Recreation options make Hayward a popular spot
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.
Where it is, parking & closures information
About 60 km east of Vancouver, near Mission, you can find a variety of BC Hydro facilities and sites, including Hayward Lake reservoir, the Power House at Stave Falls Visitor Centre, the Stave Lake boat launch and the Stave Lake Reservoir Lodge and Campsite.
Hayward Lake recreation area generally remains open year round, road and weather conditions permitting. For hours of operation during Summer and Winter, call 604 462 7533.
Portions of the 10 km circuit around Hayward Lake Reservoir are currently closed due to Ruskin Dam construction.
The Reservoir Trail is closed from Ruskin Dam to Hairsine Inlet. The trail can be accessed from the Reservoir Trail parking lot east of Blind Slough Dam at Stave Falls.
The Railway Trail can be accessed from the Upper Railway Parking Lot or from the Hayward Lake Reservoir Recreation Area. The lower Railway Trail parking lot is closed.
We close gates at peak times
Please familiarize yourself with our parking guidelines before visiting the park. Park wardens may be required to close the entrance gates during peak hours to ensure the safety of visitors and access for emergency personnel.
Hayward Lake is one of our most popular recreation sites. We encourage the public to enjoy the area, and be familiar with the parking policies. They are in place to ensure public safety and emergency access.
Why do we limit parking access?
We limit 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 or pick up people inside the gate?
Drop-offs and pick-ups cause line-ups, preventing emergency access to the park. Public safety is a priority for BC Hydro.
We encourage visitors to arrive early. Parking is on a first-come basis only. No re-entry is permitted.
Trail network & other visitor information
While a temporary ban on all barbecues has been lifted, the year-round ban on charcoal barbecues remains in effect. Only propane barbecues are permitted. No open fires allowed.
Please remove all used or empty propane cylinders from the recreation area and take them to an appropriate recycling facility. Contact Recycling BC at 604 732 9253 to find a location near you.
Also, smoking is also prohibited throughout the area.
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.
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:
- The Hayward Lake Reservoir is reserved for canoes and non-motorized boats (electric motors permitted). Stave Lake permits motorized boats.
- 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.
- The consumption of liquor in public places is prohibited.
- For your own safety, avoid designated danger zones and observe all posted signs.
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, we provide 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
- 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)
Hydroelectric operations create special concerns
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 also need to be alert
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 and canoeing safety: Use approved life jackets
- 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 inside the gate.
Swimming info: No lifeguards on duty
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.
History & 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.