Located north of Pemberton (which is located north of Whistler) on Highway 99, the Duffey Lake Road is a gateway to some of the most spectacular hiking areas in the Vancouver region. Yes, it’s still a 3+ hour drive from the city, but if you have two or more nights to spare you won’t be sorry you took the trip. Alpine flowers, glacial lakes and 360 degree peak views await you.Here are some highlights:
Probably the most well known of the Duffey Lake Road hikes, the Joffre Lakes trail leads 6km up through forest and across a few rockslides with three beautiful turquoise glacial lakes along the way. The final lake offers backcountry campsites and an outhouse if you wish to spend the night. Although it makes for a long day of driving, Joffre Lakes is commonly done as a daytrip. Dogs are allowed on this trail.
If solitude and exploration are what you’re looking for, plan a trip to Downton Creek. A short hike through sprawling meadows leads to a nice place to camp beside a lake. From there, there are endless opportunities to meander through meadows to smaller lakes, or scramble up the surroundings ridges and peaks. One note, the logging road that leads to the Downton Creek trailhead is quite rough. Consider taking a 4×4 vehicle, or be prepared to walk 3-5km on the road to the trailhead.
A major bonus of the Duffey area is that you can drive to 1300m above sea level, allowing you to enter the high alpine with minimal hiking effort. The hike to Marriott Meadows is a prime example of this. Leave your car on the Cayoosh Forest Service Road (FSR) and enter a true wilderness area in just a few hours of hiking. Lakes, meadows and ridge walks are the highlights of Marriott Meadows. The Wendy Thompson Hut is available to the public for overnight use.