Hayward Lake

The beach at Hayward Recreation site

Recreational opportunities abound at Hayward Lake

In the north central Fraser Valley is BC Hydro's Stave River hydroelectric project. The Stave Lake reservoir is bounded by the Stave Lake Dam. Downstream is the Hayward Lake reservoir and the Ruskin Dam.

Many recreational activities can be enjoyed in the area, from boating, fishing and swimming, to picnicking, hiking and mountain biking.

NOTE: Hayward Lake reservoir water levels lowered for maintenance

Starting September 4, 2014, the Hayward Lake reservoir water level will be lowered to accommodate annual maintenance on the Ruskin Dam spillway gates.

The reservoir will be lowered to an elevation of approximately 36.5 metres by September 7, 2014 and will remain at this elevation until September 19, 2014.

Lower-than-average water levels will expose steep shorelines and slippery slopes along Hayward Beach and the entire reservoir shore. All beaches and the boat launch will be closed and fenced off for public safety.

The picnic grounds will remain open and available for public use.

Trails will remain open. However, hikers will be unable to complete the Railway/Reservoir Trail loop due to the closure of both Ruskin Dam and the floating bridge at Hairsine Creek.

An environmental management plan has been developed to protect fish and wildlife during the lower water levels.

Normal operating levels will return by September 20, 2014.   

If you have any questions or would like more information about this work, please contact BC Hydro at 1 866 647 3334 or stakeholderengagement@bchydro.com.

For details about the area, follow the links below:

Please note:

Temporary beach closures due to water levels. Trail and parking closures are related to the Ruskin Dam and Powerhouse Upgrade Project.

For more information, see recreation area closures and restrictions.

Access and directions

Need directions? View a map of BC Hydro recreation areas and get directions to the Hayward Lake reservoir recreation area, the Power House at Stave Falls Visitor Centre, the Stave Lake boat launch, the Stave Lake Reservoir Lodge and Campsite and the Ruskin Dam recreation area, all of which are about 60 kilometres east of Vancouver.

Parking guidelines

Hayward Lake is one of the most popular BC Hydro recreation sites in the province. We encourage the public to enjoy the area, and be familiar with the parking policies. They a’re in place to ensure public safety and emergency access.

Why does BC Hydro limit parking access?
BC Hydro limits visitor parking to ensure emergency vehicles have access to the site.

Long line-ups can block Dewdney Trunk Road which blocks emergency vehicle access to the park and blocks other traffic from passing through the area. In cooperation with the Mission RCMP who have policing authority for the area, BC Hydro does not permit line-ups for parking.

What is the policy?
Once the parking lot is full, the gate is closed, until enough spaces are available to handle visitor capacity for the rest of the day. Parking lots may have a number of spaces available while the gates are still closed. Other non-BC Hydro regional parks in the Lower Mainland have similar policies.

Why can’t the public drop-off and pick-up people inside the gate?
Drop-offs and pick-ups also cause line-ups, preventing emergency access to the park. Public safety is a priority for BC Hydro.

BC Hydro encourages visitors to arrive early. Parking is on a first-come basis only. No re-entry is permitted.

Find out about recreation area closures and restrictions.

Multiple use

BC Hydro's Hayward Lake Reservoir serves as a source of hydroelectric power and also as an attractive recreation area for public enjoyment. To add to your enjoyment, BC Hydro provides parking, washrooms or pit toilets, and picnic tables.

Facilities at Hayward Lake include:

  • Open grass play areas
  • Gazebo picnic shelter
  • Car-top boat reservoir access ramp to high water
  • 90 m long developed beach
  • Wheelchair accessible facilities
  • Washroom facility complete with change rooms and beach shower
  • Fishing
  • Hiking and mountain biking trails
  • Information displays
  • Drinking water
  • Off-leash dog area (please note that dogs are not allowed at the main beach area)

History and hydroelectric operation

Hydroelectric developments were instrumental in shaping the history and landscape of the Stave Valley from as early as 1909 when the Western Canada Power Company Limited began the construction of a power plant at Stave Falls.

Construction of the Stave Falls Dam and Powerhouse began in 1909 and was completed by January 1, 1912.

From 1926 to 1928, the construction of an earthfill dam, tunnel and Powerhouse saw the completion of the Alouette component of the regional hydroelectric system.

In 1929, construction began on Ruskin Dam and Powerhouse at the narrow granite gorge 5.6 km downstream of Stave Falls. This development created Hayward Lake Reservoir, named after Stave Falls Dam's first Production Superintendent.

