I know I say this about every hike I talk about – I guess I really love hiking – but Sendero Diez Vistas (simply called Diez Vistas by locals) is one of my favourite hikes in the Vancouver area. It has a perfect combination of technically challenging areas and easy chunks that let you take in the beauty of the forest. To top it all off, the hike runs alongside Buntzen Lake, so you can take a refreshing dip after completing this 15 kilometre hike.
Despite its name, Diez Vistas doesn’t really have ten views anymore. All ten of the view points are still marked along the trail, although some are tricky to find, but forest growth has obstructed many of the vistas. Not to worry though, there are still a few great places to take in the views of Indian Arm and Vancouver. Plan to break at Vista #3 where you can refuel with lunch after the 450 metre initial ascent. There are usually plenty of people here doing the same if you get confused about which number of vista you are at.
The last time we did Diez Vistas, I found the trail more technically difficult than I remembered it from years before. Erosion has turned the steep sections at the beginning and end of the trail into areas where the trail can disappear into bare rock and tangled tree roots. These sections demand careful attention about foot placement, but shouldn’t discourage you from exploring this trail. Keeping that in mind, as a beginner-intermediate hiker, I wouldn’t feel comfortable doing this trail in reverse as I don’t personally feel comfortable hiking down steep, bare rock (I was traumatised on a previous hike and I don’t have a lot of faith in my shoes to stick to the rock).
Hiking Diez Vistas
Diez Vistas starts at the south end of the Buntzen Lake parking lot. Facing the lake (north), walk to your left (west) until you find the trail marker shortly after crossing the floating bridge. About 15 minutes into the hike is when the steep section begins. This initial ascent goes by relatively quickly, occurring over about 2 kilometres, and the cumulative elevation gain for the entire trail is around 800 metres.
After descending approximately 7 kilometres later, you will find yourself at the north end of Buntzen Lake. This is a better beach for swimming as it is much less crowded than the south beach which is filled with families and loud day visitors. Here you will find hikers soaking their feet in the cool waters – which don’t warm to my comfort level until near the end of summer – and dogs trying to catch trout in their mouths.
After taking a dip, you can continue along the east side of the lake along the service road to make it back to the parking lot in about 50 minutes. There is also a trail along the east side of the lake which will take a bit longer, but is more pleasant, especially when the sun is beating down on you. If you found the hike too easy, you can take the trail along the west side of the lake which will take about 2-3 hours.
The total time to complete Diez Vistas following the east-side trails back to the parking lot is 6-8 hours. Uber fit hikers who walk with great speed and don’t rest can do this hike in about 3 hours, while trail runners have been known to finish in just over an hour.
As always, be safe. Don’t hike alone, tell people where you will be, when you expect to be back, and know your bear safety. Outside of summer, this is a much quieter trail, so know how to take care of yourself in case of emergency. It shouldn’t need to be said, but there has been a huge increase in hikers leaving mass amounts of litter on trails. This has resulted in attracting bears and some parks being closed. Keep trails clean by carrying out everything you pack in!
Save to Pinterest!