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Hayward Lake in Mission, BC – Everything You Need To Know

Hayward Lake is a reservoir on Stave River, just outside of the town of Mission, BC. This lake was formed by a hydroelectric dam just a few kilometers away, operated by BC Hydro. Hayward Lake is an extremely popular spot for large picnics, swimming, the sandy beach, hiking, kayaking, and paddle boarding. The off-leash dog beach is also an added bonus for dog owners. If you’re in the Mission area, or willing to drive about an hour from Vancouver, you should definitely give Hayward Lake a visit. 

beach at hayward lake in mission bc

Where is Hayward Lake?

Hayward Lake is located in the lower mainland of BC near Mission, which is about an hour east of Vancouver. The recreation area is just off Dewdney Trunk Road at the northern end of the lake. Technically a reservoir, Hayward Lake runs along Stave River, with the much larger Stave Lake, and Stave Falls to the north.

You can access the Hayward Lake Recreation Area via Highway 7, which runs along the Fraser River and connects Vancouver to the Mission area. From Highway 7, connect to Wilson St heading northbound, and onto Dewdney Trunk Rd heading east. 

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A popular spot for large family picnics

Despite it being a cloudy late summer day, there were still hoards of families and friends setting up camp at Hayward Lake. This park is very popular for large family picnics and parties due to the many picnic tables scattered throughout. Some even brought their own extra tables, and tents to stay shielded from the drizzle, and were cooking up a storm on their barbeques. 

tents and picnic tables setup at hayward lake in mission bc

There were many people enjoying the water, swimming, kayaking, and paddle boarding on the lake. Some even brought badminton nets, and spike ball nets, and were playing a variety of games in the large park. 

busy hayward park filled with tents and picnic tables in mission bc

About Hayward Lake

Hayward Lake is a reservoir on the Stave River that was created as a result of the Ruskin Dam[1] just a few kilometers upstream, a hydroelectric project built by BC Hydro. Now a very popular recreational area, Hayward Lake is popular for summer barbeques, swimming, nearby hiking trails, fishing, kayaking, and other non-motorized water sports. 

information board at hayward lake recreation area in mission, bc

This lake is very popular in the summer, and it can fill up quickly. Even on the gloomy day I visited, the park was full of families throwing large parties, and plenty of people on the water and beach. Be sure to arrive early on a summer weekend to get a parking spot! If you’re visiting Hayward Lake in the fall there is much less urgency to arrive early. 

cattails in the pond at hayward lake in mission bc

A brief yet delightful walk around Harry’s trail

There is a sizeable pond next to the park with a beautiful walking trail wrapping around it. Harry’s trail is a quick walk, just under 1km, and is an easy loop to complete. While it’s quick, this little walk was a picturesque dive into the surrounding forest and the cat tails and lily pads growing on the pond were a nice departure from the surrounding spruce and pine.  

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bridge on a hiking trail at hayward lake in mission bc

It’s a great spot to take a quiet stroll if you want a break from the busy beach and park. The small bridge crossing the pond was a great place to stop and take in our surroundings, and listen to the sound of the birds that live around the pond. On the information placard about the trail, it explained this pond having been built from the work of several beaver dams. 

pond with mountains in the background at hayward lake in mission bc

Dog off-leash beach and park

A short distance along the main walking path from the first beach is an off-leash dog area and dog beach. I visited Hayward on a cloudy day, so the dog park was practically empty, but on sunny days this is a very popular spot for folks to bring their dogs and let them run around, swim, or play fetch. Many people also swim at this beach in the summer. 

dog off leash beach at hayward lake in mission bc

There are tons of picnic tables at the dog beach, all with a section for your barbecue, and this area was surprisingly empty compared to the main beach which was completely packed, even on a somewhat gloomy day. My friend and I stopped here for a snack break enjoying the view from one of the tables while we let her dog play and tire herself out for the ride home. 

picnic tables in the park at hayward lake dog beach

FAQs About Hayward Lake

Can you swim at Hayward Lake?

Yes! You can swim at Hayward Lake, and the sandy beaches are an added bonus if you’re looking to do some sunbathing as well. Kayaking and paddle boarding are also popular at this lake as the water is very calm as no motorized boats are allowed. 

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Can you barbeque at Hayward Lake?

Yes, you can barbeque at Hayward Lake, so long as you use a propane barbeque. No briquette barbeques or fires are permitted. 

Can you fish at Hayward Lake?

You can fish at Hayward Lake as long as you follow the up-to-date BC Fishing regulations, and have a valid freshwater fishing license. At Hayward Lake, you can catch a variety of trout, sucker, and catfish! 

paddleboarder on hayward lake in bc

Are there public washrooms at Hayward Lake?

Yes, there are public washrooms near the parking lot, and at the dog beach. 

Is there a concession stand at Hayward Lake?

No, there is no concession at Hayward Lake. This is a super popular spot for picnics and family barbeques, so if you’re so inclined bring a barbeque and some lunch to cook up, or have a simple picnic on the beach or surrounding park. 

Is there parking at Hayward Lake? 

Yes, there is a large parking lot at the head of the park. Because this is such a popular destination (especially in the summer) be sure to arrive early in order to get a parking spot! 

Can you camp at Hayward Lake?

No, you cannot camp overnight at Hayward Lake, however many folks bring tents or shelter to protect against strong sun or rain during the day. 

the park at hayward lake in mission bc

Article Sources:

  1. Wikipedia. “Hayward Lake