Buntzen Lake Trails
Hiking and mountain biking popular at Buntzen
Whether you're planning a short stroll through a coastal lowland rain forest, a more adventurous hike into the surrounding mountains, or a day of mountain biking, the Buntzen Lake area offers a trail to suit you.
There are numerous trail loops to follow, depending on your time and fitness level. Many of the trails are steep and rough in places, so if you're not a frequent hiker you should increase the time estimates we have provided.
Trail work complete: Work on trails and bridges at Buntzen that has been going on for months is now complete. Enjoy.
Smoking ban in effect
Extreme fire danger
As of August 7, 2018, by order of the Fire Chief, all cooking appliances are now prohibited at Buntzen Lake until further notice. This includes propane and charcoal briquette barbecues.
Smoking is prohibited in all forested areas and on trails. Smoking is permitted only at the designated smoking area located in the South Beach Picnic Area near the west washroom and at the North Beach.
All dogs must be on a leash except in the two designated off-leash areas or on the dog off-leash trail. The 0.6 km one-way dog off-leash trail starts to the south-east of the parking lots.
Where Buntzen Lake is & how to get there
The C26 bus operates from Coquitlam Centre to Buntzen Lake daily. Normally this bus stops at the turnaround before the recreation area entrance gate. It is a 1.8-kilometre or 15 to 20 minute walk to the South Beach area. During weekends and holidays between July and August, the C26 bus will continue all the way into the South Beach area. For bus schedules and information, visit the Translink website.
Buntzen Lake Reservoir's amazing setting, adjacent hiking trails and cooling waters make it a popular destination year round. Particularly on hot weekends, get there early to ensure you get a parking spot.
When the parking lot is full, the entry gate - located about a 2 km trail walk from South Beach - is closed. Get detailed parking information on our Buntzen Lake main page.
Hiking trails at Buntzen Lake
The Halvor Lunden (Eagle Ridge) Trail is comprised of the Lindsay Lake Loop, Swan Falls Loop and Dilly Dally Loop. The trailhead is located on Powerhouse Road, near the southeast corner of the South Beach parking area.
- Hiking time: 6-8 hours return. Distance: 15 km. Elevation gain: 1020 m.
This route is recommended for experienced and fit hikers only. The trail to Lindsay Lake is the most popular of the three loops along this trail. Climb to El Paso Junction, then turn left and cross Buntzen Creek. Passing through the ancient mountain forest you will encounter several spectacular viewpoints overlooking Vancouver. At Lindsay Lake Junction (at the north end of Lindsay Lake) turn right and head south through the "lakes district" back to El Paso Junction. Return to the main parking area along the same trail you started on.
- Hiking time: 8-10 hours return. Distance: 20 km. Elevation gain: 1150 m.
This route is recommended for experienced and fit hikers only. It is very steep in places. Follow the trail to El Paso Junction, and then choose either the left or right trail to Lindsay Lake Junction. If you choose left, you will see Eagle Ridge's best remaining old-growth forest as well as passing several viewpoints of Vancouver. A right turn will take you through the "lakes district" with its many beautiful tarns. Continuing north from Lindsay Lake Junction, ascend Mt. Beautiful (Eagle Peak) for a panoramic view of Mt. Baker, Vancouver Island, the Fraser Valley, Coquitlam watershed, Mt. Seymour Park, Indian Arm and beyond. At Swan Falls Junction turn left and follow the steep (and sometimes slippery) trail down to Powerhouse Road, which then leads you back to South Beach.
- Hiking time: 10-12 hours return. Distance: 25 km. Elevation gain: 1150 m.
This route is recommended for experienced and fit hikers only. The Dilly Dally Loop? Don't believe it! Dilly dally along this trail and you'll be spending the night. If you're up for it, you are rewarded with spectacular views as you travel through high mountain forests. Be sure you have the whole day and note gate closure times. Follow the directions for the Swan Falls Loop to Swan Falls Junction. Continue north along the ridge to Dilly Dally Peak, then follow the trail and access road back down to Powerhouse Road.
- Hiking time: 4-5 hours return. Distance: 8 km. Elevation gain: 100 m.
