Buntzen Lake Trail

Quick Facts:

  • AllTrails link: Buntzen Lake Trail
  • Difficulty: moderate (eastern section easier than the western section, with option to walk back to parking lot on Pipeline Trail which is a flat service road.)
  • Traffic: extremely busy on weekends especially in warmer months, parking lot may be full. We don’t even try to come here on weekends in the summer any more.
  • Facilities: flush toilet, picnic area, sandy beach, water activities
  • View: beautiful lake view
  • Overall score: 7/10

Trip report: February 2021

We came to Buntzen Lake for a quick day hike in the winter. Almost immediately we were taken by the misty mountains and cool winter air. The trail was very well maintained, with essentially no obstacles. No snow and no muddy sections on the day of our visit.

The trail was still one-way, counter-clockwise, but there are several exit points on the eastern section to go on the flat service road Pipeline Trail back to parking.

We took our time with the hike, so by the time we finished a quick meal break on the North Beach, it was 2pm. We decided to rush back by taking Pipeline Trail, so that Billy could get some paddling in before the park closed at 5pm.

A BC Hydro service car actually drove past us when we were walking, so it would be prudent to keep your ears open if you follow this route. What took us 2 hours to walk on the lakeside trail only took 40 minutes to complete on this paved road.

Trip report: August 2020

This one has been high on our local hikes bucket list for quite some time, but every time when we attempted to come the parking lot was always full. We finally secured a parking spot on a beautiful Wednesday morning.

As mentioned previously on Billy’s post about Buntzen Lake paddle, the lake is gorgeous and big enough for a good paddleboard workout for the whole day. We tackled the Buntzen Lake Trail, which is a 12km moderate loop trail around Buntzen Lake. With the current COVID-19 precautions, the trail only allows one way traffic going counter-clockwise, which means you either have to finish the 12 km hike or detour onto an exposed service road to double back.

Trail Condition

Given the great paddle-ability of the lake and the loop trail, we took out our paddleboard and did a hybrid hike and paddle relay. I paddled first to North Beach and waited for the rest of the gang to meet up, then Billy paddled back while we hiked the second leg. It was an exhilarating paddle, and the farthest I’ve paddled so far!

Final preparation for my solo paddle involves setting up the GoPro’s remote control on Billy’s phone app.
From South Beach to North Beach took me about 1 hour.
We couldn’t have done the paddle/hiking combo trip with two kids without Grandpa and Grandma’s help!

On the hiking trail, the gravel road consists of numerous rocks and branches and is not stroller friendly. There are a few uphills to go through, so be prepared for a bit of a climb.

This was not staged. He just copied what we did when we were taking a break.

The first leg of the trail to North Beach is shorter and easier compared to the second leg of the trail on the west side of the lake, the latter with steepers hills and bigger rocks. The view, however, is definitely more beautiful on the way back as the trail is closer to the lake. There is a long stretch of the trail where you are just hiking beside the lake and can see every paddle boarders and kayakers clearly. Junior had a great time talking to our paddle boarding daddy while hiking.

View of the hikers from the water.
View of the paddleboarder from the trail.

To make this hike even more interesting, there are two main bridges to go through. The first one is a suspension bridge, which is very close to North Beach. This bridge does sway a bit, which makes it even more fun for the little one. COVID-19 precaution only allows 4 people on this bridge at one time. The second bridge is the “Floating Bridge” which doesn’t sway like the previous one, but has several greens surrounding the bridge giving off a garden feel.

One thing to be aware of is that part of the trail goes alongside power houses. Buntzen Lake is a power-generating lake operated by BC Hydro, after all. As soon as the trail goes into the forested area, these power houses are no longer in sight.


South Beach is a much bigger beach when compared to North Beach, and right off the parking lot, so most activities happen there. Water activity is the main attraction for visitors. You can do all sorts of different paddling sports here or swim in the beautiful lake. There are lifeguards in South Beach but none in North Beach. A sign advised that there are sudden drops in the lake closer to North Beach so be very cautious when swimming by there. South beach, however, has an enclosed area specifically for swimming use.

Sign at North Beach.

There are also several picnic tables around South Beach. This beach does get crowded very easily especially during weekend as the facilities are just amazing. North Beach however, is less crowded, but is much smaller with only about 4 picnic tables available.


There are not one but two washrooms by South Beach, both with flush toilets. At North Beach there are two pit toilets available. No other washroom can be found throughout the trail.


Feeding on the beach is convenient, as there are several picnic tables and benches; however, there are no benches throughout the trail. You may have to choose a log to sit on if baby needs food during hiking on the trail.


The trail is very quiet when we went at 9:30am on a Wednesday. However, it can get very busy on the weekend. We were blocked by the entrance several times trying to get to the lake, so we vowed not to make another weekend attempt during the summer months.


Dogs must be leashed at all times on the trail.

Overall this hike was very enjoyable, even though there are parts where you have to go up steep hills. The hiking and paddling combo was amazing too!

Stay in touch with Outdoor Family

Subscribe to get the latest posts sent to your email.

2 responses to “Buntzen Lake Trail”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *