Vancouver Trails

6 Things We Love About Hiking at Buntzen Lake

Buntzen Lake, located just one hour from Downtown Vancouver, is home to multi-recreation activities for everyone, from families to solo hikers, those looking for a relaxing afternoon to active adventurists who are searching to test their limits. The lake, originally used to power Vancouver’s first hydroelectric plant in the early 1900s, has since turned into a Summer destination for locals and tourists alike.

Hiking is a significant draw for such locals and tourists to Buntzen Lake, primarily because there is so much diversity to the trails. Whether you’re the family or solo hiker, as above, I’ve compiled my top 6 things I love about hiking at Buntzen Lake.

1. There are viewpoints everywhere

When hiking around Buntzen Lake, whether you’re doing the entire 10KM loop or partially exploring the Buntzen Lake Trail, there are viewpoints wherever you look. Hiking this trail means that you will closely follow the lake for much of the route, veering away into the forest for some steep climbs and enjoyable descents before heading back toward the lake and through junctions.

2. You can spend an entire day on these trails

The Sendero Diez Vistas is a great trail that will take you out on your feet for most of the day. It’s a 15km round trip adventure that begins at the main Buntzen Lake parking lot and takes you through the Buntzen area, offering incredible scenery that overlooks Indian Arm along the way. Take your camera.

The Dilly Dally Loop is another great option that is 25km in length and offers plenty of blood-pumping climbs and descents. Be warned – this route is for the very experienced. Your hamstrings will feel the effort tomorrow!

3. It’s fun for the family, too

While there are plenty of options for experienced hikers searching for a challenging day on the trails, rest assured there are also options for families. When in the parking lot, moving clockwise starting from the southwest end of the lot will move you through to the Floating Bridge. Turning around at this point can give your little ones time to stretch their legs and explore the outdoors.

4. Cool off in the lake after a challenging hike

After you’ve completed a 10km hike, or perhaps you’ve been adventurous and embarked on the Dilly Dally Loop, you’ll very likely be ready for a dip in the lake.

Thankfully, Buntzen Lake is open to swimmers. The water is quite cold, so you might want to pack a wetsuit.

5. You can bring your dog with you

I have two little ones, so I call them – my two dogs. When I hike I take them wherever I can, so it’s important to check my destination trails in advance. Thankfully, Buntzen allows your four-legged friends on all trails, as long as they are on a leash on most tracks.

Note: Buntzen Lake offers an off-leash dog beach area with one designated off-leash trail nearby.

6. It’s a great area to run and train in

There are plenty of fabulous trail races around Buntzen Lake, from the 5 Peaks Buntzen Lake run to the more challenging Diez Vista 50KM. If you’re a trail runner and you’ve signed up for a race like this, you’ve come to the best possible place to train – on the race course!

I love Buntzen Lake for the variety of recreation activities, from hiking to swimming and mountain biking in between. If you’re ready to explore this area, I’ll let you in on a secret – get there early. The parking lot can get very busy, so snag yourself a spot before you embark on the trails above.