Dundarave Paddle


  • Difficulty – choppy waters even with low wind conditions
  • Boat traffic – no boats near the coast
  • View – nice views of suburban coast line, Lions Gate Bridge, and Lighthouse Park
  • Facilities – public washrooms available
  • Launch – Beach launch
  • Overall score – 7/10

The southern coast of West Vancouver from Ambleside Park to Lighthouse Park is almost a mirror image of the Vancouver coastline from Kitsilano Beach to Wreck Beach. It’s the usual backdrop of my Vancouver paddles. After paddling the Vancouver side of the Burrard Inlet dozens of times, I wanted to explore the West Van side as well.

Leaving Dundarave and heading east

Having a much smaller population, the West Vancouver side is usually quieter. The focal view point is Lions Gate Bridge to the East, and Point Atkinson Lighthouse to the West. It’s otherwise similar in many ways: it’s dotted with many small parks along the coast from which paddlers can launch or pull out to rest; majority of the 10km or so is lined with multi-million dollar water front houses; and at the end of the paddle near Lighthouse Park, wilderness reins and the waters become more exposed.

Lions Gate Bridge to the West
Houses and Lighthouse Park to the East

I did some online searching and found this very helpful guide (Part 1, Part 2) about paddling along the West Vancouver coast.

Tina and I came to Dundarave for a nice lunch, and I had the chance to paddle around for an hour or so on a crisp (4 degrees) but sunny February afternoon.

There are 4-hour free parking spots quite close to the beach. It’s a short 100m walk to launch.

Pumping up my board by my car.

Launching from a protected beach.

There’s also a pier, but it’s closed due to storm damage.

I wore a wetsuit, a wool jacket, a nylon windbreaker, and fleece pants. I also had waterproof Sharkskin socks, shoes, and neoprene gloves. I was quickly too warm and had to remove my gloves. The waterproof socks were amazing. It kept my feet and pants dry and warm even though I had to step into the water to launch from the beach.

There’s a public washroom available to get changed.

Public washroom at Dundarave Park

It’s the first time in about a year since I paddled with my wetsuit, and I had forgotten how restrictive it can be. It’s like paddling with exercise bands all over the body. It also took some time for me to get used to paddling with shoes, which felt unnatural but necessary for warmth.

It may just be the day, but the water here seems a bit choppier than Vancouver. I wonder if the geography made a difference, since there’s much more tidal flow through the Narrows, which can create an interesting interactions between water current and wind.

I paddled for about 30 minutes and reached the West Bay. It was not easy to spot where the public beach at West Bay Park was from the water. It all just looked like pebbly beach in front of some waterfront houses. I turned around and called it a short outing this day.

I plan to check out more sections of the West Van coast and will come back to update. Perhaps even a down-winder trip along the entire length might be doable!


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