The Perfect Hike – Joffre Lakes B.C.

Pemberton’s most popular day hikeJoffre Lakes — is famous for 3 stunning turquoise glacier-fed lakes.

  • 11km round trip plus scramble above the highest lake
  • elevation gain 350m
  • access from high elevation, paved highway 99

Seems to me Joffre Lakes is the perfect hike. Let’s say you want to take non-hikers or small children to wilderness. The first lake is only a few minutes from the parking lot on very good trail.

Groups that turn back here have a good experience in a rich, temperate rain forest.

Most hikers continue on to Middle Joffre. The trail gets increasingly rugged. It’s a challenge, actually.

Still, everyone looked extremely happy here.

The bravest venture out like gymnasts on the “fallen log”.

English is not the first language of the trail. I heard more Mandarin and German.

A surprise. I bumped into Canadian Olympic gymnast Scott Morgan. He and his girlfriend had come up to Whistler for a couple of days getaway.

Holloway Falls

The climb to Upper Joffree is a scramble at times though some sections have been improved. A hike you’ll not forget.

I carried a tent up the mountain despite the trailhead sign saying the campground was permanently FULL. (Worst case scenario I planned to wild camp.)

As expected, campsites were not nearly full. Many who book online for $5 later decide not to go. 😦

Only a few continue to scramble up the scree above the lake to the face of the cliff.

I left a Summit Stone on a large boulder.

At this point it was about 2pm. Too early to set up the tent, I thought. Should I circle Upper Joffre and then set-up?

Finally I decided to pack my tent back down to my rent-a-car. Get ready for tomorrow’s hike. (I tented for free on the river from the Wedgemount turn-off, a cyclists hangout.)

Still, I highly recommend Joffree to everyone.

See my high resolution photos on flickr.

Guidebook – 103 Hikes in Southwestern British Columbia



North Coast Trail, B.C.

MB Guiding posted the best page for hikers interested in planning a North Coast Trail adventure either independently or guided.

North Coast Trail – Cape Scott Provincial Park

The North Coast Trail is a remote and challenging coastal backpacking trip. Beach sections dominate the trail, like this stretch between Christensen Point and Laura Creek Camp. We arrive at camp each night, tired from the terrain and happy from the sights.

Here’s my own take on that hike, one of the best in the world … with some reservations.

hiking Little Mountain, Parksville B.C.

trip report by site editor Rick

Little Mountain, an aptly named mound of rock towering over the landscape. …

You can drive to the top for a terrific view.



Close to my parent’s retirement home, I cycled up one day to explore the hiking both to the right along the cliff (poor). And to the left along the cliff (interesting).




It’s also popular for rock climbing and mountain biking.

cycle hiking San Juan island

Cycle hiking the Islands – trip report by site editor Rick McCharles

Due to ferry schedules I arrived Friday Harbor late in the day. The town’s name originates from Joseph Poalie Friday, a native Hawaiian.


I purchased food for dinner and headed out to find a place to camp.

Next morning early I was back at the Bean Cafe. These free wifi spots are my longest breaks during each day.

Tourist information told me the south was more scenic than the north, so I headed towards American Camp.


There are a number of trails. I opted to start towards Grandma’s Cove and made my own loop back.




It’s very popular.


American Camp is a legacy of the Pig War, a confrontation in 1859 between the United States and Great Britain over the Canada-U.S. border. Over a pig. Not kidding.

This was my first really hot, sunny day on the bike.


At times I wished I’d rented one of Susie’s Scootcars instead. 🙂


Nearby is Cattle Point Lighthouse.




Jakle’s Lagoon is the trailhead for several interesting looking hikes. Hot and nearly out of water, I gave them a miss. This time.


After lunch I headed north to Roche Harbor with it’s weird sculpture garden.





The resort is cluttered. Too near the airport for my liking. But I did like the colour scheme.



Next stop – English Camp.


Much quieter than American Camp.



It was late in the day when I finally reached Lime Kiln Park State Park.



A highlight of the day was spotting Orcas.

cycle hiking Orcas Island

Cycle hiking the Islands – trip report by site editor Rick McCharles

I crossed the amazing bridge between Whidbey and Hidalgo worried about my front tire.



After the third time pumping more air I inquired at a general store as to the nearest cycle shop. A gentleman there offered to drive me the 8 miles to Skagit Cycle in Anacortes.

IMG_1831 (1)

I don’t trust myself to fix a tire correctly. 😦

Waiting on the next ferry, I cycled up to the Little Cranberry Lake area.


Nice, but from the little I saw, NOT impressed with Anacortes. Too big. Too much traffic. Not much to write home about. But there is a Jack in the Box. 🙂

During the summer it’s a busy ferry over to Orcas.


Hydration is important. 🙂


As is keeping your paniers locked to your bike.


I’d been looking forward to Orcas and – as it turned out – it was my favourite island, so far.


I cycled directly to Eastsound. That’s the main town.

I checked the hostel. It cost US$50 for a dorm bed. I don’t think I’ve ever paid more than $30.

So I cycled on to Moran State Park. Wild camped near the campground.


Stinging nettle was my only gripe. There are a few mosquitoes too.

