Where is Golden Ears Provincial Park?
Golden Ears Provincial Park lies in the Coast Mountains 11 km north of Maple Ridge on the north side of the Fraser River. Access to the park is by vehicle via Dewdney Trunk Road through the Municipality of Maple Ridge. The campgrounds are approximately 11 km north of the park entrance.
The closest communities, towns and cities are Maple Ridge, Mission and Pitt Meadows.
About Golden Ears Provincial Park
History of Golden Ears Provincial Park from the BC Parks Website.
As one of the largest parks in the province, Golden Ears Provincial Park is prized for its recreational opportunities. The extensive system of trails within the park provides an excellent opportunity for hiking and horseback riding.
Alouette Lake is a popular spot for swimming, windsurfing, water-skiing, canoeing, boating and fishing. The park also has three large campgrounds. Vegetation is typical of the coastal western Hemlock forest of B.C. and the mountainous backcountry is extremely rugged.
The park was named after the twin peaks of Mount Blanshard near the peak’s western boundary. Originally part of Garibaldi Provincial Park, the establishment of Golden Ears Park in 1927 recognized the almost impenetrable mountain barrier between the two areas.
Established Date: December 14, 1967
Park Size: 62,540 hectares
Camping at Golden Ears Provincial Park
Golden Ears Provincial Park offers a total of 409 vehicle accessible campsites of which 350 are reservable during the main camping season. The remaining campsites are first-come, first-served.
Golden Ears Provincial Park campground is split up into 3 campgrounds and during the summer it’s highly recommended you have a campsite reservation if you plan to camp over the weekend. The park’s first-come, first-served campsites usually fill up by Friday night.
Things to do in Golden Ears Provincial Park
Golden Ears Provincial Park offers over 80km of hiking trails, horseback trails, canoeing, fishing and swimming and boating on Alouette Lake.
NOTE: During the summer, Golden Ears Provincial Park is extremely popular, especially on weekends. Visitors are advised that the park is subject to periodic closure to day-users and/or boaters when the day-use and/or boat launch parking lots fill to capacity. Closures generally occur on sunny weekends and holidays during July and August, and usually occur between 11am and 4pm.
Below are some of the most popular hiking and interpretive trails in Golden Ears Provincial Park. View Park Trail Map here.
Mike Lake Trail: Main Horse Corral near the Park entrance to Mike Lake. Mike Lake was once a thriving logging camp home to some 600 or more men who
logged the area in the 1920s. (4.2 km, suggested hiking time one-way 2 hrs, elevation change 100 m).
Alouette Valley Trail: Main Horse Corral to Menzies Trail junction. Trailhead located at the Main Horse Corral. At .8 kilometres the trail crosses over to the side of the Parkway and heads north (7 km, suggested hiking time one-way 3.5 hrs; elevation change minimal).
Menzies Trail: Park Headquarters to Gold Creek Parking Lot. Access to trailhead is approximately 100 metres up the Mike Lake Road by Park
Headquarters. This trail was used as rail spur for logging operations in the 1920s. There is a viewpoint offering a glimpse through the treetops to the south of
Alouette Lake and down to the dam (9 km, suggested hiking time one-way 4.5hrs, elevation change minimal).
Eric Dunning Trail: Mike Lake Road to Incline Trail junction. Access trailhead approximately 200 metres up Mike Lake Road (1.2 km, suggested hiking time one-way 1 hr, elevation change 200 m).
Incline Trail: Mike Lake to Alouette Mountain Fire Access Trail. Trailhead 150 m back along Mike Lake Road from the Parking Lot. This steep trail follows the shortcut that was once used by loggers as a route to ‘skyline’ huge logs down to Mike Lake from the railhead above (Alouette Mountain Fire Access Trail). This shortcut eliminated 5 kilometres of the railroad haul down the mountain (1.2 km, suggested hiking time one-way 1 hr; elevation change 150 m).
Alouette Mountain Fire Access Trail: Fire access road that sweeps up the lower south slope of Alouette Mountain. Used to access the Alouette Mountain trailhead (elevation change 400 m).
