Joffre Lakes in June Whistler Area Hiking Trails
Joffre Lakes in Joffre Lakes Provincial Park is one of the best, moderately easy hikes around. The trail is well worn and easy to follow, doesn't climb too quickly, and is fairly short at just 5.5k to the end of the trail at the third lake. The third lake is the final destination for most hikers to Joffre Lakes Park but there are routes that continue much farther into the wilderness from the third lake.
There are three Joffre lakes. The first Joffre Lake is seen almost immediately from the trailhead and is a picturesque mountain lake with distant, snow capped mountains all around. The trail continues along the right side of this lake a few dozen metres from its shore.
The second Joffre lake is about 45 minutes into the hike and is very beautiful. The bright, unnatural looking turquoise colour is breathtaking. This is a great place to stop for a rest and take in the view. The resident birds immediately swoop on you if you have any food and will even land on your arm if invited.
You should be able to reach the third and incredibly turquoise third Joffre lake in about 1.5 to 2 hours (from the trailhead). The third lake has several nice, though very rugged places to put up a tent. Most tend to set up camp in between the beautiful third Joffre lake and the monstrously beautiful Matier Glacier. A beautiful waterfall descends from the steep rocks above the lake.
There is a prominent helicopter pad near the third lake as a sobering reminder of how dangerous the area can be. If you are adventurous, skilled and knowledgeable about scrambling and climbing on and around glaciers there is a bonanza waiting for you in Joffre Lakes Park. There are four named glaciers close to the third Joffre lake. Matier Glacier, Anniversary Glacier, Stonecrop Galcier and Tszil Glacier. Beyond Mount Matier there are two more, Twin One and Hartzell.
In early June you will encounter some snow and a blanket of snow at the third Joffre Lakes campsite. In late June, however, the snow should be above the campsite leaving only the lake bitterly cold. There is an outhouse near the campsite and excellent water flowing through the area. The ground is very rocky though, so pack an extra sleeping pad if you intend on camping. The area, despite its remoteness gets busy most summer nights and certainly summer weekends. But in June stays fairly quiet, and most weeknights in June you will have Joffre Lakes to yourself under the stars.
Green Lake Whistler Area Hiking Trails
As a destination in Whistler for hiking, Green Lake goes almost entirely unnoticed. A remarkable fact considering the extraordinary array of both established and unestablished trails running, seemingly endlessly throughout the edges of this massive lake. Any trails you do find are only ever used by bikes or the occasional fisherman. There are three reasons for the huge number of trails running around the lake.
First, the lake and its surrounds are beautiful, sensationally beautiful. Second, there once was a small town that existed on the far side of Green Lake for decades called Parkhurst. Now a ghost town consisting of just a few crumbling structures and ancient curiosities. The third reason is the nature of the forest around the lake. It is incredibly dry. The trees, the ground. Much of the surrounding forest is comprised of scattered, large trees over beautiful hillsides with a dry feeling carpet of what looks like moss, and possibly is. This allows for hiking in almost any direction and a wonderful surface to put up a tent.
The well used biking and hiking trail, the Green Lake Loop runs in a wide arch from Lost Lake in Whistler to the far end of Green Lake all the way to the Highway 99 turnoff to Wedgemount Lake. This trail, if you were to do it in its entirety is 15k one way, and not terribly exciting, which, evidently why it is generally considered a bike trail. A more interesting and beautiful way to get into the trails of Green Lake is to park near the bridge at Green River near the Highway turnoff to Wedgemount Lake and hike to Green Lake along the 6k trail that runs near the train tracks and eventually leads to Parkhurst.
Exploring the hiking trails around Green Lake is possibly best done by canoe or kayak. There is a convenient boat launch and dock just off Highway 99 at Summer Lane opposite the entrance to the neighbourhood of Emerald (about 8 minutes north of Whistler - look for the "boat launch" sign on your right on Highway 99). Once on the lake paddling you can easily park up at numerous exit points on both sides of the lake near this boat launch and disappear into the vast wilderness around Green Lake. For more info and directions to the Green lake trails by canoe or by foot look here..
Cheakamus Lake Whistler & Garibaldi Park Hiking Trails
Cheakamus Lake is an incredible lake to hike to. The trail is beautiful and relaxing as it meanders through a forest of huge, old growth trees. The smell of the giant cedars fills the air and the distant sound of Cheakamus River fills the otherwise pure silence of the forest. In June the 8k gravel road is free of snow enough to drive to the trailhead. From the trailhead it is just 3k to the beginning of Cheakamus Lake and the first set of campgrounds. The campgrounds are beautifully laid out in that they sink into the surroundings and in fact are hard to spot (there are 10 tent sites). Aside from the noticable apparatus to hang food out of reach of bears and the visible outhouses, you would possibly not even notice that this is a campground.
A further, and considerably more beautiful 3k along the trail gets you to the second campsite (7 tents sites) which is similarly beautiful and understated. This is the end of the maintained trail, but if you are keen to explore more, the trail continues further into the wilderness. Aside from several fallen trees across the trail this unmaintained part of the Cheakamus Lake trail is easy to hike and well worth a look. It leads you to dozens of small pocket beaches that are wonderfully sun drenched all hours of the day due to their perfect south facing directions. Don't look for trails to these beaches as this area is so rarely hiked that these spots don't even have worn paths, but most are just steps from the main (unmaintained) trail.
There is a charge for overnight camping at Cheakamus, $10 adult, $5 children. Payable online here.. Or you can pay with cash in the drop box at the parking lot/trailhead. This money goes into paying for the exceptional, though underfunded parks service who maintain Garibaldi Park to an amazingly high standard.
The Cheakamus Lake trail is an excellent hike suitable for all. Due to it's minimal elevation gain/loss and easy, wide gait, the trail is perfect for kids, though you'd have trouble pushing a baby stroller over the innumerable, huge tree roots.
Though you will almost certainly see a bear at some point either on the trail or the 8k gravel road to Cheakamus Lake you shouldn't let that worry you. The Whistler area bears are very timid and at first sight or sound of you coming they will lazily amble into the trees and continue munching on grass or berries. Be cautious though and try to keep your distance from them and give them a chance to move away from you. Take a look at the excellent BC Parks information on bears if you want more info.
Cheakamus Lake is well known for its fishing, so if you like to fish, remember to bring your rod along to go with your picnic. Also, the swimming, though very cold is wonderful and refreshing. The water is strikingly clear in Cheakamus Lake and the small beaches have nice, smooth rocks and pebbles to walk on. If you want to carry a canoe or kayak to the lake be prepared for the 3k hike. It's a long way to carry a boat, though you do see the occasional canoe/kayak on the trail, though usually with a wheel apparatus to assist in the portage.
The Cheakamus Lake trail is also the starting point for the Helm Creek Campground trail. The Helm Creek trail splits off of the Cheakamus Lake trail at 1.5k from the trailhead/parking lot and takes you steeply up into the mountains toward Black Tusk, Panorama Ridge, Garibaldi Lake and quite a lot more. This trail to Helm Creek is buried in snow and hard to follow and hike for most of June, but if you attempt it make sure you have snowshoes and a GPS or good map skills. And if you do make it to Helm Creek or beyond in June the place will be deserted and spectacular. You will have this wonderful part of the world to yourself.
Taylor Meadows Campground Whistler & Garibaldi Park Hiking Trails
Taylor Meadows is a wonderful campsite area roughly in between Black Tusk and Garibaldi Lake in Garibaldi Park. In June the trail is packed with snow at least on the upper reaches of the trail so you would want snowshoes to avoid post holing for much of the way.
Garibaldi Park is breathtaking anytime of the year, but in June it is particularly beautiful. The ground is covered in a metre or more of snow, the trees bright green, the sky blue and the days long and warm. An unusual feeling to be hiking on snow in t-shirt weather and daylight that stretches almost to 10pm. Sleeping under the stars and waking to the starkly contrasting black, Black Tusk, visible so clearly and closely to your camp in Taylor Meadows is really something.
Taylor Meadows is wonderfully positioned near a crossroads. Go one way leads to Black Tusk and Panorama Ridge. Go another way and you end up at the surreal, bright, unnaturally looking, turquoise Garibaldi Lake.
Though it is only 7.5k from the trailhead to Taylor Meadows it may take you longer than normal due to the snow. So it may take 2 or 3 hours to reach your campsite. If you are doing a day hike into the area you can do a partial circle route through Taylor Meadows, then right at the crossroads and see Garibaldi Lake on the return journey. There is also a through hiking route if you have transportation at both ends. Starting/finishing at Rubble Creek, hiking to Taylor Meadows, then continuing on through to Helm Creek and exiting at the Cheakamus Lake trailhead, 25k from where you started. Which in reverse is the popular trail running race in Whistler called the Rubble Creek Classic, held every year in late summer.
Elfin Lakes in Garibaldi Park Whistler Hiking Trails
Elfin Lakes is an amazing hike in June. With the exception of weekends you will beat the impending summer crowds and have much of the amazing Garibaldi Parks, Diamond Head area to yourself. Early June finally melts the several metres of accumulated snow on the trail and you should have the first couple kilometres snow free, but the rest of the trail will have considerable snow. You will need snowshoes or skis to handle the trail as the hot weather makes the snow slushy and terrible to walk on.
By late June, much of the snow will have melted and the two Elfin Lakes will be breaking out of their six months of their year frozen solid. You would still be very brave to swim in June, but after the 11k hike in 22c weather, any bit of thawed water you encounter invites a dive into.