"Welcome to Golden Ears Provincial Park" Golden Ears Provincial Park by Ann75

General Information

Golden Ears is one of the largest provincial parks in British Columbia, encompassing an incredible 55,590 hectares of mostly undeveloped wilderness. It is also one of, and possibly the most popular park in the province. The park was named after the twin peaks of Mount Blanshard, which shine gold from the setting winter sun. Golden Ears lies in the Coast Mountains, north of the mighty Fraser River. It extends 55km (34,5mi) north through mountain wilderness to a barrier of mountain peaks and steep-sided valleys that separate it from Garibaldi Provincial Park. Second-growth forests of western hemlock, western red cedar, and Douglas fir cover much of the landscape. At higher elevations, forests give way to alpine meadows and, at even higher elevations, permanent snowfields.

Golden Ears Provincial Park in Maple Ridge is a destination with many possiblities. Once there, you can enjoy the park to explore on foot, by boat, by bike, or on horseback. Golden Ears Provincial Park contains one of the largest campgrounds in the province. There are 353 well-spaced vehicle/tent campsites at two locations inside the park, at Alouette Lake and Gold Creek Campgrounds, as well as wilderness, backcountry or walk-in camping at Alder Flats on the West Canyon Trail and Panorama Ridge on the Golden Ears trail, but no facilities are provided at these campsites. All drive-in sites are nestled beneath tall stands of sheltering hemlock and fir. This canopy helps protect campers from the rain that is not uncommon here, even during summer heat waves. Hot showers are especially welcome after a day of 'liquid sunshine.' There are 55 campsites at sandy North Beach. The open beach in front of the forested sites is a great place to watch meteor showers in early August.

Outdoor opportunities

Golden Ears Provincial Park offers plenty of outdoor activity opportunities. Most of the outdoor activities people enjoy can be done in this wonderful park. It's also a great place for swimming and sunbathing (especially in the summer), walking, biking, horseback riding, boating, fishing, canoeing and climbing.

If you enjoy hiking then this is the place to be. Below I have gathered the different trails you can hike in this beautiful park, there are easy hikes as well as difficult hikes. All the distances and times are one way only.

Mike Lake Trail: Main Corral to Mike Lake. Horse and hiking trail (4.2km/2.6mi; suggested hiking time: 2 hours; elevation change: 100m/300ft).

Incline Trail: Mike Lake to Alouette Mountain Fire Access Trail. Horse and hiking trail (1.2km/0.75mi; suggested hiking time: 1 hour; elevation change: 150m/450ft). This steep trail follows the "Incline" that was once used by loggers as a route to skyline huge logs down to Mike Lake from the trailhead.

Alouette Mountain Hiking Trail: Top of Incline Trail via Alouette Mountain Fire Access Trail (10km/6.25mi; suggested time: 5 hours; elevation change: 1000m/3000ft). The panoramic view from Alouette Mountain is spectacular. For many hikers the highlight of the trail is the virgin stands of mountain hemlock and yellow cedar. This trail is a strenuous hike requiring experience and proper equipment.

Alouette Mountain Fire Access Trail: Top of Incline Trail to destination northeast of Lake Beautiful (7.3km/4.5mi; elevation change: 400m/1200ft).

Menzies Trail: Park headquarters to Gold Creek parking lot. Horse, bicycling and hiking trail (9km/5.6mi; suggested hiking time: 4 1/2 hours; elevation change: minimal). Lookout and Loop Trails: Parkway via Lookout Trail to Lookout and return to parkway via Loop Trail (2.5km/1.5mi; suggested hiking time: 1 hour; elevation change: 75m/225ft). Park at Spirea Universal Access Nature Trail parking lot.

Viewpoint Trail: West Canyon parking lot to Lake Viewpoint (1.5km/1mi; suggested hiking time: 3/4 hour; elevation change: 175m/525ft). Good views.

West Canyon Trail (Golden Ears Trail): West Canyon parking lot to Alder Flats. Hiking trail only (5km/3.1mi; suggested time: 2 1/2 hours; elevation change: 250m/750ft). Trail follows an old logging grade for 3.2km/2mi then swings uphill. At this point a short trail drops downhill to Lower Falls.

Golden Ears Trail: West Canyon parking lot to summit of North Ear. Hiking trail only (12km/7.5mi; suggested time: 7 hours; elevation change: 1500m/4500ft). Follow the West Canyon Trail from the parking lot to Alder Flats. Beyond Alder Flats the trail switchbacks upward on an old logging road then heads steeply uphill to Panorama Ridge. Most of the elevation gain is made in this stretch. Listen for the nasal squeak of pikas in the rock slides. Impressive view of Pitt Lake to the west and mountains to the east and north are possible from Panorama Ridge. The ascent of the North Ear is made from the left (east) side across a permanent snowfield. Extreme caution is advised and proper equipment is recommended. Drinking water may be scarce in dry weather between Alder Flats and the snowfield. The round trip to Golden Ears is an overnight expedition for all but the fittest hikers. his trail is long and strenuous and should only be attempted by experienced, well-equipped backcountry travelers.

Lower Falls Trail: Gold Creek parking lot to Lower Falls. Hiking trail only (2.7km/1.7mi; suggested time: 1 hour; elevation change: minimal). A very popular, easy walk along Gold Creek to the 10m/30ft high Lower Falls. A beach area halfway to the falls is a good spot for a picnic or a sunbathe. Some of the best scenery in the park is visible just beyond.

My impression of this park

We have been to this park several times and enjoy ourselves every single time. The Alouette Lake area is very nice with a beach and lots of picnic tables. This is a popular spot for families to enjoy the sun and the water on hot summer days. If you like hiking there are some trails leaving from that area and along the road to Alouette Lake as well as the road to the Gold Creek Day Use Area which is further than Alouette Lake.

Personally I like the area of the Gold Creek Day Use area the best. There is the North Beach Trail which is an easy trail that leaves from the parking lot across the road to the North Beach area of the park. You walk along Gold Creek with it's deep green colours that runs out into Alouette Lake. It's a shaded trails with minimal elevation and wonderful views. From the North Beach area you have great views of Alouette Lake and the mountains.

If you take the trail exactly opposite of the Gold Creek walk you will be following the Lower Falls Trail which takes you through the forest along the creek to the beautiful falls. It's a great walk/hike which doesn't require much effort. The views along the way are beautiful and there are access areas to the creek at several points along the way.

It's a bit of drive and you can count on about an hour tot an hour and half from Vancouver, but it's a great place to enjoy if you have a whole day to spend here!

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Gorgeous scenery with a lake, river, waterfalls and mountains
  • Cons:Alouette Lake can get busy during the summer
  • In a nutshell:A great wilderness park which is still a hidden gem for tourists!
  • Last visit to Golden Ears Provincial Park: Aug 2012
  • Intro Written Jan 31, 2013
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