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Drive to Joffre Lakes Provincial Park

Houston, Texas
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Drive to Joffre Lakes Provincial Park

My husband and I planned a last minute trip to Canada. We are visiting from Houston, TX. We will be in Whistler on June 13-15 and wanted to visit Joffre Lakes Provincial Park on June 14, 2018. I’ve been unsuccessful at finding a ride there and back, nor have I been able to find a guided tour. My last option seems to be renting a car however neither of us have any experience driving in mountains. I’ve read it’s steep curvy roads and people have mentioned burning out brakes. Is this drive recommended for someone like us? Any advice?

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Canada
Canada
North America
Houston
Houston
Texas Gulf Coast, TX
Whistler
Whistler
British Columbia, Canada
Joffre Lakes Provincial Park
Joffre Lakes Provincial...
420 Reviews
Pemberton, Canada
9 replies to this topic
Vancouver, Canada
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1. Re: Drive to Joffre Lakes Provincial Park

The road from Whistler to Joffre Lakes trailhead is not going to burn any brakes. The highway east of that toward Lillooet has steep and curving sections. The highway is engineered well, goes through valley bottoms for the most part. You do go up and over some hills on the way. I don't think you will get vertigo on this highway. The highway is a highway with mountains all around.

The problem with Joffre Lakes trailhead parking is that it has been "discovered" and everyone and their dog is trying to park at the trailhead parking lot. There has been quite a string of cars parked at the side of the highway for about 1 km or so. Not sure if the RCMP have stepped in. Point is, go early.

It takes an hour: https://goo.gl/maps/sqaU5FJ2WkP2

This is probably the worst part of the road east of Pemberton. You can see the switchback in the insert map, bottom left corner (use a computer) and you can "walk" down the road by clicking on the ghostly chevron on the pavement. Short hops or longer hops, every so often when the image comes into focus.

https://goo.gl/maps/8S1STzaDJSp

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Whistler
Whistler
British Columbia, Canada
Pemberton
Pemberton
British Columbia, Canada
Vancouver-by-the-Sea
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for British Columbia
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2. Re: Drive to Joffre Lakes Provincial Park

You'll need to take your own parking spot make sure you buy one small enough to fit in the car but also big enough to park on.

(You'll see what I mean when you get there.)

Jasper, Canada
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for Jasper, Jasper National Park, Canadian Rockies
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3. Re: Drive to Joffre Lakes Provincial Park

There are some steep grades coming back towards Pemberton (or Whistler) from Joffre Lakes ... as I recall, there is at least one section with a 13% grade, others with 11%. You definitely want to gear down if you can (some automatic transmissions can do this) to go easy on your brakes. Even so, when we drove this section of road (twice, once to get to Whistler from Lillooet, and then to Joffre Lakes and back to Whistler), there was a definite brake odor.

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Pemberton
Pemberton
British Columbia, Canada
Whistler
Whistler
British Columbia, Canada
Nanaimo, Canada
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4. Re: Drive to Joffre Lakes Provincial Park

I'll be there just after you leave, otherwise I would offer you a ride!

We will be doing the hike on a Tuesday, and really hoping to get a parking spot by being there early in the morning. Just a half hour drive for us though, so I truly hope that we have no issues with the weather, or the parking.

Houston, Texas
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5. Re: Drive to Joffre Lakes Provincial Park

Ok, this is a relief. How early should we arrive to avoid problems with parking?

Houston, Texas
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6. Re: Drive to Joffre Lakes Provincial Park

When you mention gearing down, is this something that I wouldn’t have to worry about with automatic transmission vehicles? I ask because I only know how to drive automatic transmission and that would be what we would be renting.

Penticton, Canada
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7. Re: Drive to Joffre Lakes Provincial Park

the trick for not burning brakes is to not have your foot on the brake all the time - Brake hard so that you slow down 20-40 km/hr then let it run with your foot off the brakes and only brake again when you gain the 20 km/hr

mosts cars have 6 to 8 speed transmissions. 1 is for up to 20 km 2 for up to 40 etc... and gear down before rather then panicking in the middle of a curve so you do not set it to 1st gear my mistake you do not want to leave in D all the time.

Best to practice before you get to the curves.

Edited: 10 June 2018, 09:28
Jasper, Canada
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8. Re: Drive to Joffre Lakes Provincial Park

I have a Toyota RAV4 SUV with automatic transmission ... but it also has gears I can use manually, instead of "D" ... 4, 3, 2 and 1. It's similar to gearing down with a manual transmission, except there is no clutch and you don't *have* to gear down, but doing so helps control your speed without riding on your brakes the whole way down.

Vancouver, Canada
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9. Re: Drive to Joffre Lakes Provincial Park

If you don't habitually gear down in your automatic, its a good thing to know.

https://youtu.be/FDD8x1C4RAU

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