This walk is perfect! You hike around Buntzen lake, climb a small mountain that has some gorgeous views (the Diez Vistas). Then swim in the lake before an easy hike back to the car park. Marc was working, so rather than relax at home I signed up for a walk with some lovely people from Vancouver’s massive hiking community, Wanderung. You can see a map of the route we followed here.
This is my second Wanderung hike, you can read about the first, to Evans Peak, here. This hike is really popular, so there were ten participants from looads of different places! Our international hike had walkers from Canada (of course!), Australia, China, Iran, Switzerland, Tunisia, and the UK (although that was just me). It was brilliant to meet so many people that love walking! We all met up in a Safeways car park, and then two of the participants drove the rest of us out to Buntzen lake. The start of the day was pretty overcast, but it became prettier and prettier as we walked. By the time we’d made it to the beach for a swim, it was lovely and sunny.
Once we’d all covered ourselves in bug spray, we headed across a floating bridge to start the walk. I had no idea what a floating bridge would involve, but it just meant part of the bridge floats on the water, so it can rise and fall with the water level. It’s pretty clever.
There was a sign out to say a black bear had been seen in the area(!) but we didn’t bump into him/her. Don’t worry mum!
The walk started through beautiful new-ish growth forest. I always love seeing the amazing lichen and moss growing on the lower branches of trees. For some reason they always seem to be near the beginning of walks – maybe it is something to so with the altitude? It looks amazing anyway. Soon we started walking uphill on easy-to-follow pathways through the forest. It wasn’t too steep, so it was a pleasant stroll. We had a pretty good pace, but we were overtaken by a large group of trail runners! They made us look super-slow!
There is one section of the walk with lots of switchbacks, when you climb up the mini-mountain. It looks like the highest point is 550m(ish), so it doesn’t take too much time before you reach the first viewpoint. We were such a large group that we did end up splitting up a little on this steep section. It was nice as each time we waited for everyone to catch up, I’d get to chat to a different person.
The viewpoints are what this hike is all about! “Diez Vistas” means ten views. So the hike was named after its pretty views overlooking the body of water called the Indian Arm. Some of the original views are partially hidden (the trees grew!) but as other large trees fall, some new vistas open up. I’m not sure if we saw the ten official views, but we did see quite a few gorgeous look-outs! This is the first view.
The other amazing thing (apart from the views) was all the berries! It is huckleberry time of year. They are really small berries, but super-sweet and really tasty. We also found plenty of salal berries, but once you know how yummy the huckleberries are, it’s easy to ignore the salal berries.
This is our whole super-international hiking group. I hope I get to see some of them again on future hikes as they were all chatty, friendly and lovely.
Once we made it to the first view, it is pretty easy to reach all the others. The path does undulate a little, but it stays near the top of the ridge, so you don’t have to climb up or down too much. The mountain on the other side of the Indian arm is Mount Seymour. It is the first mountain we climbed in Vancouver, although it was covered in snow last month, so looked pretty different close up! Here are a couple more of the Diez Vistas. They overlook Mount Seymour.
After a long walk along the top of the ridge, we started to head down the other (slightly steep) slope. It took us longer than we expected to reach this Northern side of Lake Buntzen, so we were all ready for lunch! I didn’t take many photos on our decent because we were spurred on by hunger, so walked down pretty fast!
Once we made it down from the Diez Vistas ridge, we arrived at a building by a lake. From there, we took a path around the small McCombe lake, aiming to reach a bridge at the Northern end of Buntzen Lake. We were now far from the official Diez Vistas but I thought the views were still amazing! We could see the Swan Falls over on Eagle Mountain on the other side of Buntzen lake. This photo shows the amazing peaks that are part of a super-difficult “dilly dally trail” that I’ll have to try in the future when I am a bit healthier. One of my hiking companions told me they named it “dilly dally trail” because if you go too slowly or dilly dally, you’ll still be hiking in the dark(!)
The bridge at this end of Buntzen lake is a suspension bridge. It is pretty wobbly and you are only allowed 4 people on it at once. The best thing about it, is that it leads you to the looovely North Beach at Buntzen lake. After a long walk, it is a perfect place for a picnic and a swim.
Can you think of a prettier place to eat lunch!? The South side of this lake is incredibly busy, but this side was quiet, calm and gorgeous!
We found some benches that we could sit on to eat lunch, but they had heated up in the sun, so most people chose to sit next to some bushes in the shade instead. And then, it was swimming time!
The water in Buntzen lake is pretty warm. There are a few cooler currents that flow up from the deeper areas; But mostly it was a perfect temperature for a pleasant swim. From the edge of the lake, although it is pretty, you can’t see the amazingly-shaped peaks of Eagle Mountain. BUT once you swim out into the lake and look backwards, the mountain views are stunning. I wish I could show you, but I didn’t want to soak my camera! You’ll have to trust me and go to swim in this lake!
There is also a pontoon that people could jump off into the lake.
After a good long swim and a bit of sunbathing we noticed that somehow it had become late afternoon. So, we all had to get dressed and walk back along the Lake View Trail back to the car park. This hike back was only about 45 minutes walk. It was a little steep in some places, but not too hard compared to the Diez Vistas path we had already seen.
This is a view of the mini mountain we’d just wandered along. The second photo shows the South Beach of Buntzen lake, close to the car park. This side of the lake was soooo busy! There were hundreds of children, doggos, groups of students and people of all ages relaxing on the beach. It was vibrant and fun, and very full of life. BUT to be honest, I think I’d always prefer to walk for 45 minutes to reach a quieter, calmer place to swim.
So, that is my last vista of the day. The Diez Vistas were gorgeous. My new hiking pals were sweeties and it was almost a perfect Sunday. It could only be better if Marc didn’t have to work so I could show him all this gorgeousness.