9 Things To Do at Buntzen Lake Recreation Area

A woman stands on the shore of Buntzen Lake near Vancouver

Photo: Ben Waardenburg/Unsplash

The hydroelectric reservoir of Buntzen Lake is a popular recreation area for Vancouverites. The long lake has a great beach and it is surrounded by forested mountains and tons of trails.


Day Passes

Starting in late June 2022, you must book a parking pass to visit Buntzen Lake by car. Passes are available to book starting at 12 a.m. one day in advance of your planned visit. There is no cell service at Buntzen Lake, so print out your pass or save it as a screenshot on your phone. You can choose between a morning, afternoon, or all-day pass. Passes are free.


How to Get to Buntzen Lake Recreation Area

By Car: From Vancouver, take Hastings Street east and stay on it as it turns into Barnet Highway. Turn left onto St. John’s Street and follow it for a few minutes, then turn left again onto Ioco Road, which turns into Heritage Mountain Road as it goes up the hill. At the roundabout, go right onto David Avenue. Take the next left onto Forest Park Way, then go left again onto Aspenwood Drive, which becomes East Road. There are frequent signs for Buntzen Lake to keep you on track. Stay on East Road until a T-junction where you turn right onto Sunnyside Road and follow it into the park.

By Public Transit: On summer weekends, take the Skytrain to Coquitlam Central Station, then catch the 179 bus – it goes all the way to the Buntzen Lake day-use area. Or take the SkyTrain to Moody Centre Station, then catch the 182 bus. Get off at the Anmore Store at the end of Sunnyside Road and walk 30 minutes into the park.


Tips for Visiting

  • Visit the park website and use the park map and hiking trail map to plan your trip.
  • The park opens at 8 a.m. each day and closes in the early evening. Closing times vary with the season. Check opening hours on the park website so you don’t get locked in.
  • If you plan to arrive by car, don’t forget to book a free day pass.
  • Dogs must be on-leash throughout the park. Dogs are not permitted in the main beach area but there is a designated dog beach where your pup can roam off-leash
  • Smoking, vaping, cannabis, drones, alcohol, fires, and collecting plants are not allowed.
  • There are washrooms at South Beach and a pit toilet at North Beach.
  • Be safe in the park. AdventureSmart recommends bringing a backpack with essential safety and first aid gear on every hike. Check the forecast and pack extra clothing for the weather. Leave a trip plan so someone knows where you are going and when you will be back.
  • Read our tips for safe summer hiking in Vancouver.


Hit the Beach

South Beach at Buntzen Lake has a large expanse of sand popular with families. The lake is a great spot to cool off on a hot day. The water is warmer than the ocean, but still pretty chilly.


Hike Around the Lake

The easy trail around Buntzen Lake is a popular hike. It weaves through a gorgeous rainforest with lots of views of the lake. You will also get to cross both a floating bridge and a suspension bridge. Take a break at secluded North Beach near the halfway mark. The 10-kilometre-long loop hike takes about 3.5 hours. Our Buntzen Lake Trail guide has all the details.


Let Your Dog Explore Nature

Buntzen Lake is a great dog-friendly destination. Dogs are allowed on all trails as long as they are on-leash. As well, there is a designated off-leash dog beach where your pup can run, dig, and splash in the water.


Go Paddling

At 4.8 kilometres long, Buntzen Lake has plenty of shoreline to explore by canoe or kayak. You can bring your own and use the boat launch at South Beach. Or rent a canoe at the Anmore Store located just outside the park.


Bring a Picnic

With a sandy beach and lots of grass, Buntzen Lake is a perfect picnic spot. There is also a large covered picnic shelter that is first-come, first-served.


Go Mountain Biking

Many of the trails at Buntzen Lake are multi-use, so they are open to mountain bikers. The park includes a mix of single-track trails, old roads, and gravel powerline access roads which you can combine for some great cross-country style mountain biking. Use the park map to plan a route.


Go Trail Running

The network of trails around Buntzen Lake makes the area a popular trail running destination. Some trails, like the loop around the lake, are well manicured and great for beginners. Experienced trail runners can tackle the more rugged high elevation trails. Use the trail map to plan your route.


Hike to Incredible Views on the Diez Vistas Trail

In Spanish, Diez Vistas means “ten views”. While the trail may have had ten viewpoints when it was originally built in the 1980s, today there are fewer as the trees have grown in. But the remaining lookouts provide great vantage points of Buntzen Lake, Sasamat Lake, Vancouver, Deep Cove, and Indian Arm. The moderately challenging 15 km loop hike takes 6-7 hours to complete. Get the details in our Diez Vistas Trail guide.


Explore the Trails

Most hikers stick to the popular Buntzen Lake Trail or Diez Vistas Trail. That means that if you venture onto one of the other trails in the park, you might get it all to yourself. Experienced hikers should tackle the steep trails on the Lindsay Lake Loop which includes great views and gorgeous subalpine lakes. If you’re looking for an easy option, check out the Energy Trail which includes interpretive displays. Check out the trail map for info and more trail options.


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