Last week Mojo and I ventured out to Hayward Lake Park. It is a new location that we hadn’t been to before. Situated just East of Maple Ridge it is one of the further locations we have walked being just over a one-hour drive.
Hayward Lake was formed in 1931 after the construction of the Ruskin Dam as part of the Stave Falls Hydro Electricity project. Like Buntzen Lake Hayward Lake is owned and managed by BC Hydro as the primary purpose is electricity generation, however they have developed a trail around the perimeter of the lake and there are a number of small beach areas allowing plenty of lake access. The lake is approximately 7.5km long and between 0.5 and 1.5km wide. It is also very dog-friendly with only a small area around the main parking lot where dogs are restricted.
Once beyond Maple Ridge on the Dewdney Trunk Road the drive becomes very pleasant along country roads.
The forecast had been for a very hot day so we had arrived early to get as much walking done as possible before the heat of the day, so we were parked just after 9am and indeed were the only 2nd car in the parking lot at this time.
Adjacent to the main parking area and beach is little Beaver Lake. It was wonderfully peaceful and quiet with nobody around and only the sound of chirping birds.
Mojo posing nicely for the few minutes of the walk he was still clean and dry.
Unfortunately the peace was broken slightly by the parks tractor working its way along the beach smoothing out the sand and preparing it for the inevitable crowds later in the day.
There had been a sign saying ‘no dogs in picnic area’ as we first arrived so we had steered clear of that. There didn’t appear to be any signs preventing dogs on the beach and having a swim so Mojo took the opportunity to jump right in. I think Mojo thought that since it was only 9.10am and he was already off-leash swimming in a nice clean lake today was going to be a pretty good day !
So Mojo gets his first swim of the day with the rumble of the tractor in the background.
In hindsight I am not sure Mojo was strictly allowed on this beach as only a few minutes later we reach a specially designated ‘dog beach’ where dogs were quite definitely welcome and when we returned later in the day the main beach was full of people but no dogs. Still, the parks employee didn’t seem to have any problem with Mojo so we got several good swims in early on.
This is a map of the park. We were starting in the top right hand corner and following the Railway Trail along the top of the lake to Ruskin Dam where we intended to cross and return along the Reservoir Trail to the south side of the lake.
The Railway Trail was easy walking, predominately open with good views of the lake. It mostly followed the path of the old British Columbia Electric Railway which had been built to service the Stave Lake Dam Powerhouse until eventually road access was built.
Through much of the first half of the Railway Trail the banks were lined with blackberry bushes. Loads of big ripe juicy blackberries ! Mojo and I indulged in a few and then left the rest for the bears !
Lake views from the trail.
We turn a corner and the remaining length of the lake comes into view. Someone has placed a plank of wood to enable dogs to get into the lake as at this section there was a big of a jump from the bank into the water.
It’s not long and the views of the lake open right up.
From here looking along the lakes edge the Ruskin Dam is just visible on the far left hand side.
The trail continues winding along the lake edge.
There are a number of signs of the old railway including the remains of old trestle bridges. The trail now winds in and out of the little coves where the railway took a much straighter route.
At the head of one of the small coves a creek rushes down the hillside into the lake and brings a welcome blast of cooler air.
We reach another small sandy beach, from the embankment at the top we get views towards Ruskin Dam and the end of the lake which is now not too far away.
Views back up the lake in the opposite direction.
Eventually we reach Ruskin Dam. These are the views from the dam looking south as the lake flows into the Fraser River about 3 kilometres away.
Views from on top of the dam looking north up the lake.
Once we reach the opposite side of the dam we reach the trailhead for the Reservoir Trail. There is a notice board and thankfully we stop to see the notices and discover that BC Hydro are carrying out construction on Blind Slough Dam and the trail at this point is closed for a few days (including today) therefore a complete loop around the lake isn’t possible. We are pleased to have seen this sign just in time because Blind Slough Dam is right the way along the Reservoir Trail almost back to the parking lot where the car is, so to have reached that point and then had to turn around would have meant we would have had to almost walk around the lake twice.
We find a terrific spot to stop and have lunch, a small private section of beach just for Mojo and I.
We eat I paddle and Mojo swims, and swims, and swims.
And swims, and swims and swims !
Eventually though I have to drag him away from his doggy-heaven and we continue back to the car. It really was a very toasty day as the thermometer in the car shows…….35 degrees.
We had an excellent walk at Hayward Lake and it’s certainly a great spot for a hot day as there are so many places Mojo can get into the lake. We look forward to returning again soon so we can complete the whole loop on the opposite side of the lake too.