Whonnock Lake is a body of water with a sandy beach in Maple Ridge. Located about 60 km east of downtown Vancouver, Whonnock Lake Park is a picturesque spot.
There are a couple of docks at the lake and a fancy sheltered picnic structure. There is also a good-sized children’s play area.
If you’re looking for a place to fish from a dock, take your canoe or kayak, or spend time with young children, it’s a great destination and the scenery is beautiful.
A hidden gem in eastern Maple Ridge, Whonnock Lake is a small natural muskeg lake. Water flows into the lake from the north and out via a human-maintained channel to the east.
Whonnock Lake is home to a variety of wildlife. The lake’s bog-like environment attracts several species of birds, fish and frogs. The lake is stocked at various times of the year with trout, which makes it popular with fishing enthusiasts. Beaver also live in the area, so don’t be surprised if you see a dam in the distance.
About Whonnock Lake
Whonnock Lake Park can be found at 27871 113th Avenue. It’s just south of Dewdney Trunk Road between the northern part of Kanaka Creek Regional Park in Maple Ridge and Hayward Lake in Mission. It’s also about 10 km southwest of Rolley Lake.
There is quite a bit of parking at Whonnock Lake. The park has two main parking areas as well as an overflow lot near the basketball court. There is also boat launch parking close to the waterfront. Overnight parking is not permitted, nor is camping anywhere in the area.
Opening hours at the lake are usually from around 6:00 am until 10:00 pm Monday through Sunday, although exact hours are subject to change. The park is usually closed from 10:00 pm until dawn the next morning.
Activities at Whonnock Lake
A number of activities are possible at Whonnock Lake. The abundance of fish and other wildlife make it a popular choice for fishing. Other water sports including swimming and boating are also possible.
In the centre of the park is the Whonnock Lake Gazebo. The undercover shelter can be rented and used for barbecues and other gatherings. Fires at the park are also permitted in cooking stoves and area fire pits.
Other activities in the park include basketball and beach volleyball. There is also a rhododendron garden near the Whonnock Lake Centre.
In winter, in extra cold years, the lake can freeze over. There have been years when outdoor ice skating has been possible. If you go and the water is frozen though, don’t go out on the ice unless you are 100% sure it is safe to do so. If there isn’t signage stating that the ice is safe, don’t try it out!
Dogs are not permitted on the beach, grassy area or the kids’ playground (which are the main parts of the park). Dogs are, however, permitted on-leash in other areas including on the pathways and outside the community centre building.
The Waterfront and Water Sport Activities
Whonnock Lake is popular with families and people of all ages, especially during the summer months. The lake is fairly warm and has a roped-off area for swimming. There is no lifeguard on duty, however, so visitors swim at their own risk.
The beach can get quite busy in warmer months, especially on sunny days. The water is refreshing. Because the lake is actually a bog (or it would be if left in its natural state), however, it can be a bit squishy underfoot in parts. That doesn’t bother most folk though, and the beach itself is nice and sandy.
There are two docks at the lake. One though is only open to the public when not in use by the local Canoe & Kayak Club. The Club’s dock is the one at the western side of the beach. It’s the one in the photo at the top of this article. The other dock is at the eastern end of the beach and in the photo below.
Power boats, including boats with electric motors, are not permitted on the lake. Non-motorized boats like canoes, kayaks and paddleboards are allowed. Inflatable toys are also popular. In the summer boats are sometimes available for rent.
Whonnock Lake Centre
The Whonnock Lake Centre is a short distance west of the main park and beach area. The building hosts a selection of community activities and programs. It’s also home to the Maple Ridge Canoe & Kayak Club.
Amenities at the Whonnock Lake Centre include a banquet hall, community hall, kitchen, meeting rooms and chairs and tables. Up to 160 people can be hosted at a time in the building. Weddings and other gatherings often take place at the Centre. (For details about renting this space and others in the municipality, see the City of Maple Ridge‘s website.)
At the Centre there are public washrooms with flush toilets that can be accessed without going inside the main building. They aren’t always open, but are in the summer and other busy times. Closer to the beach and available year-round are portable outhouses.
Whonnock Lake Video
Below is a video that shows what Whonnock Lake looks like in winter. It was taken in late February of 2021.
The video begins at the edge of the park near the main parking lot. In the video you’ll get a glimpse of the children’s play area which includes a sandy area, swings, a small slide and other structures to climb. You’ll also see the beautiful gazebo-style picnic shelter and the park’s two docks.
As you’ll see in the video, the park and the lake are beautiful, even in winter. In summer, as you can imagine, it’s a busy place!
See the City of Maple Ridge‘s website for more details about the park.
To learn about other parks in the region check out the following articles:
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