Trip 226 - July 29, 2021 (Thursday)

Buntzen Lake Trail Hike

Near Anmore, British Columbia, Canada


Distance from Vancouver to the Trailhead: Approximately 26 km via Hastings Street, Inlet Drive, Barnet Highway, St. John's St, Ioco Rd, Heritage Mountain Blvd, Apsenwood Dr, East Rd, and a few other short streets - signs to Buntzen Lake starting from Ioco Rd make getting to the trailhead easy.

Liked: A mostly easy trail with little elevation change. Lake views. Numerous fine forest views. Suspension bridge. Floating bridge. Shade in the forest. No bugs.

Of Note: Some short hills. Rocks and roots. Uneven ground. Hiking poles and boots are recommended. Beware of park gate closure times (quite early).

Vancouver, Coast & Mountains Backroad Mapbook (5th edition) Trailhead Coordinates: Page 12 (Pinecone Burke Provincial Park) A7.

Buntzen Lake Trail goes around a very popular lake near the village of Anmore in Metro Vancouver. While most Buntzen Lake visitors are perfectly happy walking a few hundred meters from the three huge parking lots to the South Beach for their recreational adventure, some hardy souls brave a 4-km-long East side lake trail to the North beach, where the crowd is much smaller. And, for the hikers among us, crossing a suspension bridge and continuing along the West side of Buntzen Lake for over 5 kilometers completes the loop and brings us back to the parking lot.

We did the loop today, and it was a very fine hike. A few good views of Buntzen Lake, several fine forest scenes, plenty of shade, no bugs, very little elevation change - perfect conditions on a warm day. We have met dozens of fellow hikers, a few woodpeckers, and even a small snake. Crossing the suspension bridge was a neat experience as well.

Beware of a very early park gate closure time (8 PM even in the middle of Summer), lest you be stuck enjoying the beach overnight.

1. We are at the first Buntzen Lake parking lot after you enter the recreation area. For photo-directions on getting here from Vancouver, check out our Belcarra Regional Park and Lindsay Lake Loop trip reports.

2. Buntzen Lake Loop starts on the East side of South Beach (far right, if facing the lake). The first parking lot is the closest to the beginning of the loop, but the last one is the closest to the end (though, all three lots are right next to each other). Here we are at the information stand, with the trail beginning across a bridge on the right side (behind the stand), and the gate leading back to the beach on the far left side of the photo below.

3. Here is that bridge marking the start of Buntzen Lake Trail. Coordinates: N 4920.410' W 12251.308'. Elevation: 133 meters.

4. And here is a trail map, posted on the information stand. We have indicated as follows: red square - South beach and the trailhead; yellow square - North beach and the suspension bridge; blue square - floating bridge. Buntzen Lake Trail is marked #4 on the map. Of note is trail #6, which is a very picturesque (but much tougher) Diez Vistas Trail on the West side of Buntzen Lake. Diez Vistas Trail starts and ends off Buntzen Lake West trail. 

5. East side of Buntzen Lake Trail is shorter and easier than the West side. It's also closer to the lake. Here we are at 730 meters from the trailhead (all distances are based on a GPS odometer and are approximate).

6. At 780 meters, we are about to cross one of the numerous small bridges on Buntzen Lake Trail.

7. At 830 meters, there is a split. Buntzen Lake Trail continues to the right. And, to the left, is a short trail to a lake viewpoint.

8. We proceeded to the viewpoint at first.

9. There is a garbage can there, an observation platform, and a neat lake view. Coordinates: N 4920.742' W 12251.378'. Elevation: 126 meters.

10. Zoomed view of the main (South) beach from the viewpoint.

11. Now continuing on Buntzen Lake Trail. About 90 meters from the viewpoint split, a right turn would lead to Powerhouse Road, which runs parallel to the East side of the trail all the way to the North Beach. By making a right turn, it's possible to go back to the parking lot via Powerhouse Road. We have noticed substantially fewer people on Buntzen Lake Trail past this point, so it appears many people do precisely this loop hike. There is another right turn to Powerhouse Road about 1.3 km from the viewpoint split.

12. And now a zoomed view of the North beach from approximately 2.2 km point past the viewpoint split (about 3 km from the trailhead). As you can see, it's much smaller and less crowded than the South beach. The suspension bridge is seen on the left side.

13-14. About 2.5 km from the viewpoint split (3.3 km from the trailhead), Buntzen Lake Trail comes out of the woods and joins Powerhouse Road.

15. Make a left turn, and re-enter the woods 30 meters later, right by those garbage cans.

16. Back in the woods, with North Beach quickly approaching.

17. Finally, approximately 4 kilometers from the trailhead, we are at Buntzen Lake near the North Beach. Right here is a tunnel connecting Coquitlam and Buntzen reservoirs, so a warning message on a stand asks to keep away. The beach is just a hundred meters further down the trail.

18-19. And here is the tunnel.

20. Now at the Buntzen Lake North Beach. No lifeguard here, very little sand, lots of grass and small stones. Coordinates: N 4921.898' W 12251.366'. Elevation: 117 meters (16 meters elevation loss from the trailhead).

21. Buntzen Lake with a dock.

22. Buntzen Lake without a dock.

23. Go past the beach and proceed to the West side of Buntzen Lake trail.

24. Here is that suspension bridge. Apparently, it's in a rather rough shape, and only four people are allowed to be on the bridge at the same time. A staff member sits by the bridge all day long to ensure the safety of bridge users.

25. Buntzen Lake suspension bridge.

Here is our video of crossing Buntzen Lake Suspension Bridge.

More ihikebc.com videos are on our YouTube Channel.

26. At 280 meters after the West side trailhead, a right turn signals the beginning (or the end, depending which way you are hiking) of Diez Vistas trail. The other end is by the floating bridge seen in photo #30.

27. We proceeded to the left to stay on Buntzen Lake Trail. The West side of the trail is somewhat longer and rougher than the East side, and there are substantially fewer people here.

28. Having hiked for 3.9 km from the North Beach, you come out of the woods past this entrance gate.

29. The road then comes closer to the lake and becomes very smooth.

30. Approaching the floating bridge.

31. At 5.0 km from the North Beach, we are at a major intersection. Coordinates: N 4919.817' W 12251.622'. Elevation: 117 meters. To the right is the other end of Diez Vistas Trail. Straight ahead is the park gate. And, to the left, is a floating bridge and the continuation of Buntzen Lake Trail.

32. Crossing the floating bridge.

33. After the floating bridge, there is another intersection. Make a left turn.

34. Approaching the parking lots.

35. And here we are, at the 3rd parking lot, 5.8 kilometers from the North Beach. Coordinates: N 4920.180' W 12251.501'. Elevation: 127 meters.

Buntzen Lake Trail is a very pleasant, easy hike, with numerous fine views and access to the North Beach. Highly recommended.


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