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Buntzen Lake

View of Buntzen Lake

Area notices

Wildfire alert

It’s wildfire season. Check for fire restrictions in your area and know how to report a wildfire. Be aware that smoking and the use of cooking appliances may be prohibited at this site based on local fire restrictions.
 

Parking reservations in effect

All vehicles are required to book a parking pass before arriving at Buntzen Lake from May 16 to September 2.
 

Trail closures: rockslide

Following a rockslide, there's no pedestrian access on Powerhouse Road between North Beach and Buntzen Dam. Hikers completing the Diez Vistas trail will need to plan an alternate route. Learn more.
 

BC Hydro's most popular rec area can get very busy

Buntzen Lake is BC Hydro reservoir that's 4.8 km long and covers an area of 182 hectares. Located north of Port Moody about 30 kilometres (km) from Vancouver, it's a popular destination, especially on sunny weekends.

Buntzen Lake is located on the traditional territory of Kwikwetlem First Nation, Musqueam Nation, Tsleil-Waututh Nation, Squamish Nation and Stó:lō First Nations.

Parking guidelines

From May 16 until September 2, all vehicles, including buses will need to book a free parking pass before arriving at Buntzen Lake. Parking passes are available starting at 7 a.m. the day before your planned visit. There will be no first come, first served parking, and those who arrive without a parking pass will not be able to enter.

How it works:

  • Follow the reservation link below to create a user account. We recommend using your smartphone to create an account and book your parking pass.
  • Choose a half-day or an all-day parking pass.
  • Check for an email or text with your parking pass confirmation.
  • Before you arrive at Buntzen, have your digital pass with the QR code ready on your smartphone, or print it out, so it can be scanned upon arrival.
  • If you no longer need a parking pass, please cancel your booking via the link in your reservation email.


 

If you have questions or feedback about the parking passes, please contact us by email. For help with the Yodel reservation system, please call 1 888 668 1926 available 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Pacific.

A few reminders:

  • Your reservation is non-transferrable. Each pass is linked to a vehicle license plate and mobile phone number.
  • You may arrive any time during your reservation, up to 30 minutes before the end of your time slot.
  • Once you exit, your pass is no longer valid, and no re-entry is permitted.
  • Vehicles that stay past their reservation end time may be towed.
  • If you're visiting Buntzen by transit, bike, or on foot, a parking pass is not required.
  • Overnight parking at Buntzen is not permitted.

Types of vehicles allowed at Buntzen Lake:

  • Motorcycles: one reservation (assigned to one license plate) can be used for two motorcycles that can park in a single stall. Both motorcycles must arrive together.
  • Bicycles: you don't need a parking pass if entering on a bicycle.
  • Boat trailers / RVs: only small, battery-powered electric motorboats are allowed at Buntzen Lake and there is minimal parking for these boat trailers. RVs of a certain size may fit into a parking stall; however, a parking pass does not guarantee boat trailer or RV parking, and parking across multiple stalls is prohibited.
  • School buses: a printed parking pass confirmation is required for school buses.

Parking pass arrival times

Pass holders can arrive any time during their reservation timeslot, up to 30 minutes before the end of their reservation time. Vehicles left in the parking lot past the end of their reservation time may be towed.

Time Arrival
Half-day
(Morning)

A morning half-day parking pass is valid between 8 a.m. and 2 p.m. Morning pass holders can arrive from 8 a.m. until 1:30 p.m. but must depart before 2 p.m. to ensure space is available for afternoon pass holders.

Half-day
(Afternoon)

An afternoon half-day parking pass is valid from 2 p.m. until close. Afternoon pass holders must arrive at least 30 minutes before the end of the parking pass period.

All-day

An all-day parking pass is valid for arrival any time of day, from 8 a.m. to close.

 

Video: How to book a parking pass

Watch as Dave explains how to book a parking pass online using our new reservation system.

Street parking in Anmore is largely prohibited, particularly from May 1 to October 1. Violators in the no parking zones may be ticketed or towed by the Village.

Please refer to the Village of Anmore's website for additional information on parking bylaws.

Long line-ups can block Sunnyside Road in Anmore and access to the Sasamat Volunteer Fire Hall. In cooperation with the Coquitlam RCMP, who have policing authority for the area, we can't permit line-ups for parking outside the gate to keep emergency access clear.

