Rice Lake, which sits within the Lower Seymour Conservation Reserve in North Vancouver, is an easy 3 km hike on a well-maintained trail. The quiet and peaceful loop around Rice Lake takes about 1 hour at a leisurely pace and is great for family outings. The trail around the lake is stroller-friendly, with little elevation gain or loss.
The loop is good for trail running, and Rice Lake is also a popular fishing spot. You’ll see people along the shore at various spots along the lake, trying to catch one of the 5,000 rainbow trout that are stocked here each year. This is a quiet, peaceful area and is also good for birding. Heron and eagles can be seen, and I’ve also been lucky enough to spot an owl in the area before.
Rice Lake Hike Summary
Distance: 3 km
Elevation Gain: Minimal
Highest Point: 240 m
Time Needed: 1 Hour
Dogs Allowed: No
Est. Driving Time from Vancouver: 30 Minutes
Trailhead Coordinates: N49.350583, W-123.015831
Hiking Rice Lake from LSCR
To start the hike around Rice Lake, park at the Lower Seymour Conservation Reserve parking lot. Walk to the ranger station, and you will see a large sign-post pointing you in the right direction for the many nearby trails. Head in the direction for Rice Lake, which is to the north, beside the paved Seymour Valley Trailway.
The trail is well-marked, so you should easily find the sign marked for Rice Lake. Follow the wide, flat trail, and you will quickly come to a junction at a fenced area. You will go right here, in the direction marked for Rice Lake into the forest. As beautiful as the Rice Lake is, it is the large, moss-covered trees in this area that really make this an enjoyable hike.
On your left you will soon see part of an old log flume – a remnant from the early 1900s. This flume was once used with rushing water to transport shingle bolts out of the forest and down to the shore of the Burrard Inlet.
Carry along, and you will soon come to another junction. This is where the trail splits around the lake, so you can choose to walk in a clockwise or counterclockwise direction. This guide will take you counter-clockwise, to the right.
Cool fact: Rice Lake is a man-made lake that once served as drinking water reservoir for North Vancouver residents. [Source]
Going right, you will soon come to the first good viewpoint of the lake. Looking to the north, you will see a dock, likely with people casting fishing lines. The dock is your next destination, so carry on along the trail. Within 5 minutes you will reach the dock, and this is a good spot to walk out to for a great view of Rice Lake. If you stay here for a few minutes, you may also see someone reeling in one of the many rainbow trout of the lake.
Carry on along the trail, again making sure you are the Rice Lake Loop Trail, and not one of the side trails that connects up to the Seymour Valley Trailway.
Simply keep following the trail around the Rice Lake and enjoy the odd viewpoint that comes up. On the north side of the lake there are a few good spots to pop down to the shore for a good view.
Once you’ve made your way around the entire lake, you will come to another junction. Stay left here to connect back to your starting point. If you go right, it’s okay because you can go left at the following junction to connect back, it will just take slightly longer.
Once you’ve completed the loop, you just need to retrace the first few hundred meters back to the parking lot.
Instead of starting from the Lower Seymour Conservation Reserve, you can access Rice Lake from Lynn Headwaters Regional Park. There are maps at Lynn Headwaters that will point you in the direction for Rice Lake. The overall distance of the hike won’t be much longer than starting at Lower Seymour.
Download the PDF version of this guide for offline use
Driving Directions and Parking
To get to Rice Lake, take the Mount Seymour Parkway exit off Hwy 1 (exit #22A), and head north up Lillooet Rd. Carry on passed Capilano University and the cemetery and eventually you’ll hit the parking lot. From here, park and head to the picnic area and the entrance is just on your left by the small cabin.
Google Map directions are here.
Editor's and Reader's Hike Rating
Variety of the terrain - 50
Views and scenery - 85
Not too crowded - 70
Overall 'fun factor' - 70
Rice Lake is a great hike when you're looking for an easy walk on a rainy day, or something family friendly. The wide, gravel trail make it very accessible, and the lake and forest provide beautiful scenery. The only drawback is that you have to leave Fido at home for this hike.
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Other Great Hikes in this Area
- Kennedy Falls (moderate)
- Mount Bishop (difficult)
- Norvan Falls (moderate)
- View all hiking guides here