- Difficulty Intermediate
- Time 3.5 hours
- Round-Trip 10km
- Elevation Gain 195 meters
- Season year-round
- Camping No
- From Vancouver 1 hour
- Public Transit Yes
- Dog Friendly No
The hike to the Swan Falls viewpoint follows the Buntzen Lake trail to the North Beach, then climbs steeply along the Halvor Lunden to the top of the waterfall. The view from the rocky bluff is a partial view of the northern section of Buntzen Lake as well as the mountains along the western shore of the lake.
The "Intermediate" rating is given to this trail due to the ruggedness and difficulty of the section of the Halvor Lunden. The 4km section of trail along Buntzen Lake to the North Beach is fairly easy, however the Halvor Lunden Trail is steep and very challenging in sections. It's noted that the viewpoint is only about 15% of the distance along the Halvor Lunden Trail to the junction at the top of the mountain.
From the Buntzen Lake parking lot, walk towards the dog off-leash area and follow the trail on the east side of the fence as far towards the lake as possible where there is a wooden map board and a bridge. Cross the bridge and follow the trail as you quickly disappear into the forest and leave the noise of the barking dogs behind you. During the spring, you will pass many small creeks along the first part of the route, however most are dry during the summer months.
The trail passes over another wooden bridge before reaching a sign that says "viewpoint". Go right at the sign and continue up the short hill as you pass through the beautiful, lush forest. The trail is easy to follow and continues its route northward, passing over many more wooden bridges and offering occasional glimpses of Buntzen Lake.
Eventually, the trail climbs up a short hill and reaches the gravel road. A few meters further, rejoin the trail and follow it downhill along the steep switch backs to the bottom where you have a view of the water flowing into the lake from the tunnel that joins with Coquitlam Lake on the other side of Eagle Mountain. Follow the path as it emerges at the North Beach area.
Continue walking past the North Beach towards the gravel road, then follow the road northward (do not cross the suspension bridge to the left). A short distance further, the gravel road crosses a small bridge and looking up and to the right, you'll see the water of Swan Falls cascading down from the rocks high above. Continue walking along the gravel road and round a corner to the right about 200-meters further to where a sign marks the start of the Halvor Lunden trail. Follow this trail as you begin your climb.
The beginning of the Halvor Lunden climbs gradually but after passing underneath the power lines, the trail begins to climb steeply. Although the route is rugged, occasionally having fallen trees, it is well marked with trail markers on the trees. The viewpoint is located at an elevation of about 325 meters (the start of the Halvor Lunden is about 135 meters elevation) and is easiest found when you reach a rope along the trail meant to help pull yourself up over the steep rock. Pull yourself up the rope and just before you reach the top of the rope, look to your right where a spur trail branches off to a rocky bluff. Carefully step up to the spur trail and away from the rope and walk out onto the rock next to the water flowing over the falls.
Be very careful along the rocky bluff at the Swan Falls Viewpoint as you are standing near the top of the Swan Falls waterfall and venturing too close to the water or edge will almost certainly lead towards death. The rocky bluff offers a nice viewpoint to stop and enjoy a snack or lunch before making your way back down the Halvor Lunden Trail. As you descend the trail where you came up, be careful to watch your footing and use your hands where necessary to ensure you do not slip and fall down the steep mountain side.
After returning to the gravel road at the start of the Halvor Lunden Trail, go left and return to the North Beach area. You can bypass the steep switch backs by the water tunnel from the Coquitlam Lake by just following the gravel road uphill, then taking the second trail on the right (the same one you came from earlier) that leads to the parking lot area at the south end of Buntzen Lake. Follow the trail back along the lake, enjoying the scenery as you make your way back to the busy beach and dog off-leash area before returning to the parking lot.