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TRAIL REVIEW- Buntzen Lake

Buntzen Lake Reservoir is one of the most popular BC Hydro recreation sites in the province & serves not only as a source of hydroelectric power but also as an attractive recreation area for public enjoyment.

Buntzen Lake’s amazing setting, adjacent hiking trails and cooling waters make it a popular destination year round.

Whether you are planning a short ride through a coastal lowland rain forest or a more adventurous ride into the surrounding mountains or a day of mountain biking, the Buntzen Lake area offers a trail to suit you.


From the Fraser Valley head west on Hwy 1. Take the first exit after the Port Mann bridge and follow Hwy 7 East (Lougheed). When you get to the big intersection at Coquitlam centre, turn left onto Barnett Hwy. Next turn right onto Ioco. Follow the signs to Anmore, Buntzen Lake. It will seem like you are driving through some fancy subdivisions. Don’t get put off. This is correct. Once in the park, the Horse Staging (and Overflow parking) is about 1 km in on the right.

The parking lot is small and there is only the one available for horse trailers, so squeeze in. Get there early (during the day) in the summer as they often have to close the park early in the day if too many people come. No matter how busy the park is, you see very few people and almost no horses on the horse trails. Which makes for a nice ride!


 From the parking lot you can ride a loop around the lake. Head north (left) out onto the trail. This is the North Academy trail. This leads to the service road. Turn right and follow the road all the way around the north end of the lake. It gets a bit tricky here. You want the Old Buntzen trail on your left. And then the Lakeview trail. There is a corral along this trail for a break, with a nice viewpoint. Follow the Lakeview trail south all the way to another service road. Follow that service road around the south of the lake. Now you will be on the South Academy trail. This leads back to the parking lot.

You can do the trail in reverse, however on a hot day it is better to go the north way first and get the hot dry road part over with first.

Horses should have boots, and be reasonably fit. Pack a lunch. It’s a nice ride, about 3 1/2 hours. Varying scenery. See map of the trails at the end of this article.

Watch out for Mountain bikes and bears. The B.C Hydro Dog policy is that they must be under control. They should be on leash on the service roads but they don’t usually enforce this unless there is a problem. Basic common sense should prevail.

A little bit of History about the Lake & its Hydroelectric Operation…

Buntzen Lake, located just north of Ioco approximately 30 kilometres (km) from Vancouver, is a BC Hydro reservoir. It is 4.8 km long and covers an area of 182 hectares.

Formerly known as Lake Beautiful, the lake is named after the first general manager of B.C. Electric Co., Johannes Buntzen. In 1903 the Buntzen hydroelectric project was put in service by the Vancouver Power Company to provide the first hydroelectric power to Vancouver. Previously, the city had to depend on a 1,500-kilowatt (kW) steam plant for its power supply.

The project involved raising the level of the dam on Coquitlam Lake and excavating a 3.6 km tunnel to carry water from Coquitlam Lake to Buntzen Lake. The tunnel runs under Eagle Mountain, reaching a maximum depth of 1.2 km below the surface, and empties into the north end of Buntzen Lake.

 Click on the map to enlarge…

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