Moran encompasses over 5,000 acres of various terrain including forests, wetlands, bogs, hills, and lakes. It is the largest public recreation area in the San Juan Islands and the fourth largest state park in the state. …

The park offers 38 miles of hiking trails …

If you go to Orcas for hiking, be sure to find a copy of the free brochure.


Next morning I climbed out of the tent and walked directly on to the Twin Lakes trail via Mountain Lake.



A crew was doing trail construction at Twin Lakes. I had lunch and watched them. Good work.



Returning via a series of cascades, I resolved to return one day to bike these trails. After Sept 15th they are all open to mountain bikes.

Back to the tent to relax. Then on to my next adventure. Cycling to the summit of Mt Constitution.

… the highest point in the San Juan Islands. A stone observation tower patterned after a medieval watch tower stands at the summit. …


I resolved to only go as high as I could make it without getting off the saddle. It’s 5 miles at an average 8 degree slope. Turned out I made it to the top. 🙂 Beautiful vista.


After a steep and fast ride back down the 5 miles I headed on to lovely Doe Bay resort.





I could definitely stay here for a few days. 🙂

But I wanted to stay near Eastsound that evening. I ended up wild camping in an excellent city park called Crescent Beach Preserve. It was close to a superb coffee shop – Enzo’s.

I rode next to Westsound. En route I hiked Turtleback Mountain.

I started at the north trailhead and hiked up to Waldron overlook. The trail is better for mountain biking than hiking, I’d say.


On the return I stopped at North Valley Overlook, a tranquil, rural scene.



And finally all the way to Deer Harbor.


Time to celebrate.


cycle hiking Whidbey Island

Cycle hiking the Islands – trip report by site editor Rick McCharles

I caught the ferry from Port Townsend. Immediately cycled to Ebey’s Landing for the Bluff-Ridge Trail.

I started from the trailhead at the end of Ebey’s Landing Road. Here’s the view looking back to the start.


Ebey Map

minimum 3.7 mile loop

This hike is ALL GOOD. The best I’ve found in the islands, so far.

There’s a prairie section leading to the bluff.



Plenty of interesting things to see along the way.



Almost everyone starts along the bluff, returns via the beach trail. But I enjoyed the breeze and vistas so much I decided to stay on the high road both there and back. 🙂


To celebrate the great hike, I stopped in next at Kapaws Iskreme on Front Street in Coupeville.


Coupeville is a nice little tourist town.


Though I’d heard nothing about it I decided to stop in at Dugualla Bay State Park.

Turns out I could have cycled the trail, but instead I hiked it down to the ocean.




The famous State park is Deception Pass. I decided to camp there. Next morning I’d cycle across the bridge to Hidalgo Island.



It was a good spot. I slept in until 7:30am. Enjoyed a pot of coffee. And decided to explore the trails of Deception Pass by bike and on foot.


Unfortunately I’d somehow acquired a slow leak. Adding air only worked for short bursts.


I opted to head for the nearest bike shop. Save Deception Pass for future adventures.

Turns out it’s the most-visited park in Washington with over 2 million visitors / year. I’ll plan to stay for a couple of days next time.

related trip report – Whidbey Island – Ebey’s Landing

cycle hiking Mayne Island

Cycle hiking the Gulf Islands – trip report by site editor Rick McCharles

Mayne Island is a rustic 21-square-kilometre (8.1 sq mi) island in the southern Gulf Islands chain of British Columbia. …

… a population of 1071. Mount Parke in the south-central heart of the island is its highest peak at 255 meters (837 feet). …

I arrived early enough on Mayne to do some sightseeing. First stop, historic St. Mary Magdalen, Anglican Church.



Nearby on Georgina Point is the most scenic light station on the island, built 1885.



One species not endangered anywhere. Canadian geese. 🙂



The previous two nights I was hidden away in the trees. But this wild camping tent site was worthy of a photo. Perfect.


I packed up next morning, stashing my panniers in the the trees. And cycled to the most popular hike on the islandMount Parke.


I did a loop: Haliday Ridge Trail to the (appropriately named) Old Gulch Trail to the Lowland Nature Trail. My best hike in the Gulf islands, so far.

On the Haliday ridge I left a Summit Stone in an Arbutus tree. It seemed appropriate.


A highlight was watching Turkey Vultures pretend to be Bald Eagles.



The vistas are magnificent up here. My best weather, so far.


I was starving by the time I got down off the ridge. Happily Farm Gate Store is located near the trailhead. I had a burrito, coffee and muffin. All unbelievably healthy. 🙂

The rest of the day would be easy.


I peddled on to Campbell Point.


And was quite impressed with the facilities at the Adachi Community Pavilion.

It was here that the Kosumi family lived. Until 1942 when the Canadian government rounded them and all the other Japanese immigrants on the island and moved them to an internment camp. 😦

Today, the Japanese Gardens, located near Dinner Bay, are dedicated to the memory and legacy of the Mayne Island’s Japanese-Canadian community.

Of all the beautiful retirement homes I’ve seen so far, this one caught my eye. Elegant simplicity.


So … in the end I did only the one big hike on Mayne. Island Parks and Recreation does produce a brochure. But most of the other walks are very short.

After all this good weather it began to POUR liquid sunshine while I waited for the ferry to Victoria.


Hmm. What does a cyclist do in the rain?