The gate remains closed until enough spaces are available to handle visitor capacity for the rest of the day. Parking lots may have spaces available while the gates are still closed. Other non-BC Hydro regional parks in the Lower Mainland have similar policies.

Drop-offs and pick-ups also cause line-ups, preventing emergency access to Sunnyside Road in Anmore and the Sasamat Volunteer Fire Hall.

School buses

School buses are required to book an all-day pass to visit Buntzen Lake. Passes are available to book starting at 7 a.m. the day before your planned visit. You can use either the school bus license plate number or the word 'SCHOOL' in the license plate field.

School buses will need to print their parking pass confirmation to present upon arrival. School buses can leave after drop-offs and return for pick-ups if the printed parking pass confirmation is presented upon re-entry.

Additional staff vehicles

All staff vehicles will need their own parking pass with the vehicle's license plate number. If someone other than the driver is booking the reservation, please ensure the email confirmation is printed and given to each driver. Passes will need to be presented to park staff for every vehicle checking in to our site.

Walk-in visitors and multi-vehicle pick-ups

If you plan to have your students walk into the site and get picked up by multiple vehicles, please email us at least two weeks in advance. Once we receive your email request, we'll consider if and how we can accommodate the request on a case-by-case basis.

Directions, hours and what to do at Buntzen

Get directions to Buntzen Lake, just north of Port Moody in the Lower Mainland.

Please note that parking lots are located about two kilometres past the entrance gate. Please avoid arriving before opening hours as there's no parking in Anmore and it's important to keep emergency access routes clear.

Public transit to Buntzen Lake

The 182 bus operates from Port Moody Centre Station to Anmore daily. The closest stop to the lake is stop #53245, Southbound Sunnyside Road at Anmore Grocery Store. It is a 2 km walk to the main parking area and South Beach. Follow signs that direct pedestrians to South Beach.

Translink offers the 179 seasonal bus that operates on Weekends and Holidays from Canada Day weekend through to Labour Day. The 179 departs from Coquitlam Central Station hourly and takes riders to the main parking area.

For bus schedules and information, visit the Translink website.

Car sharing services

Please be aware that cell coverage at Buntzen is poor, and car-share vehicle software may not function. Check with your car share service to determine if the vehicle will be responsive at the site. Car-share vehicles cannot be left in the Buntzen parking lot overnight.

Gates typically open at 8:00 a.m. unless a different opening time is noted. Closing times vary throughout the year.

Dates Open Close
November 5 to January 28 8 a.m. 4:30 p.m.
January 29 to February 18 8 a.m. 5 p.m.
February 19 to March 3 8 a.m. 5:30 p.m.
March 4 to March 10 8 a.m. 6 p.m.
March 11 to March 24 8 a.m. 7 p.m.
March 25 to April 21 8 a.m. 7:30 p.m.
April 22 to August 18 8 a.m. 8 p.m.
August 19 to September 8 8 a.m. 7:30 p.m.
September 9 to September 22 8 a.m. 7 p.m.
September 23 to October 6 8 a.m. 6:30 p.m.
October 7 to October 20 8 a.m. 6 p.m.
October 21 to November 3 8 a.m. 5:30 p.m.
November 4 to January 26 8 a.m. 4:30 p.m.

 

Buntzen Lake reservoir is an active source of hydroelectric power. It’s also a popular area to enjoy:

  • Picnic tables, shelter, and grass play areas
  • Boat launch at South beach for motorized and non-motorized vessels
  • Hiking, mountain biking, and nature trails
  • Developed viewpoints and interpretive display
  • Designated area for dogs
  • Drinking water

Site safety

The BC Wildfire Service implements fire restrictions and manages wildfire response.

No open fires are allowed at Buntzen Lake. Only propane barbecues are permitted if there is no active fire ban for the area. Be sure to check fire bans and restrictions before you visit.

Charcoal and briquette barbecues are always prohibited. Please remove all used or empty propane cylinders from the area and take them to an appropriate recycling facility. Contact Recycling BC at 604 732 9253 to find a location near you.

Report a wildfire

To report a wildfire irresponsible behaviour that could start a wildfire call 1 800 663-5555 toll-free, or *5555 on a cell phone as soon as possible. Any information you can provide is helpful, including answering these important questions.

Wildfire updates

For up-to-date information on wildfire safety, including fire danger ratings and regional fire restrictions call 1 888 336-7378 (3FOREST)

Bring hand sanitizer or sanitizing wipes and practice safe hygiene. If you're feeling sick, please stay home.

