike is a scramble through loose rock.
Everything you pack in needs to be packed out, there are no garbage cans. The site does have an outhouse. There are no cooking areas and you will need to bring a portable stove. Also be sure to check the BC Parks board prior to see if there is a campfire ban in effect. If you're a drone enthusiast like me you'll have to leave it a home for this trip. It is a $5000 fine if you're caught flying a drone in a BC provincial park #lesigh.
Before You Head Home
If you've come in the summer there are many local farmers that sell their produce in Pemberton. You'll take Duffey Lake Road to and from the Joffre Lakes entrance so keep your eyes peeled for a produce stand. I promise you they will have some of the freshest and best produce you'll ever eat. When you exit Duffey Lake Road back onto Highway 99 (to head towards Vancouver) take a right instead and drive 1 minute up the road to the local gas station. The cheapest gas for miles is here!
Joffre Lakes is insanely beautiful, it can also be very busy so if you don't like crowds this is not the hike for you. Don't forget to bring a camera so you can brag to all your friends. ;)
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This Joffre Lakes Camping Guide might come handy..
Hover the image on the left and pin it for later!
Have you been camping at Joffre Lakes? Let me know in the comments below.