Buntzen Lake - Trip Description
Total distance (circumnavigation of lake): 9 km (5.6 miles)
Coordinates (WGS 84):
N49 20.405 W122 51.517 - Put-in location
Canadian Topographic Maps:
Nestled in the mountains between Indian Arm and Coquitlam Lake, Buntzen Lake is a spectacular jewel in the vicinity of Vancouver. About 4.5 kilometres in length, circumnavigating by way of the shore is about a 9 kilometre paddle. Bunzten Lake is a very popular location on weekends and during the summer, but on rainy days you'll find only a few people fishing and perhaps a few hikers on the trail around the lake.
Buntzen Lake is a reservoir used to control the flow to the Buntzen Power Stations on Indian Arm. Large pipes flow water from the lake, down a steep incline to the power generators 160 metres (520 feet) below. The inflow to the lake comes from a 3.6 kilometre long tunnel that cuts through the mountain from Coquitlam Lake. Coquitlam Lake also serves as Vancouver's main fresh water reservoir.
Buntzen Lake is managed by BC Hydro, who do a terrific job of maintaining the parks and trails. At the north west end of the lake, you'll find the inflow tunnel from Coquitlam Lake -- the currents when water discharging can be very swift and turbulent so use caution in this area. Another area to be cautious is the outflow at the extreme north end of the lake near the public beach. There are signs near the pedestrian suspension bridge with warnings of the strong currents -- it's a good idea to pay heed to these warning signs.
If you are looking for a paddling destination that is fairly close to the city in a wilderness setting, Buntzen Lake will fit the bill nicely. The lake is very well protected from the effects of the wind and weather and as such makes a good destination for the novice paddler.
Canoe and kayak rentals are available at the Anmore store (604)469-9928 on Sunnyside Road near the entrance to the lake.
Note that access to the lake closes each evening. Hours change with the seasons. Call the Buntzen Lake Warden's office at (604)469-9679 for current hours.
From Port Moody: From Lougheed Hwy (Hwy 7A) turn north on Ioco Road and follow it for approximately 800 metres. At the traffic lights, turn left to continue on Ioco Road (there are signs) and continue for approximately 4 kilometres before turning right on 1st Avenue. After approximately 750 metres keep to the right and follow Sunnyside Road to its end. From the end of Sunnyside Road, take the well marked road into Buntzen Lake. Parking is free.
Trip date: November 6, 2004
Weather: Rain, cool
Water condition: Smooth
Tides/currents: Current was well evident at the Coquitlam Lake inflow as well as at the powerhouse outflow at the north end of the lake.
Submitted by: Dan Millsip
Images copyright: Dan Millsip