Back to Buntzen Lake – Diez Vistas trail

Back to Buntzen Lake – Diez Vistas trail

Buntzen Lake and Diez Vistas TrailThe Diez Vistas trail is one of my favourite walks near Vancouver. The first time I came here was with a lovely group of Wanderung people. I loved it instantly!

This time, I wanted to show Marc the prettiness. Plus we need to strengthen our legs for some big walks in the summer, and this seemed like it might be a good warm up for springtime. It’s not the easiest walk (click here for lots of easy options) but it is not too hard either. It just feels a little longer than you would expect from looking at a map.

Diez Vistas Trail Map

Diez Vistas Trail – the basics:

Distance: 15 km (if you go around one side of the lake, and back the other side.)
Time: 4.5 hours if you’re speedy – 6 hours at a more leisurely pace
Elevation gain: 460 m
Facilities: There is water and toilets at the South Beach, and then more toilets at the North Beach
What to bring: The 10 essentials, plus swimwear.
Swimming: This lake is looovely to swim in once the weather improves. The North Beach is edged with blackberries, so at the end of the summer, bring swimming things and a pot for berries!
Public Transport: From July – September you can take Bus No. 179 from Inlet Centre Skytrain Station. 
Can you do it:
There is one steep section that takes about 20-30 minutes. Apart from that, it is all quite easy. Once you’ve found the path, just following it the whole way! When I did this walk with Wanderung folks, we took it a lot slower, but everyone made it without any issues.

Gorgeous rain forest walk

One of the nicest things about the Diez Vistas trail is walking through the varied rain forest. The first part of the walk has a gentle slope up along the ridge, and then once you’ve gained some elevation, you keep walking under the canopy. You can spot flowers and fungi and a beautiful networks of tree roots. After about half an hour you arrive at a clearing (for the power cables.) The steep section starts after that.

The Diez Vistas

This trail is named after the 10 gorgeous vistas that you see along the walk. The first one appears quite soon before you reach the summit of the hill. This is not bad for a first view of the day eh!? That island in the middle is jug island, and the town on the other side of the water is Deep Cove, where we had the pretty walk to Quarry Rock.

Vista Views

After this, it’s quite a long distance to the second vista. But when you get there it is soooo pretty! This was actually the most busy out of all the views. Maybe lots of people just pop up for this first view, and then head back without doing the whole walk? Anyway, from this second viewpoint you can see all the way back to Vancouver, and as far out to Vancouver Island. Well, you can see that far with eyes. You can’t quite see it with my photos!

We stopped here for a banana and I persuaded Marc to take a jump photo. He was a bit embarrassed as there were so many people sitting behind us when we took this shot!

Some of the vistsas are now ex-vistas. The trees have grown a lot in the last century, so some places that used to be good spots to see the views have been closed off my new trees. I liked the views further along the trail once you can look out to Mount Seymour. You can see there is still plenty of snow on the top of Mount Seymour, but it was all snow free on our trail.

The ten vistas are spread out all along the top of the hill, so the trail has plenty of small up-and-downs following the ridges of the hill.

Between each of the vistas you get to walk through more of the forest. There are quite a few cliffs and massive rocks covered in moss. There are also roots growing over the rocks. I was quite glad to have my walking poles, as although the path is obvious, it is quite uneven with all those roots.

Final Vista at the northern end of the hike

Once you make it down the other side of the Diez Vistas trail, you are rewarded with a view of the northern side of Eagle Mountain and Swan Falls. You can just about see the waterfall in the center of this photo. It was soooo loud and gushing! We’ll have to climb up to see it at some point!

We walked along McCombe lake, and over the bridge at the end of Buntzen lake to reach the North Beach and then stopped with all the other picnickers (and doggos) for lunch.

Marc pulled a scary face, but this was a gorgeous place to eat lunch! It was the first really warm weekend in a while so there were looooads of people who had hiked around the lake for a picnic. There were even some lucky people with a canoe.

This really is a lovely place to relax and eat.

Heading back…

The final part of the walk isn’t part of the Diez Vistas trail.  We just followed the path through the forest on the Eastern side of Buntzen lake. I love the way the tree branches are covered in moss. The sun shines through the moss and lights up the ground underneath.

This last section is pretty easy compared to the hike on the main part of the trail.

So, that was another pretty weekend adventure around Buntzen lake and the Diez Vistas trail. I’ll finish off with a couple of the spring flowers we saw along the way. I have no idea what they are, but I appreciated their colours anyway.


45 thoughts on “Back to Buntzen Lake – Diez Vistas trail

  1. A lovely post as always!
    I have a practical question for you. You often take a dip into a lake while you’re on your hikes. Do you wear swim gear under your clothes? Do you pack something dry to change into, or do you wear things that dry quickly? I usually pass on any swimming opportunities because I’m not prepared and don’t want to finish my hikes in soggy clothing. What’s your secret?!

    1. We didn’t swim this time (it’s still a bit too cold!) but on hot days I back a swimming costume and a travel towel. I just change behind a bush, swim, and then change back before the last section of walking. Last time I packed a summer dress too, so after the swim, I just put on that dress. 🙂

      We always carry a bag full of lunch, water, the 10 essentials and extra warm clothes, so it’s not much extra to add a cozzy!

