14 beautiful lakes near Vancouver to visit this summer

Jul 24 2020, 4:03 pm

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Please note: As recommended by BC’s provincial health officials, if you choose to participate in events or liesure outside of your home, please adhere to COVID-19 health and safety measures, including proper physical distancing, frequent handwashing, and keeping your groups small. If you are sick, please stay home. If you are travelling to get to one of these destinations, please read and follow the Province of BC’s COVID-19 travel tips before you go. 


When the sun’s shining, there’s nothing quite like taking a dip in one of the many lakes in the region, or basking on the shore with a cold drink in hand.

And around Vancouver, there’s no shortage of choice when it comes to where to spend those sunny summer days by the water, while physical distancing of course.

Here are our picks of some the best lakes in and around Vancouver — and how to find them.

Metro Vancouver

Rice Lake

This is a calm, quiet lake, full of life and natural beauty, on the edge of the Lynn Headwaters Regional Park in North Vancouver. There are several viewpoints and trails around the lake with benches to relax and take in the natural beauty of the area. No swimming permitted.

Where: About 40 minutes’ drive from downtown Vancouver, on Lillooet Road in North Vancouver

Sasamat Lake

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Sasamat Lake is warm to swim in, lined with a scenic forest and trails and is home to White Pine Beach, a beautiful white sand beach. The beach is a very popular summer Sunday destination for Vancouverites and a great spot to picnic, swim and sunbathe.

Where: Approximately 45 minutes’ drive from downtown Vancouver, in Belcarra Regional Park, Port Moody

Whyte Lake

Whyte Lake Park is a small, peaceful lake in the hills above Horseshoe Bay, in the largest park in West Vancouver. The lake, which is an hour’s walk from the road, is surrounded by trails, wetlands, creeks and old-growth forest, and features a dock and a boardwalk.

Where: About 30 minutes’ drive from downtown Vancouver, near Horseshoe Bay, in West Vancouver

Cabin Lake

 

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Cabin Lake is one of the best swimming holes on the North Shore. There are plenty of areas for relaxing and diving spots easily accessible from Cypress Mountain Parking Lot if you’re happy with a 3.5 km hike to get there.

Where: About 45 minutes’ drive from downtown Vancouver, near Cypress Mountain, in West Vancouver

Green Timbers Lake

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This lake in the heart of the Green Timbers Urban Forest in Surrey is a great spot for fishing and generously stocked with rainbow trout throughout the year. But you can also enjoy a myriad of trails in the surrounding area. No swimming permitted.

Where: About 45 minutes’ drive from downtown Vancouver, on 96 Avenue between Fraser Highway and 148 Street in Surrey

Lower Mainland

Cultus Lake

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One of the most popular destinations in the Lower Mainland, Cultus Lake is a large, warm freshwater lake surrounded by scenic forest-clad mountains. Because Cultus is popular among locals please ensure to keep your distance from others and keep your groups small.

Where: A two-hour drive from downtown Vancouver, off the Vedder Mountain Road south of Chilliwack

Rolley Lake

 

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Rolley Lake Provincial Park is a flat, wilderness area blanketed with tall, second-growth conifers. The park has been reopened for day use and camping as off June 1, however, the picnic area is not open at this time.

Where: About one hour and 20 minutes’ drive from downtown Vancouver, on Bell Street north of Mission

Sea To Sky

Lost Lake

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Lost Lake is walking distance from Whistler Village and includes some awesome trails for hiking and biking. It’s also dog-friendly and a great spot for watching the sunsets over Whistler.

Where: Approximately two hours drive from Vancouver, near Whistler

Alice Lake

 

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Alice Lake is surrounded by towering mountains, dense forests and grassy areas — a very popular family swimming spot during the summer. The trail around the lake is also popular with excellent views of the Tantalus Range from the DeBeck’s Hill Trail.

Where: About one hour and 10 minutes’ drive from downtown Vancouver, off Highway 99, approximately 13 km north of Squamish

Alta Lake

 

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There are four parks around this huge lake, but Alta Lake Park is most off the beaten track, with two serene piers for lounging around, jumping off or admiring the excellent views of Whistler and Blackcomb mountains.

Where: About one hour and 40 minutes’ drive from downtown Vancouver, off Highway 99 about five kilometres south of Whistler.

Alpha Lake

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Alpha Lake, just south of Whistler, offers sandy beaches, docks, fishing, and great swimming, as well as trails everywhere you look.

Where: About one hour and 40 minutes’ drive from downtown Vancouver, off Highway 99, about five kilometres south of Whistler.

Brohm Lake

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This gorgeous lake surrounded by lush, quiet forest with a shoreline of huge boulders is easily missable. You’ll have to delve through the forest and over rocks to find an outcrop to spend the day, but once you jump off that rock into the warm glacial water… it’s all worth it.

Where: About 90 minutes’ drive from downtown Vancouver, off Highway 99, about 15 km north of Squamish

Lucille Lake

 

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Lucille Lake is somewhat of a local secret in Whistler and Squamish, with a sandy beach, clear, glacial waters and an island that makes a nice challenge for those swimming out further. There are no facilities around though.

Where: About 90 minutes’ drive from downtown Vancouver, off Highway 99, about 30 km north of Squamish

Garibaldi Lake – Reopening July 27

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Garibaldi Lake is pretty isolated, but this stunning lake is worth the two to three-hour steep uphill hike to get there. You’ll feel as though you’ve entered some parallel universe, as you marvel at the turquoise-blue lake lined with glacier-capped mountains and lush green trees. Please note, access to this lake will require a day pass available on the Discover Camping reservation system.

Where: Approximately 1.5 hours drive from Vancouver, 35 km north of Squamish and 20 km south of Whistler

Editor’s note: This article was originally published in July 2018, but updated to include current information. 

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