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The Dog-Friendly Day Hike: Joffre Lakes

I’ve had hikers all the way from Latvia tell me they’ve heard of Joffre Lakes.

The Joffre Lakes trail is a glorious dog-friendly day hike at the foot of some of the region’s most majestic mountain features. You and your canine will hike among Joffre Peak, Matier Glacier and Slalok Mountain.

The moderately difficult hike (11 km round trip; 370 m elevation gain) usually takes about 5 hours, roundtrip. You can access the trailhead from the parking lot just off Duffey Lake Road, 40 minutes north of Pemberton (about 30 minutes north of Whistler).

 

In the summer months, you’ll enjoy spectacular views of towering peaks and glacial waters. It’s called Joffre Lakes in the plural because you pass by three turquoise alpine lakes. Have more than a day? Camp at the top. It’s the ideal hike for introducing backpacking to a moderately fit friend. There’s more than enough daylight during the summer to get to the top and set up before night falls.

Winter at Joffre Lakes is a joy too. The snow settling gently on the lakes with the peaks capped in white leave me transfixed every time. Bring snowshoes, cross-country skis, or alpine touring gear.

Be prepared for the weather. You’re in the mountains so make sure you have snow tires. Taking a 4×4 with chains is not a bad idea. Leave early and give yourself plenty of time.

 

The dinner stop

On the way home, stop at the Mile One Eating House in Pemberton. Like they say, a hard-earned hunger deserves good, clean food. Mile One has some of the best gourmet burgers around. A note: Fido can’t come into the restaurant, but you can take a doggy bag for the leftovers.

 
The logistics
Trail: Joffre Lakes

Duration: 5 hours round-trip

Elevation gain: 370m

Driving directions: Take Highway #99 (the Sea-to-Sky Highway) north past Pemberton.

Drive towards the town of Mt. Currie. Turn right at the intersection with the sign for Lillooet. Climb a steep hill and watch for signs to Joffre Lakes parking lot.

For more information, check out the Vancouver Trails description of Joffre Lakes.