There is swimming available at all campgrounds and day-use
areas. Canoeing is very popular on Alouette Lake and rentals
are available in the Alouette day-use area.
Freshwater fishing is available at Alouette Lake, Mike
Lake and Gold Creek. Anyone fishing or angling in British Columbia
must have an appropriate licence. There is one four-lane cement
surface boat launch at the south end of Alouette Lake. There is
overnight parking available for vehicles and trailers. There is
no nearby marina to moor boats overnight. Waterskiing is permitted.
Cycling is permitted and there is an extensive network
of horse trails. There are over 20 kilometres of gravel/dirt
horse trails in the park. A permit is only required for commercial
use of the horse trails. No camping or stopover in day-use allowed
with horses except at the south beach corral area.
A large carving of a mountain goat greets visitors at the park
gates. Stop at the visitor information kiosk located just inside
the gate to pick up a map. Although it's always a relief to reach
this point, there is still another 7 miles (11 km) to drive into
the park before you arrive at the entrance to Alouette and Gold
Creek Campgrounds. Along the way you'll pass the entrances to day-use
areas at Alouette Lake and Mike Lake.
Golden Ears Provincial Park offers more walking
and hiking close to Vancouver than any other single destination.
Over a dozen trails lead to various destinations throughout the
park, including a lengthy 8-mile (12-km) one-way journey to the
Golden Ears themselves.
Adjacent to park headquarters, tiny Mike Lake is
the starting point for the Alouette Mountain Hiking Trail
(12 miles/20 km return) trek to the summit of Alouette Mountain.
Although there aren't many open views along the way, once on top
you have a panoramic perspective south across the Fraser Valley
into Washington and west across the Strait of Georgia to Vancouver
Island. Shorter excursions in Golden Ears Provincial Park include
the 2.6-mile (4.2-km) Mike Lake Trail. Search the understorey
for signs of old logging equipment and wildflowers such as the delicate
pink azalea, with petals shaped like five-pointed stars. By the
beginning of summer, clusters of bright red elderberries hang from
the branches that droop overhead. A month later, devil's club, a
relative of ginseng, with broad maple-shaped leaves, puts forth
red berries from the ends of its pointed, and very prickly stems.
In addition, two more walking trails begin from
the park's Alouette Lake day-use area. The Lookout and Loop
Trails each take walkers on a 1.5-mile (2.5-km) round trip from
lakeside to an elevated viewpoint. Allow an easy hour to complete
the loop, just time enough to dry off between swims. The Spirea
Nature Trail is a short walk that winds through the woods adjacent
to the park's main road and introduces visitors to the fascinating
variety of flora in the forest understorey. The trail begins from
the parkway near the entrance to Alouette Lake.
Two trails begin from the Gold Creek day-use area
parking lot, located at the north end of the park's main road. Both
lead to a set of waterfalls on Gold Creek. The Lower Falls Trail
(easy; 3.5 miles/5.5 km return) is one of the most popular walks
in Golden Ears Provincial Park. The East Canyon Trail (moderate;
17 miles/28 km return) is much rougher. One of the benefits of taking
either route to the falls is the views of the Golden Ears and other
peaks in this group that stand revealed on the skyline above Gold
Lower Falls Trail is a gentle, cedar-bark
trail that winds through a mixed forest of mature vine maple and
conifers. This is an especially pretty walk in autumn, when pancake-size
bigleaf-maple foliage blazes red and reflects in the golden waters
of the aptly named creek.
East Canyon Trail runs along the east side
of Gold Creek and leads to the upper falls and far beyond. At first
the trail follows a service road from the Gold Creek parking lot,
past a metal gate, then left where it divides. (If you stay right,
this road brings you to Alouette Lake's North Beach in 15 minutes.)
The road, signed with orange markers, climbs gradually uphill. Although
you can't see Gold Creek, its voice filters up through the surrounding
forest. Moss-covered limbs of gracefully bowed vine maple frame
the road. Large cedar stumps attest to the size of the ancient forest
that once stood here. The rubble from runaway creekbeds, prone to
flooding during heavy storms, cuts across the roadway in several
places. At the '2.5 km' sign lies the wreckage of an old log bridge
that has been swept aside. A short distance beyond, watch for a
rough trail, part of which is a broad, dry creekbed, that leads
downhill to a dramatic view of the thundering falls. Mind your step
If you want to explore the far reaches of Golden
Ears Provincial Park, hike the West Canyon Trail (easy; 6
miles/10 km return), which links with the Golden Ears Trail
(moderate; 10 miles/20 km return) to eventually reach the summit
of the north Ear, part of the two horn-shaped granite formations
easily spotted from as far away as Washington and the southern Gulf
Islands. An alpine cabin sits below the summit on Panorama Ridge
and sleeps eight. In summer, many climbers use Panorama Ridge as
their base to make an approach to the Golden Ears, which form the
twin peaks of Mount Blanshard. A note of caution: Weather patterns
in the region may change rapidly. Storm clouds smoke up the valleys
so quickly that hikers on exposed sections of the trail may have
little time to shelter. Hypothermia is always a threat, even on
the hottest days. Plan (and dress) accordingly.
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 Highway 7 or Dewdney Trunk
Road through the Municipality of Maple Ridge. If heading west, turn
right onto 232nd and if heading east, turn left onto 232nd; then
turn right onto Fern Crescent and follow road into park.