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Backcountry camping

Camping is permitted only within the designated campground at Upper Joffre Lake, a 5.5km moderate-to-challenging hike from the parking lot. There are 26 backcountry tent pads, one urine diversion toilet, and a bear-proof food storage unit. The small gravel tent pads are located on the far (south) end of the lake and accommodate small backcountry tents. 

Reservations are required year-round. The  backcountry permit registration service allows you to purchase a backcountry camping reservation and have a tent pad guaranteed for you before leaving home. As there is no cellphone coverage in Joffre Lakes Park, you must make your reservation before arriving at the park.

Help keep the park pristine by practicing Leave No Trace camping. Pack out what you pack in and take it home with you. There is no garbage pick-up in the park. 

Campfires are prohibited year-round.

Accessibility information

Accessibility information is available about the parking lot toilets at Joffre Lakes Park.

Pit or flush toilets

There are two pit toilets located at the parking lot and one pit toilet at Middle Lake. Two urine diversion toilets are located at Upper Lake, one at the viewpoint and one at the camping area. Bring your own toilet paper.


Only experienced and well-prepared mountaineers should attempt mountain climbing or venture onto glaciers and snow fields. 

The trail from the parking lot leads past three lakes: Lower, Middle, and Upper Joffre Lakes. Elevation gain from the parking lot to Upper Joffre Lake is approximately 400m. For your own safety and the preservation of the park, obey posted signs and keep to designated trails.

The viewpoint at Lower Joffre Lake is just an easy, five-minute walk from the parking lot. If you carry on, the trail becomes steeper, but the more challenging trek to Middle and Upper Joffre lakes is well worth the reward: a sweeping view of rugged peaks, icefields, and cold, rushing streams beneath the Matier Glacier.

Continuing on from Lower Joffre Lake, the trail winds upward through old-growth forests of hemlock and spruce and along talus slopes. At Middle Joffre Lake, you’ll want to stop to photograph the scene in front of you. The lake’s pristine turquoise waters are fringed by sub-alpine forest and backed by rugged Coast Mountain scenery.

The final stretch of the hike is narrower and rougher and brings you to the largest and perhaps most stunning of the three lakes, Upper Joffre Lake. Here you stand beneath the frozen cascade of Matier Glacier, with a fine vantage of the 2,721m (8,927ft) Joffre Peak.

In the warm afternoon sun you can hear the thunderous crashing of ice as it calves from the glacier and rockfall from the slopes above. Because of the instability of glacial terrain, scrambling upslope to get a closer view is not recommended.

Be sure to take insect repellent, as mosquitoes and black flies are often present.

Pack out your garbage and take it home with you. There is no garbage pick-up in the park.


Anyone fishing or angling in British Columbia must have an appropriate licence.


All climbing opportunities are classified as mountaineering. They should only be attempted by experienced and properly equipped mountaineers.

Winter recreation
  • Backcountry skiing and snowshoeing opportunities are available. 
  • Be prepared for coastal winter weather, which can change rapidly, affecting visibility and travel conditions. If venturing into avalanche terrain, you must be properly equipped with, and experienced in the use of, avalanche safety gear. 
  • The parking lot is cleared periodically throughout the winter by a highway maintenance contractor. It may not be cleared when you arrive. Please do your best to park off the highway (shoveling may be required), and allow clearing equipment to access the lot.