Joffre Lakes boasts something for everyone. Joffre Lakes is about an hour out of Whistler. It is definitely a must do trip if you are looking for a shorter day trip with incredible scenery. Bring your camera – if you leave it behind, you will regret it. I've visited the lakes a couple times would love to visit again.
The hike isn't particularly difficult. It has a relatively minor elevation gain of 365m over a 11km round trip. Most of the hiking guides recommend 6hrs. My hunch is that it is overallocated since you don't want to rush out once you get to the third lake. However do keep in mind that it is a hike over varying terrain and you should have adequate footwear, water, etc.
After arriving at the parking lot and gearing up, a very short walk will lead you to the first lake. The first lake can be marvelled by taking a small detour off the main trail to the viewpoint. This area is typically a little busier as it is very accessible by the tourists.
Once you get back on the main trail it begins slowly by working you into the hike over a gentle grade. I enjoy hikes that have varying types of terrain and spectacular scenery - this hike qualifies in both. The terrain begins as gravel, then becomes a dirt trail. About 30 minutes into the trail you get to a boulder field. This is especially fun as you can negotiate the boulders and make your way up the trail. On hot days, the boulders can really heat up... After leaving the boulders you re-enter the forest. The trail steepens but eventually does ease up.
Eventually the trail will descend and cross over the creek. At this point you can start to see views of the second lake and the glacier ahead. You make your way around the second lake on the left hand side. I have seen many hikers turn around at the second lake - what a shame! Although the last part of the trail is a little steep until you hit the lake, it is only really about a 50m climb from the second lake to the third (high point of 1585).
Upon arriving at the third lake you are presented with spectacular views of the Matier Glacier. The third lake is superb. It is the biggest and bluest of the three. Both times I've been up there I saw a number of groups camping on the other side of the lake under the glacier. If you are planning a day hike, I find that staying on the other side of the lake is best as you can have a little peace away from the other hikers. There are plenty of great places to sit, enjoy your lunch, and watch the runoff from the glacier. I've only ever gone around to the camping area but have thought of climbing up a little higher to check out the glacier - perhaps this year.