Two weekends ago, we went on a much needed getaway to Whistler, BC. It is only about an 1:45 away from us but we don't visit often enough. We don't ski or snowboard but you don't need to do either to enjoy what Whistler has to offer. There are lots of other activities to enjoy, whether that be relaxing at a spa, dining at on of the many restaurants or hitting the slopes. There is also an abundance of beautiful hiking trails in Whistler and the surrounding areas.
Joffre Lakes is a hike I had been hearing about for a long time. The photos I had seen on social media just blew me away and I had to see this place for myself! It is not actually in Whistler, but about an hour north, near the town of Pemberton. We weren't sure if it would be wise to do this with a 15 month old, especially as it was off season but I contacted Instagram users that had hiked it the day before we were planning to hike (by searching the hash tag #JoffreLakes) to see what the conditions were like and to get some advice on whether it would be appropriate to hike it with a baby. We brought our hiking backpack along just in case and decided to wait til our second day in Whistler to see how we felt about tackling this hike.
The second day arrived and we were exhausted from a 15 month old keeping us up all night. Since we had brought the hiking backpack and all our active wear (and had even scrambled to a sporting goods store the night before heading to Whistler to get the hubby some proper footwear), we decided we may as well put it to use and hike, despite our tiredness (hey, we're used to it by now..sort of). We bundled up and off we went.
When we arrived at the parking lot, we were surprised to see only about 8 cars there. I recalled seeing a video from a couple months prior on how busy the hike was and how horrendous the parking situation was and that the only available spots to park were 2-3km away. It was 9:15am and we thought maybe it would get busier later on. It was also low season. We didn't mind at all that we could park right next to the entrance!!
We geared up and photographed the birds that loiter around waiting for hikers to feed them and then began our hike.
The main features of Joffre Lakes Provincial Parks are the three glacial fed lakes. We were told that the Lower lake is nice but it does not compare to the Middle and Upper lakes and we were excited to see what all the excitement was about. The Lower lake was not far after the beginning of the hike, maybe about 5 minutes into it, if that. It was beautiful but we took our photos and hurried along as we were still trying to warm up (we weren't as prepared for the cold weather as we should have been and it was starting to lightly snow).
The hike to the Middle Lake took us about an hour to get to from the Lower Lake. It was pretty much all an incline but pretty gradual except for a few steep parts.
Everyone we had talked to was right. The Middle Lake was just GORGEOUS! It was breathtaking and it wasn't even a clear day. Photos definitely don't do this place justice but here is a photo from the Middle Lake. Notice the snowflakes (or perhaps those were snowflake drops on my lens)!
A signpost said the Upper Lake was about a half hour past the Middle Lake. It began to get very muddy which we were told it would from those that I had contacted on Instagram. Lennon was getting a bit fussy so we were distracting him with snacks on the way up and taking our time as I was being cautious with my footing. After about 40 minutes we began to see glimpses of the Upper Lake.
It seemed like it was right there but we still had to hike around some trees and rocks to get to it. We weren't sure if we were going the right way as we got to an area that wasn't a path but, rather, some really big rocks. We decided to tackle the rocks as it seemed like the only way to go. As we got closer to the lake we saw hikers at the top of the rocks but then they disappeared so we figured we maybe missed the trail. We got to an opening that let us walk up to the lake and WOW! It was just amazing. So beautiful. But also very cold!
We decided it would be best to turn around and head back down at this point as the snow was coming down and we weren't getting any warmer. It started to clear up a bit on our way back.
The hike took us 3.5 hours round trip. We got to the Upper Lake but not sure how much further it would have been had we found the right trail (and this is assuming we weren't on the right trail). I would allow 4 hours just to be safe. We did do it with a baby on our back so perhaps it could be even quicker! Even though it wasn't a very clear day, this was such a beautiful hike. I can't even imagine how awesome it must be in the summertime! Photos don't do it justice though so be sure to add this to your bucket lists!
This was the longest hike we had done with Lennon and he did really well. On the way up he was super excited and talking a lot and learning new words (rock, tree, water...). He got a bit fussy just after the Middle Lake but having snacks was really helpful. I didn't even need to take him out of the carrier. He fell asleep on the way down for about 20 minutes. It was a lot of fun taking him up. The plan was that I would carry him on the way up and Perry would carry him on the way down but I was comfortable and I didn't feel like stopping to switch up so I carried him the whole way. All 21 lbs of him and 6.5lbs of the carrier! He wasn't sat very well as he was leaning so that he could see better (he doesn't want to miss anything)! I felt fine but when we got to the car and I took off the carrier, I really felt the tension! Maybe it wasn't the brightest idea but I feel fine now! I am looking forward to taking him on more hikes. He is definitely a fan of being out in the wilderness and I don't blame him!
What other hikes should we add to our bucket lists?!
I leave you with some more photos from our adventure at Joffre Lakes! Enjoy!