Alouette Mountain Trail: This is a strenuous hike to the top of Alouette Mountain from Mike Lake. It requires backcountry experience and proper
equipment. Take the Alouette Mountain Fire Access Trail (AMFA) to the trailhead. (4 km, elevation change 930 m).
Lookout and Loop Trails: Providing a circular hike to the Lookout on Menzies Trail. Trails begin on the west side of the Parkway near the entrance to the South
Beach day use area. Park at Spirea nature trail parking lot (2.5 km, suggested hiking time one-way 1 hour, elevation change 75 m).
Viewpoint Trail: West Canyon Parking Lot to partial views of Alouette Lake and in wetter seasons a picturesque waterfall can be seen tumbling down from the Viking Creek Viewpoint. Trailhead at .33 km on West Canyon Trail. (1.7 km, suggested hiking time one-way 1.5 hours; elevation change 175 m).
West Canyon Trail: West Canyon Parking Lot to Alder Flats. The trail follows an old logging road for approximately 3 km and then becomes a rough trail that swings into the Golden Ears Valley (5.7 km, suggested hiking time one-way 2 hrs; estimated elevation change 250 m).
Golden Ears Trail: Strenuous and difficult hike to the summit of the North Ear by way of Alder Flats and Panorama Ridge. It requires backcountry experience, route finding skills and navigation equipment. Follow the West Canyon Trail to Alder Flats to reach the Golden Ears trailhead (6.8 km, estimated time one-way 7 hrs, estimated elevation change 1,500 m).
East Canyon Trail: Gold Creek Parking Lot to Viewpoint Beach. Follow the logging road north to Viewpoint Beach and great views of the Golden Ears and Panorama Ridge to the west (4.5 km, suggested hiking time one-way 2 hrs, elevation change minimal).
Lower Falls Trail: Gold Creek Parking Lot to the Lower Gold Creek Falls. A popular easy walk along Gold Creek to the 10 metre high Lower Falls. (2.8 km, suggested hiking time one-way 1 hr, elevation change minimal).
East West Canyon Connector Trail: Connects the East Canyon Trail and West Canyon Trail as well as provides trail access to Hikers Beach. (1 km, suggested hiking time one-way 1 hour).
Hikers Beach Trail: Provides trail access to Hikers Beach (200 m)
Spirea Nature Trail: Staged from the Spirea Nature Trail parking lot, adjacent to
the Parkway; near the entrance to the South Beach day-use area. This is a self
guided loop trail with boardwalks around a small pond and boggy area.
Strategically placed plaques describe the flora and fauna in the forest understory.
Designed to accommodate people with a variety of physical abilities. The main
trail is 540 metres, there is also a shorter loop trail of 350 metres.
Tiarella Nature Trail: Accessed from the Alouette Campground. This is a self
guided loop trail through coastal forest (0.5 kilometres, suggested hiking time 10
Trail of the Fallen Giants: Loop trail found near the entrance to Gold Creek
Campground. Self guided loop trail through second growth western hemlock
forest carpeted with sword ferns. Interpret the forest ecology and the logging
history of the area (0.5 kilometres, suggested hiking time 15 minutes).
Photos of Golden Ears Provincial Park
I camped at Golden Ears this past Monday night. I had originally planned to hike the Lower Falls trail to take pictures of the waterfall but since it was the last day of the BC Day long weekend the park was packed! After checking into our campsite we were going to drive up to the Lower Falls trail parking lot where the hike begins. We got to the exit of the park and since it was check-in time the line up back into the park was HUGE! We didn’t want to risk leaving the campsite and driving to the parking lot only to find it was full and need to turn around and have to line up to get back in. So, we decided to go down to the lake instead. Since I was going to go out on the water I didn’t take my camera along so I didn’t take many pictures.
Here is a few snapshots I took from the campsite and one of the night photography images from the campsite. The view was blocked mostly by trees but I did manage to capture a Perseid Meteor in one of the shots!
I go to Golden Ears Provincial Park quite often since it’s so close to home so will share some pictures of the Lower Falls when I finally get a chance to hike the trail.