Expanded trail lures folks to Hayward Lake

The Hayward Lake Reservoir recreation area and trail system has become a showcase of B.C. recreational area, with a trail all around the lake.

The Hayward Lake Reservoir recreation area and trail system has become a showcase of B.C. recreational area, with a trail all around the lake.

The pleasant rush of water cascading down Steelhead Falls and the general sense of peaceful solitude are just a few of the attractions of the trail on the east side of the Hayward Lake Reservoir.

This trail encircling Hayward Lake offers a little bit of everything for outdoor enthusiasts. There is a day-use picnic area and beach (at the main Hayward Lake recreation site) and there is the trail that now runs along one side of the lake and then crosses Ruskin and Stave Falls dams to complete the loop along the other side.

The east side trail can be reached from several points – the main Hayward Lake recreation area just south of Dewdney Trunk Road on the west side of Stave Falls dam; the Railroad Trail parking lot on the west side of Ruskin dam; the unofficial parking lot on the east side of Ruskin dam; the roadside parking area at the top of the hill on the east side of Stave Falls dam; and the B.C. Hydro parking lot a short distance further east on Dewdney Trunk Road.

The east side trail is 10-kilometres, but if you lack time or energy to hike the entire length, there are many interesting points within a few kilometres of either end.

There is a slight downhill advantage to hiking the east side trail from north to south. But, if you are planning to hike the entire length, it might be wise to consider using two vehicles and parking one at either end of the trail.

Unlike the relatively flat Railroad Trail on the west side of the lake, the east side trail includes sloped sections.

The most outstanding highlight of the trail is Steelhead Falls, a wild and inspiring cascade of sparkling, icy water that tumbles down the steep hillside just a few kilometres south of Dewdney Trunk Road.

If you are a true hiking enthusiast, you can make a day of it by hiking the Railroad Trail from south to north in the morning; have a small lunch at the main Hayward Lake recreation area; and then complete the loop by hiking the tougher east side trail in the afternoon to bring you back to your vehicle.

To get to the Hayward Lake Reservoir recreation area, travel east on Dewdney Trunk Road to just west of Stave Falls dam then turn south and proceed to the parking lot area. To complete the looped trail system, the best place to park is the Railroad Trail parking lot at the west end of the Ruskin dam.