Rice Lake on Vancouver’s North Shore
Accessed by hiking from the Seymour Demonstration Forest parking lot (at the end of Lillooet Road, up past Capilano University) or the trails starting at the top of Lynn Valley Road, Rice Lake is part of a natural wonderland region that includes Lynn Canyon Park (with its suspension bridge) and Lynn Headwaters Regional Park.
Rice Lake Fishing
Rice Lake is a good lake to fish from in the spring and fall. Boating of any kind isn’t permitted on the lake, but there is a great dock structure that is popular to fish from, and some people will also cast from the shore.
The daily quota for the lake is two rainbow trout. After you catch and keep two, you need to catch and release the rest.
Rice Lake Hiking Trails
Rice Lake is a perfect place for leisurely hikes. A fairly level trail goes all around the lake and makes for an enjoyable (and easy) walk. From start to finish, the route takes between 30 minutes and an hour depending on how fast you walk and if you stop for breaks to enjoy the view.
Rice Lake is beautiful throughout the year as the forest trees are mostly coniferous, so they don’t lose their leaves.
In the summer the walks around the lake are nice and cool as there is a lot of shade, and in the winter, unlike Vancouver’s many parks with deciduous trees, the scenery is never bleak. It’s a stunning place 365 days of the year, or at least when it’s not pouring rain.
In addition to the gravel trail around Rice Lake itself, there are dozens of other trails in the area. Dogs and bicycles are permitted on some of the trails, but not the one that goes around the lake.
Rice Lake Video
Below is a video that shows you what the trail around the lake is like. As you can see, both the lake and the forest trails are beautiful.
The video was taken in the afternoon in April of 2020 and covers about a 45-minute period of time.
Our walk started by the End of the Line General Store at 4193 Lynn Valley Road (which doesn’t appear in the video). The filming starts on the trail just up the hill from there. The trail crosses a bridge (also not shown) and leads to the entrance to the Seymour Demonstration Forest (which is where the woman stops briefly to check the map near the beginning of the video, and where people often start the hike as there is parking in the area).
From the map the rest of the walk is only about half an hour or so, depending on how fast you walk. Other much longer trails though are also in the area. Had the woman veered right shortly after the map she would have found the paved cycling trail that winds through the forest. She veers left, however, and heads toward the trail leading to Rice Lake.
The video is about 3 minutes and 50 seconds long and takes you along the full loop around the lake. The first half of the video features the path that takes you to Rice Lake starting from just before the entrance to the Seymour Demonstration Forest. Dogs are allowed along this first little bit, but not past the gate which appears about a minute and 20 seconds into the video.
Some Sights to See
Shortly after the gate, the woman in the video stops to look at a wooden structure which is a replica of part of what log chutes used to look like. Years ago, before tractor trailers, helicopters and heavy machinery, structures like this were miles long and filled with flowing water which would take fresh cut logs from the area and carry them all the way down to the ocean! Quite remarkable when you think about it!
Shortly after she sees the piece of log chute, about halfway through the video, the woman reaches the lake and walks around it. The lake takes about 20 minutes or so to walk around. The trail winds through the forest and views of the lake along the way are stunning. The dock you can see in the video is a popular place for fishing.
On the day of our visit, within a 10-minute time frame, we saw people catch about five fish. They were trout, and not so big, but it was still an exceptionally good day for fishing from the docks.
Photos and video don’t do Rice Lake justice, especially on sunny days. The video though will still give you a good idea of what to expect. It’ll also help explain why Rice Lake is one of our all-time favourite places in the Lower Mainland! It’s easy to get to and perfect for short and not too-strenuous walks in nature.
Tips and Advice
Below are some tips to help you make the most out of your visit to Rice Lake.
TIP #1: The best time for fishing at Rice Lake is in the spring and fall, which is when the lake gets stocked with fishable-sized rainbow trout.
TIP #2: Make sure you have a fresh water fishing license, unless you are under 16 and a resident of BC, as there are fines if you don’t. If you are over 16 you need a license which costs between about $36 and $80 for the period of April 1 to March 31 depending on your residency, or $10-20 for a one-day license. For more information, or to buy a license online, click BC Fishing Licenses.
Click Lower Seymour Conservation Reserve Map for a map of the area.
If you like Rice Lake, other comparable places you’ll probably also like in other parts of the Lower Mainland include the following:
- Kanaka Creek in Maple Ridge
- Maplewood Flats in North Vancouver
- Inter River Park in North Vancouver
- Whyte Lake in West Vancouver (although it involves a more strenuous hike)
- Great Blue Heron Nature Reserve in Chilliwack
- Reifel Bird Sanctuary in Delta
- Alice Lake in Squamish
- Minnekhada Regional Park in Coquitlam
- Sasamat Lake near Port Moody
- Buntzen Lake near Port Moody
- Murrin Park near Squamish
Other articles that might be of interest include the following:
- Vancouver Parks & Nature
- Lower Mainland Outdoor Recreation
- Vancouver on a Budget
- Metro Vancouver’s Top 100 Places
- Vancouver’s Best Hiking Trails