An additional generator was installed in the Ruskin Powerhouse in 1950 to meet increased electrical demand in the region. Electric power produced at the Ruskin Generating Station is used to meet short term peak electrical demand in the Lower Mainland.

In January 2000, an upgrade to the Stave Falls Dam and Powerhouse was completed to increase the Dam's efficiency while ensuring long term hydroelectric service.

The Alouette- Stave- Ruskin generation system is a source of hydroelectricity for the Lower Mainland. Water from Alouette Lake is directed by tunnel to the Alouette Powerhouse on Stave Lake Reservoir where it then passes through the Stave Falls Powerhouse, and into Hayward Lake Reservoir. From here, water flows through the Ruskin Powerhouse and eventually down into the Fraser River. Together, the three Powerhouses have a production capacity of 203.6 megawatts of electricity.

Trails around Hayward Lake Reservoir

The Hayward Lake Reservoir Recreation Area offers a hiking trail to suit you. The 10-km Reservoir Trail connects with the 6-km Railway Trail to provide a scenic 16-km walk around Hayward Lake Reservoir.

The Railway Trail, on the west side of the reservoir, was built to accommodate both hiking and biking. The Reservoir Trail on the east side is restricted to hiking only.

Please: Stay on established trails. Take only photos. Leave only footprints and enjoy your hike.

Visitor information

These Recreation Areas are provided for your use and enjoyment by BC Hydro. Please respect the facilities and natural environment by observing the following rules:

  • Consumption of alcohol and drugs is prohibited on BC Hydro property and is strictly enforced by the RCMP.
  • Deposit all refuse in the containers provided.
  • Pets must be on a leash at all times and are prohibited on the Hayward Lake Reservoir beach area.
  • Firearms and hunting are prohibited in the recreation area.
  • Overnight camping at the Stave Lake Lodge and Campsite is permitted only for registered non-profit youth groups with an approved reservation.
  • Vehicles left overnight on BC Hydro property may be towed at the owner's expense.
  • Trails are closed to all motor vehicles including motorbikes, ATV's, Segways, and scooters.
  • The Reservoir Trail is closed to all motor vehicles including motorbikes, ATV's, Segways, scooters, and bicycles.
  • Hayward Lake Reservoir is reserved for canoes and non-motorized boats (electric motors permitted). Stave Lake permits motorized boats.
  • The consumption of liquor in public places is prohibited.
  • For your own safety, avoid designated danger zones and observe all posted signs.

Aquatic safety

Hydroelectric production creates special concerns for visitor safety. Please note the following:

Hydroelectric operations

  • Avoid the designated hazard areas above and below Stave Falls and Ruskin Dams and obey all posted signs. Water releases occur downstream and strong surface and underwater currents are created upstream. Swimming, boating or fishing in these areas is extremely dangerous.
  • On Stave Lake Reservoir, fluctuating water levels may create dangerously shallow channels for boats and expose stumps that are normally hidden. Floating debris may also be encountered.

Shoreline users

Changes to Stave River levels occur suddenly and without warning. Flooding may occur in low-lying areas and create dangerous conditions for fishers and other shoreline users. 

For your own safety, observe posted signs and be aware of rising water levels. All bodies of water (lakes, rivers and streams) represent a potential danger. Please note the following:

Boating/Canoeing

  • An approved personal flotation device (PFD) is required by law for each person on board any boat or canoe. This includes inflatables. Remember, IT WON'T WORK IF YOU DON'T WEAR IT. A sound signalling device, such as a whistle, is also required by law. Further requirements are outlined in the Canadian Coast Guard's Safe Boating Guide.
  • Do not overload your boat or canoe with people or gear.
  • Watch the weather. Check the weather forecast before starting out. Be alert for the wave, wind, cloud changes that signal bad weather approaching.
  • Cold water robs body heat 25 times faster than air at the same temperature. Stave Lake Reservoir, Hayward Lake Reservoir and the Stave River are cold enough to threaten your survival. Wearing your PFD increases your survival time.
  • Be off the water one-half hour before posted closing times. DON'T GET LOCKED IN!

Swimming

  • There are no lifeguards on duty at Hayward, Stave, and Ruskin Recreation Areas. In the event of an accident, contact the Recreation Area Staff and phone 911. Visitors are required to obey the safety directions of all onsite BC Hydro Recreation Area Staff or leave the recreation area.
  • Never leave children without proper supervision while they are in or near the water. Children or non-swimmers should wear a PFD.