Stave Lake - Trip Description
Total distance (to and from Rocky Point): 20.0 km (12.5 miles)
Coordinates (WGS 84):
N49 14.290 W122 21.730 - Put-in location
Canadian Topographic Maps:
Stave Lake is a very different than most lakes in the Lower Mainland area -- as you paddle along its shores, you can't help but notice a sublime beauty in this environmental statement of the requirements of a large nearby population.
In 1909 planning started for a hydro electic facility in the Stave Valley by the Western Canada Power Company and by early 1912 the plan was completed. The Stave Falls Dam and Powerhouse were completed in 1928 after a two year construction schedule and Stave Valley was flooded, creating Stave Lake. As a part of the Alouette-Stave-Ruskin generation system, hydroelectricity generated from Stave Lake is used by the Lower Mainland region. In January 2000, Stave Falls Dam and Powerhouse was upgraded to increase the efficiency of the dam.
Approximately 20 percent of the inflow to Stave Lake comes from a man-made tunnel from Alouette Lake. This tunnel carries water to the Alouette Generating Station on the west shore of Stave Lake, located seven kilometres north of Rocky Point.
The southern arm of Stave Lake was formed in a very shallow valley and this is immediately apparent as you paddle, by the enormous number of stumps in and under the water. These stumps were a result of extensive logging prior to the flooding of the valley.
There is currently active logging in the valley, although clear-cutting methods of the past have been replaced with modern selective logging practices which are not as damaging to the environment. Logging equipment is visible from the water as you near Rocky Point where a dock is located for the purpose of transporting logging equipment to destinations further up the lake.
After about 7.5 kilometres you will come to a large clearing on the west side of the lake. This area, with a shoreline of approximately 2 kilometres, is used by off-road enthusiasts and on weekends is chock full of pickup trucks, quads, and dirt bikes. There is a lot of activity and noise, so if you're looking for a weekend paddling destination that is quiet and serene, this may not be the ideal trip (you can't hear the off-roaders during the first 7 kilometres of this trip).
Overall, the section of Stave Lake from the boat launch to Rocky Point is a very enjoyable place to paddle, there are many great spots to stop for lunch or to simply relax and take in all the scenery, the off-roaders are entertaining to watch, and the stumps can make for a very interesting day of dodging obstacles.
If you wish to avoid the stumps, follow the green and red channel markers.
Additional Information about Stave Lake:
- BC Hydro Recreation Areas website
- Go east on Broadway, which becomes Lougheed Highway (No.7), or
- Go east on Hastings, which becomes Barnet Highway (No.7A), which turns into Lougheed Highway in Coquitlam, or
- Go east on Highway 1 and take Exit 44 before the Port Mann Bridge, following the signs to Lougheed Highway (No.7), heading east. Stay in the right lane on Lougheed Highway (about 5 km). The highway bears right at a major intersection and continues east towards Maple Ridge.
Then keep going east along Lougheed Highway over the Pitt River Bridge. Go about 6 km beyond bridge, then turn left onto Dewdney Trunk Road (note: do not take the access to Dewdney Trunk Road immediately after the bridge). Go east on Dewdney Trunk Road for about 23 km until you reach the Stave Falls Dam. Turn left and follow the gravel road at the west side of the dam for approximately 1 kilometre -- the boat launch and parking are on the right.
- From Abbotsford take Highway 11 to Mission. Go west on Lougheed Highway (No.7) towards Maple Ridge until you reach 287th, then turn right. (287th becomes Wilson Road near Ruskin Dam, which is the first dam you come to.) Continue until the road ends at Dewdney Trunk Road and turn right. Follow Dewdney Trunk Road for about 4 km until you reach the Stave Falls Dam. Turn left and follow the gravel road at the west side of the dam for approximately 1 kilometre -- the boat launch and parking are on the right.
Trip date: March 6, 2005
Weather: Overcast, cool
Water condition: Smooth
Submitted by: Dan Millsip
Images copyright: Dan Millsip