Beaver Lake, often described as a jewel in the centre of the park, is a much visited wetland feature unique to Stanley Park and in Vancouver. The 1.5 km, 2,060 step long walk which travels inland from Stanley Park Drive, along Beaver creek, and encircling the lake, allows visitors views of wildlife and native and introduced vegetation.
You are guaranteed to experience a rich diversity of ecosystems in Stanley Park. As you walk along, enjoy the sights, sounds, and smells. Use all your senses to explore and discover the amazing environment that surrounds you.
A note on Stanley Park:
The beautiful area now known as Stanley Park was once home to many Indigenous peoples and remains a culturally significant area for the local First Nations people today. Stanley Park is on the unceded territories of the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh peoples. The park’s villages were occupied for thousands of years by First Nations and newcomers before their eviction in the 20th century.
While you walk through the lush greenery, you might reflect on the many people who have entered this space for many purposes during its long history, and the many people who enjoy it today.
|Elevation change||13 m|
Unceded means that First Nations people did not give up land or legally sign it away to Britain or Canada. Vancouver and 95 percent of BC are on unceded First Nations land. In many parts of Canada, treaties were signed with First Nations that gave incoming settlers rights to much of the land, but in BC very few treaties were signed.
Want to learn more? Read First Peoples: A Guide for Newcomers PDF file (5.4 MB)
Get information about the Beaver Lake destination walk including details on several points of interest in our Beaver Lake Nature Walk brochure.
Learn more about the ecology of Stanley Park by stopping by the Stanley Park Nature House at Lost Lagoon. the Stanley Park Ecology Society operates the Nature House out of a former boat house. It's located on the south shore of Lost Lagoon near Alberni Street.
Curious about Indigenous plants and traditional gathering?
The route indicated for this nature walk all have a compacted gravel surface and is wheelchair accessible. All of Beaver Lake Trail and the trails leading to the two points of interest are virtually level, with some gradual slope on adjacent trails.
To travel by wheelchair between the seawall and Pipeline Road, you must go via Beaver Lake due to the significant difference in elevation.
Points of interest
- Woodland and wildlife including beavers, water fowl, Flying squirels and Great blue herons
- Beaver Lake Bog
- Douglas-fir grove
- Nurse Stump
- viewing areas with educational signage
Beaver Lake History
What is now known as Beaver Lake was once used by the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh peoples since time immemorial. It remains an area of cultural and spiritual significance. Beaver Lake is in an area that was once between two village sites, called X̱wáýx̱way (rendered in English as Whoi Whoi) and Chaythous. X̱wáýx̱way (what is now known as Lumberman’s Arch) was the largest settlement in Stanley Park before it was claimed for use by the federal government.
In 1907, the European settlers noted beavers arriving in the pond. In 1911 a perimeter trail was built and Beaver Lake became more recreational. Since settler interference, one beaver has been spotted in Beaver Lake in 2008, for the first time in 60 years.
Beaver Symbology in some Indigenous cultures
According to the Squamish Lil'wat Cultural Centre External website, opens in new tab:
"The Beaver has a great understanding of nature and working in harmony with his surroundings. He is very flexible working towards goals and gaining a sense of achievement. The beaver symbolizes good work ethics, a strong will and protector, with a strong sense of family.
"Beaver is known as the carpenter of the animal kingdom, and is considered the industrious one. The Beaver is said to have been a woman at one time. Tsimshian legend tells of a woman who dammed a stream to swim in it. Because she refused to get out, she was transformed and her leather apron became a Beaver’s tail.
"In Haida legend it is the Beaver who is responsible for providing the Salmon that the Raven had stolen to give back to the people. In the art of the northwest coast Aboriginal peoples, the Beaver is depicted with big square front teeth, a hatched tail and small round ears."