Smoking is not permitted at Buntzen Lake except in designated smoking areas. Designated smoking areas are in the South Beach Picnic Area and at the North Beach.

Consumption of alcohol and drugs is prohibited on BC Hydro property and is strictly enforced by the RCMP. Personal belongings may be visually searched to ensure compliance with site rules. Non-compliance may lead to being removed from the premises.

The trail to the right of the beach leads to the dog off-leash area beside Buntzen Creek. Please don't walk your dog through the main beach area.

All dogs must be on a leash except in the two designated off-leash areas or on the dog off-leash trail. All dogs must always be under the owner's control.

There are no formal reservations for the picnic shelter.

Small battery-powered electric motors are allowed. While boating, observe all water safety regulations.

Overnight camping is prohibited. Vehicles left in the area overnight may be towed away at the owner's expense. The use of drones and/or remote-control vehicles is prohibited.

The trails at Buntzen Lake are closed to all motor vehicles including motorbikes, ATVs, Segways, and scooters. Before you plan your visit, review our trail info and closures.

Buntzen Lake is cold: Safety around water

Since operations of the hydroelectric facilities on Buntzen Lake and Indian Arm are remotely controlled, they're particularly hazardous to the public. Sudden changes in water flows can occur without warning and cause strong surface and underwater currents near the intake structures and the Coquitlam Lake tunnel outfall. Swimming or boating in these areas is extremely dangerous. For your personal safety, please observe all warning signs and stay well back from BC Hydro operating areas and structures.

We've introduced lifeguards from the Lifesaving Society of B.C. to patrol the south beach during peak times (weather dependent). Visitors should refer to posted signage to determine if lifeguards are on duty. While lifeguards can help improve public safety, lifeguards will only be able to monitor a designated area of the park and visitors are reminded to always use caution around water and wear personal flotation devices.

Depth of water over the drop-offs varies with reservoir levels. Parents should keep small children within arms length.

An approved Personal Flotation Device (PFD) is required by law for each person on board any boat or canoe. This includes inflatables. Remember that it won't work if you don't wear it. A sound signalling device, such as a whistle, is also required by law. Don't overload your boat or canoe with people or gear.

Small boats with a rounded bottom tip easily. Keep your centre of gravity as low as possible by sitting or kneeling even when reeling in a fish.

Watch the weather. Check the forecast before starting out. Be alert for the wave, wind, and cloud changes that signal bad weather is approaching.

Cold water reduces body heat 25 times faster than air does at the same temperature. Buntzen Lake is cold enough to threaten your survival. Wearing your PFD increases your survival time.

Alcohol affects your ability to function in three critical ways. Your balance, judgment and reaction time are affected almost immediately with the first drink. Remember: alcohol and water don't mix.

Never leave children unsupervised while they are in or near the water.

Children and non-swimmers should wear a PFD.

Two-thirds of people who drown never intend to go in the water. If you aren't prepared to get wet, you're not prepared to go out on the water.

Be back on shore 30 minutes before posted closing times.

Information on the status of Buntzen Lake water quality can be found on the Fraser Health Authority website.

History and hydroelectric operation

Formerly known as Lake Beautiful, the lake is named after the first general manager of B.C. Electric Co., Johannes Buntzen. In 1904 the Buntzen hydroelectric project was put in service by the Vancouver Power Company to provide the first hydroelectric power to Vancouver. Previously, the city had to depend on a 1,500-kilowatt (kW) steam plant for its power supply.

The project involved raising the level of the dam on Coquitlam Lake and excavating a 3.6 km tunnel to carry water from Coquitlam Lake to Buntzen Lake. The tunnel runs under Eagle Mountain, reaching a maximum depth of 1.2 km below the surface, and empties into the north end of Buntzen Lake.

Water from Buntzen Lake flows through penstocks down the steep mountain slope to two power plants located on Indian Arm. Buntzen No. 1 was constructed in 1903 with an initial capacity of 1,500 kW. A second powerhouse, Buntzen No. 2, was completed in 1914 with three pelton wheels delivering a total of 26,700 kW to meet Vancouver's continually increasing demand for secure electricity.

The generating equipment in Buntzen No. 1 was modernized in 1951 to produce 60,000 kW of power. At the turn of the millennium Buntzen No. 2 was shut down. Buntzen No. 1 is monitored and operated by a remote-control facility in Burnaby.