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Metro Vancouver’s Buntzen Lake

Buntzen Lake

Buntzen Lake is a beautiful recreation site in Metro Vancouver with a lake, hiking trails and an active hydroelectric power generator.

The place is only a 20-minute drive from Port Moody.


TRAIL MODIFICATIONS, BUNTZEN LAKE & COVID-19

As of the beginning of July, 2020, most trails around Buntzen Lake are apparently open. However, both the Buntzen Lake Loop Trail and the Diez Vistas Trail are currently one-way. Additionally, the Energy Trail remains closed.

Note: Although technically “open,” at least according to the venue’s official website, when we were driving in the area on Sunday, July 5th, there were signs on the road that said Buntzen Lake was closed. We think it was “closed” as it had reached maximum capacity, but we’re not 100% sure.

They do close the road to Buntzen Lake when the parking lots get full, and on the beautiful sunny day that we went parks all over the Lower Mainland were overflowing.

For the most up-to-date details about the status of the park see the BC Hydro website.


Buntzen Lake

Buntzen Lake is a popular park located just north of Anmore and about 10 km from Port Moody. It’s a smaller park that is surrounded by Belcarra Regional Park to the south and Indian Arm Provincial Park to the north.

The lake is actually a BC Hydro reservoir. Consequently, the park and recreation areas are all maintained by the electricity company.

History

The area was named Buntzen Lake in 1905 after the first general manager of the BC Electric Railway Company, Johannes Buntzen. Prior to that the lake was actually called “Lake Beautiful”.

Once Vancouver’s main electricity source, the lake now produces less than 0.4% of Vancouver’s electricity. However, it is still an active hydroelectric site.

Getting to Buntzen Lake

Buntzen Lake is accessible both by car and by public transit. To get to the lake by car you have to drive to Anmore and then head north on Sunnyside Road.

To get to Buntzen Lake by public transit there are two options (depending on the season). Year-round folk can take bus #182 but it is around a 2-km walk from the nearest stop to South Beach.

There is also a seasonal bus – bus #179 – which runs on weekends and holidays from around Canada Day in early July until Labour Day in early September. It goes directly to the main parking lot.

Dock at Buntzen Lake
The docks at Buntzen Lake

Visiting Buntzen Lake

Despite the fact that there are literally hundreds of spaces in the Buntzen Lake parking lot, the area can get very busy, especially in summer. For folk wanting to get a good parking spot and spend the day there it is recommended to arrive before 10 am on a sunny weekend.

There are picnic areas at both the North Beach and South Beach sections of the lake. The South Beach area is generally much busier since it is right next to the parking lot.

Both beaches have picnic areas. The one at South Beach, however, also has a covered picnic shelter. Canoeing, kayaking and other non-motorized water sports are permitted on the lake, with a rental store located in nearby Anmore. Battery-powered boats are also permitted on the lake.

In addition to the beaches, the area has many trails for hiking, biking and horseback riding. Fishing is allowed as the lake is often stocked with trout and small kokanee. There is also a dog park.

Hiking in the Area

Buntzen Lake is surrounded by a large selection of trails. Visitors can park at Buntzen Lake or they can hike from Sasamat Lake over to Buntzen Lake. The trails range in difficulty from short and easy walks to long uphill loops.

One popular trail is the Diez Vistas Trail that leads around the hills surrounding Buntzen Lake. The trail is 15 kilometres long and takes anywhere from 6 to 8 hours to complete. If you do this hike make sure to take adequate emergency supplies and give yourself lots of time to get back before it gets dark.

There is also a shorter trail that runs around the circumference of the lake. The Buntzen Lake Loop is only about 8 kilometres long and takes 4 to 5 hours to complete.

Fishing at Buntzen Lake
Fishing at Buntzen Lake

Other Information

For more information about the Buntzen Lake recreation site see the BC Hydro website.

For details about the area see our article on Port Moody.

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