      1. I was just curious because you’ve mentioned swimming in previous posts, but never how you manage not to drip your way home! haha!
        Apologies in advance for an unsolicited suggestion – – you could write a blog post about what you consider essential when packing for a walk. It could be very informative for both experienced and inexperienced hikers. 🙂

        1. Oooh sure! That is a really good suggestion!

          I am heading to the UK this weekend (yaaay!) But I could add a post like that once I get back. Thank you for the suggestion! <3

    1. Thank you! Yeah, I think that is why I like it so much. You get amazing views of the city from a totally new direction, as well as cool views of the “other” side of the mountains (compared to the other North Shore hikes). Plus, I just like being up high!

  2. Every time I’m on this space Josy, I have this urge to pack my bags and leave for where you are 🙂 I would have loved to walk around this lake. It would be so beautiful. Loved your pictures!

    1. Thanks Parul! I honestly think you’d love it here. It is because there are soooo many beautiful trees. It makes the world so relaxing.

  3. Beautiful. I used to go hiking…. I need to do it again! That lake was so blue and I would be tempted to jump in no matter what the weather! I admit a big thing for me and hiking is having a bathroom close by. I just haven’t become comfortable going in the woods…. 😳

    1. Me too! Although the loos on trails are often pretty gross… I can pee in the woods if needed though. I even learnt that you should try to aim for a rock (so you don’t kill off any plants or flowers!)

      I hope you can get out hiking again this summer. 😀

  4. It looks gorgeous, Josy! We took a bike trip into a forest, but I have no idea what trail it was. The area is spectacular. I’ll have to go back someday. Thanks for the virtual hike!

    1. Oooh there are sooo many here. I wonder which one it was!? The bike trails in BC seem to have hilarious names!

  5. What kind of camera did you use for the foliage shots at the end?? They are so vibrant 😊 I definitely need to work on my photography, my pictures are nowhere close to yours!!

    1. Just the same as always. It’s a lumix DMC-GM5. It’s pretty small (I didn’t want a heavy DSLR) s I use this teeny mirrorless one. 🙂

    2. p.s. thank you for being so sweet…but you are mad. I have been loving all your puppy photos recently!

    1. You must walk quite a lot though when you take your epic wildlife shots!? Surely all those animals and birds don’t come to you!?

  6. Goodness, Josy! All of your walks are so dang beautiful. I love how you mention fungi and “networks of tree roots” as those are things my family and I love observing. The kids love playing on exposed tree roots – especially those that arch up that the kids can climb on or crawl under. Lovely post, Josy!

    1. Me too! Those roots make me think of haunted woods, or exciting places to explore with kids! I didn’t take a zillion photos of the fungi this time, but there were quite a few, especially for springtime!!

  7. Fab, once again! Those root systems would throw my imagination into overdrive, but I wouldn’t like to be going over them without poles, I’d end up on my nose!

    1. You might be okay on this walk as the path was pretty clear. I find the poles are most helpful on long or steep hikes up/down hills! We took them with us for this walk anyway!

    1. Lol I guess it could be hardcore… I think of 8-10 hours as hardcore. If you wake up early and walk for 6 hours, you still have half a day to relax and recover! We made dinner and drank wine, so we had time to relax and unwind. After a real big walk, all I want to do is sit in the bath!!

      p.s. I’m in England on the train you took (Virgin, heading North) So I was thinking of you when we found our seats!!

  8. Stunning views. It would take me days to walk round that! I’d be stopping way too often and just staring at everything. Don’t know about swimming costumes (previous comment) but it would be camping gear. I imagine the air is really clean too. All that forest and well away from the usual traffic clusters or dense populations.

    I can visualise it in summer now too with natural fruits coming into season and warmth spreading. Do you ever fish in these lakes? Is it allowed even? And bears…do they venture out in summer after the natural harvests too?

    Fab post Josy.

    1. Yeah, the air is pretty good in Vancouver, even in the city, but it is lovely and clean once you wander into the mountains! When I came here in the summer there were signs saying that there was a bear in the area, but I never saw him/her. I didn’t see any bears on our vancouver walks, but we did see a huge pile of bear droppings once!

      The berries are fantastic on this walk in summer! I had huckleberries and salal berries for the first time on this trail!

      1. I bet. Something about woodlands and forests that really boosts the spirit…. providing the bears don’t take umbrage!

        In bygone days I used to make wine from hedgerow berries. Always added value to walks. Amazing what you can actually find that’s edible too once you get in touch with nature. Have a great week Josy 😊

          1. Thoroughly recommend it. Although reds need a couple of years to really show their stuff. Very rewarding though if you get it right!

  9. Ooh you got to see trillium (the white one)! The pink ones are salmonberry which become variably-tasty berries over the next few weeks.

    We did the same hike a few days after you 🙂 These days I prefer to do it in the opposite direction so you get the best view at the end. And because we set off quite late, it also meant we had that view to ourselves for a few moments which is quite rare around here!

    1. I think I tried salmonberries last year, and you’re right…they are sort if variably tasty!

      We’ll need to try the walk in the opposite direction, but I couldn’t do that on a hot day as I looove swimming in the lake on the quiet(er) north side!

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