Buntzen Lake is located in a beautiful recreation area just north of Port Moody. Although the lake is man-made and maintained by BC Hydro, the surrounding area is full of forests, nice beach areas, and many trails for hiking including the Buntzen Lake Trail which loops around the lake.
Note: The gate at the park entrance is closed at night and the times change throughout the year and are as early as 4:30pm during the winter. Please check the posted time and ensure you are back at your car and out of the park before then.
Beginning from the parking lot, walk to the beach and then head along the beach in a southerly direction to your left. As you walk further away from the popular beach area, a network of trails appears that enters into the forest. Follow the Energy Trail near the shoreline as it weaves its way through the trees. A few minutes later, you reach a junction with a sign pointing the way to the floating bridge to the right. Go right and walk towards the floating bridge crossing at the southern end of the lake.
Cross the floating bridge observing the beautiful scenery on either side. Although just a short distance away is the busy beach area full of kids and picnickers, the atmosphere is virtually quiet with the exception of the robins and other birds making their presence known.
Once you have crossed the floating bridge, you immediately reach a junction. Turn right and follow the wide gravel road as it continues along the lakeside. After walking for 20 minutes or so, the gravel road ends at the pump house and the hiking route continues as the Buntzen Lake trail beyond the wooden gate. The narrow trail wraps along the edge of the lake through groves of Cedar and Douglas Fir trees, crossing several small creeks, and winding up and down over gradual hills.
As beautiful as the trees and forest are, it is hard to believe that this entire area is second-generation growth and created for the purpose of producing electricity for the city of Vancouver. The Buntzen Lake hydroelectric project was developed in 1903 and was the first hydroelectric generator to provide electricity to Vancouver. Through the years, BC Hydro has maintained the network of trails throughout the area.
Eventually, the trail exits from the forest and continues underneath the power lines. Continue along the gravel trail as you watch your step down the steep sections. Keep your eyes open for viewpoints of the lake along this section of trail as there are several high points that offer scenic views from the west side of Buntzen Lake. Just before a steep hill a fork in the trail appears. Fortunately, we will avoid the hill and take the path on the right that continues a short distance to a bridge suspended across the north end of the lake.
On the other side of the bridge lies a much quieter beach from the one near the parking lot. On a hot sunny day, this is the perfect spot to stop and enjoy a short dip into the cool lake water or just relax on the sand before walking back towards the south end of the lake.
From the north beach, it's approximately a 4km walk along the east shore of the lake back to the parking lot. After enjoying a swim and the beach, continue south along the trail to a water tunnel a short distance away and walk up the steep path to the gravel service road. After reaching the top, stay along the wooden fence as the trail immediately enters back into the forest. Follow the trail as it weaves along the lake, crossing small streams and offering glimpses of the scenic area.
The sound of children playing and dogs barking means the trail is nearing the end. Pass alongside the chain-link fence and walk a short distance before emerging from the trees back at the parking lot where you started your journey.
How to get to Buntzen Lake
Estimated Driving Time from Vancouver: 1 hour
The Buntzen Lake parking lot is located approximately 30km east of Vancouver in Port Moody. To get there, head east along Hastings Street, through Vancouver and Burnaby. Hastings eventually turns into the Barnett Highway. Continue along the Barnett until you reach the lights at St. Johns Street. Drive for almost 1km until you reach the intersection at Ioco Road and make a left turn. Continue straight as the road turns into Heritage Mountain Blvd and heads up a steep road, eventually reaching a roundabout. Turn right here and turn left at the first lights onto Forest Parkway. At the first stop sign, turn left onto Aspenwood Drive and continue straight as it turns into E. Road. Turn right onto Sunnyside Road at the Buntzen Lake sign and continue straight until you reach the park entrance. Continue past the park gate and down the paved forest road until you reach the parking lot.
View a map of Driving directions to Buntzen Lake.
Transit Access to Buntzen Lake
Buntzen Lake is accessible by transit by taking the C26 Bus from Coquitlam Centre. On weekends between July and September, the bus will stop in the parking area near the beach at the south end of the lake. However, during the weekdays and non-summer months, the final bus stop is just outside the park gate, approximately 1.8km walking distance from the south beach area. Check Translink's website for more information.
Dogs at Buntzen Lake
Dogs must be on a leash on all trails except for the designated 'dog off-leash' area and a 600 meter trail on the southeast end of the lake. Please pick up after your dog and dispose of all waste in designated garbage bins in the park.
Toilets at Buntzen Lake
The Buntzen Lake area has several washroom facilities and outhouses around the lake, all of which are cleaned and maintained by BC Hydro. Washrooms are located at the south end of the lake and outhouses can be found at the smaller beach area on the north end of the lake.
Other trails located in the Tri Cities region: