We almost turned back before finding Joffre Lakes Provincial Park and I couldn't be happier we didn't let our lack of a map or GPS keep us from this beautiful place. At just about an hours drive north of Whistler, through some rather rural country, the hike past the three lakes may be one of my favorite trails yet. I'm sure hiking it in mid April may have had something to do with that - it's really hard to beat a blue bird day making your way up through a winter wonderland to some fabulous glacial views.
The trail to Upper Joffre Lake is 10 kilometers round trip with about 400 meters of elevation gain. In the spring months, when snow is still covering the trail, the route can easily be found by following little orange markers on the trees. It's an easy five minute walk to Lower Joffre Lake, however after that there are some extremely steep sections of trail. YakTrax (or something similar) and at least one snowshoeing pole are essential for hiking this route when it's covered in snow. We did even detour slightly off trail to walk near the creek for part of the climb up because it was so steep and icy on the main trail. And on the way down, I spent a good chunk of the trail carefully sliding down on my bum.
Plan to spend some extra time in awe when you reach Upper Joffre Lake - the views around the lake basin are stunning. I could have spent hours staring up at the Matier Glacier and the snowy landscape.