- Difficulty Easy
- Time 3.5 hours
- Round-Trip 10km
- Elevation Gain 110 meters
- Season year-round
- Camping No
- From Vancouver 1 hour
- Public Transit Yes
- Dog Friendly On-Leash
January 23, 2021
The trail around Buntzen Lake is one-way in a counter-clockwise direction. Start by hiking on the east side of the lake. For a shorter return, you can walk back along the service road on the east side of the lake. Follow the signage in the park.
The Buntzen Lake area is a popular recreation park that is maintained by BC Hydro that has a network of hiking trails to explore. The trail that loops around the lake is one of the most popular in the park as it passes through scenic forests, offers several views of the lake, crosses a suspension bridge, and passes the quieter beach at the north end.
The following trail description follows the route around Buntzen Lake in a clockwise direction. From the parking lot, the easiest route is to start the trail from the southwest end of the parking lot, the opposite end of the parking lot from where the beach area is. There is a trail with a sign marking the Buntzen Lake Trail that leaves the parking lot and heads towards the floating bridge. Follow this trail as you leave the parking lot and continue straight, passing a trail to the right that comes from the beach area. At the sign at the next junction, go right and following the trail as you begin to catch glimpses of the south end of Buntzen Lake. When the trail joins another trail, go right and follow the route between the fence as you walk towards the floating bridge.
After crossing the floating bridge, immediately go right and follow the wide, gravel access road that BC Hydro uses to access the pumphouse. Continue following the route as you pass a couple of junctions with the Saddle Ridge Trail but stay on the wide gravel road. Watch for a viewpoint of Buntzen Lake off to the right side of the trail as you walk through this area. Eventually, the wide gravel road ends at the pumphouse and the route becomes a narrow, hiking trail.
Pass through the gate and follow the Lakeside Trail as you make your way through the scenic forest. The trail stays close to the lake for a bit before veering off into the forest and climbing steeply. There are several wooden bridges that cross small creeks. Enjoy the forest as you catch your breath on the uphill sections and quickly make time on the gradual downhill sections.
The trail eventually veers back towards the lake again as it passes by an electrical tower. Watch your step on the loose rock as you make your way through this section. On the right, walk up onto a rocky bluff for a view across Buntzen Lake towards the North Beach and the tunnel that connects to Coquitlam Lake where water gushes out of. After enjoying the view, return to the trail and watch your step as the route descends again before reaching a junction. Go right at the junction towards the North Beach.
Just after passing the junction, you reach the Suspension Bridge. Cross the bridge, enjoying the view of the lake and watching the water flow underneath you. Once on the other side, immediately walk to the right to where the North Beach is. This is a much quieter area than the beach near the parking lot and is a great place to stop to have a snack before heading back along the east side of the lake.
After enjoying the views from the North Beach, follow the trail south from the beach area towards the sound of rushing water. There is a close-up view of the tunnel that brings water from Coquitlam Lake. After taking a quick look, follow the trail up the steep hill until you reach the gravel road at the top. Walk to your right and immediately follow the trail to the right as this will be the route that returns to the parking lot.
The trail descends and passes over a couple of bridges as it weaves its way through the forest, offering views between the trees for much of the first half. The trail climbs through a section as you enjoy the beautiful forest before descending down through a switchback and crossing another wooden bridge. Continue your pace as the South Beach comes into view and the sound of dogs in the off-leash area can be heard up-ahead. Cross a final wooden bridge to the fence next to the dog off-leash area and immediate go left. Follow the gravel trail alongside the fence to the end of the dog area, then continue along the trail a short distance to where you return to the parking lot.