Circle Buntzen Lake and enjoy the beautiful views of surrounding mountains. Starting at Buntzen Creek Bridge at the east side of South Beach, the trail leads north, passing several lake access points and viewpoints. After a short section along Powerhouse Road, the Buntzen Lake Trail resumes at the North Beach picnic area. From here, cross the suspension bridge to continue along the Buntzen Lake Trail or you can return along Powerhouse Road for a shorter, easier hike. The trail takes you through open areas underneath the powerline, through mature forest, across several bridges, then finally opens up onto Pumphouse Road. Follow this road south to the floating bridge across the southwest arm of Buntzen Lake. Cross the bridge and follow the trail back to South Beach.
- Hiking time: 30 minutes return. Distance: 1 km. Elevation gain: 15 m.
Looping around the wooded knoll southwest of the South Beach boat launch, this trail passes through a variety of forest landscapes and past attractive views of Buntzen Lake. Look for interpretive displays along the way.
- Hiking time: 6-8 hours return. Distance: 7 km (one way). Elevation gain: 460 m.
This route is recommended for experienced and fit hikers only. Spanish for "ten views", the Diez Vistas Trail is aptly named. Offering spectacular views of Vancouver's waterways and mountains, the Diez Vistas Trail commences near the floating bridge. Travelling uphill into the forest, cross the powerline and pipeline and continue along a series of switchbacks until the trail forks. The left trail leads to a viewpoint overlooking Indian Arm and the right leads to a view of South Beach and across to Eagle Ridge. After reaching the high point where the trails reunite, you travel along a forest trail that terminates at a BC Hydro service road. Keep right and follow the service road and transmission line (the Old Buntzen Lake Trail) back to the Buntzen Lake Trail, where a left turn will take you to the suspension bridge leading to North Beach. From here, follow either Powerhouse Road or the Buntzen Lake Trail back to South Beach.
Equestrian & mountain biking trails
Originally constructed and maintained for equestrian use, most of the following trails are open to hikers and mountain bikers as well. Some sections of these routes were constructed as trails, while other portions follow old logging road tracks and powerline rights-of-way.
Mountain bikers are permitted on access roads, transmission line roads, the short trails linking the two parking areas with the floating bridge and on the trails to Sasamat Lake and Eagle Bluff. Mountain bikers are requested to obey all posted signs.
Leading steeply up the mountainside into the cool, dark cedar and hemlock forests that blanket the slopes around Buntzen Lake, these trails form loops with Powerhouse Road and the Lakeview Trail and provide access to the Diez Vistas Trail and the trail to Sasamat Lake.
- Hiking time: 5-6 hours return. Distance: 6 km (one way). Elevation gain: 150 m.
Portions of this trail are very steep. Equestrians and mountain bike riders should only use this trail if experienced in steep mountain terrain riding. Providing an alternative route along Buntzen Lake's western shore, this trail weaves its way along Pumphouse Road from the main entrance gate, then connects with the transmission line heading north before slipping into the dense forest that enfolds Buntzen Ridge. The trail ends where it joins the Old Buntzen Lake Trail near North Beach.
- Hiking time: 2-2.5 hours (one way). Distance: 4 km. Elevation gain: 100 m.
The Academy Trail begins at the main entrance gate and extends north through a fern-filled forest paralleling the main access road to the equestrian parking lot. The trail then follows Rogue Creek to an open transmission line access road that joins with Powerhouse Road about halfway to North Beach.
- Hiking time: 45 minutes (one way). Distance: 1.5 km. Elevation gain: 20 m.
Before the suspension bridge was built, this trail portion completed the loop around Buntzen Lake. Follow the transmission line north where it leaves the Buntzen Lake Trail. This leads you to a concrete water intake building. Here the trail cuts through the forest, joining Powerhouse Road immediately northwest of the dam.
The Dog Bypass, Pumphouse Road, Powerhouse Road, the South Beach Trail – there are many small connector trails around the main picnic area and entrance roads.
Why not plan your own loop? Take a copy of our trail map, pick your route and set out to explore Buntzen's unsurpassed scenery.
Please remain on the established trails.
Building your own connections and taking short cuts degrades the soil, disturbs or kills vegetation and alters habitat for small animals. Remember to allow yourself plenty of time to complete your route.