Metro Vancouver Park Series: Buntzen Lake


Monday, July 13th, 2009 — 1:00pm PST
Comments 6

The following has been contributed to the Park Series by Raul of hummingbird604.com

I had been wanting to go for a hike to Buntzen Lake for a long while, but for one reason or another, I hadn’t gotten a chance, so one of my recent Sunday evenings JT and I decided to go for a short hike and we settled on (finally!) the Buntzen Lake area. I noticed that Rebecca had recently visited Belcarra Regional Park and I wanted to contribute to her Park Series with a post about Buntzen Lake.


Photo credit: phobus on Flickr

How to Get There You could drive all the way to Anmore/Belcarra but the sustainable mode of transportation would be taking Skytrain or the 160 Express to Coquitlam Centre Station and from there the community shuttle C26.


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Metrics Buntzen Lake is a BC Hydro reservoir, located about 30 km from Vancouver, with an overall area of 182 hectares and a length of 4.8 km. HISTORY From the BC Hydro site:

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.

Water from Buntzen Lake is used to feed the Burrard Generating Station. While one of the generating plants (Buntzen 2) is still in operation, and monitored from a facility in Burnaby, Buntzen 1 (built in 1903 and shut down in 1951) is no longer functioning.

buntzen lake 1

more buntzen lake 4

Notes Buntzen Lake has a variety of amenities and thus it is a popular site for beach-goers and hikers alike. Trails are clearly marked, and there is a short (Energy) trail that has a number of cute little displays that allow hikers to learn more about the area (similar to an interpretive display). There’s also a hollow tree but not as big as the one in Stanley Park.

Dr Raul Pacheco is a local blogger, teacher, researcher and consultant on water governance, environmental policy and urban sustainability.

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6 comments

  1. Tyler says:

    I do the loop trail that goes around the whole lake. Diez Vista is really nice too if you want views up and down of the Indian Arm.

    They’ve filmed many a film at Buntzen lake including Lake Placid, Jason vs Freddy and a few others.

  2. Raul says:

    Thanks for the opportunity to contribute to your series! I had a great time at Buntzen Lake!

  3. Mitch says:

    Brought back great memories of camping there when I was young.

  4. ian gschwind says:

    My favourite place to canoe. No powerboats allowed.

  5. dlbrows says:

    Took my 12yr old brother to this lake last week, he had been living in the Okanagan for the last 9 years and just recently moved to Van. This is what he had to say: “This lake sucks, there’s no lake monster.”

    That pretty much settles it, no?

  6. Jon Strocel says:

    Buntzen Lake is one of our hidden gems here in the V3H. Perfect on a sunny day on the beach, or for a quiet stroll through the little Energy trail, which is great if you have small kids that aren’t able to mount a longer hike.

    We’ll have to come up with a Lake Monster though. The “Beast of Buntzen” perhaps?

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