I had the chance to go to Golden Ears Provincial Park in Maple Ridge, BC to enjoy a beautiful summer day with my significant other. If you’re not familiar with this park, it is one of British Columbia’s largest and is situated one hour east of Vancouver, BC. Founded in 1927, the park, which was named for the twin peaks of Mount Blanchard, is characterized by a second-growth forest of Western Hemlock, Western Red Cedar and Douglas Fir and is an example of the Coastal Western Hemlock biogeoclimatic zone. The Alouette Valley in the south has been used in the past by First Nations people as a hunting ground and as a busy railroad logging operation. Many creeks criss-cross through the lush mountainous forests making Golden Ears an ideal home to many creatures both large and small.
We decided to start our day with a hike and finish near the water where we could swim to cool off. We choose one of the shortest hikes, labeled the Lower Falls Trail which would bring us through the forest to a small but thundering and impressive water fall. The hike through the trees was delightful with occasional glimpses of the mountains and the creek which we were following. Half way to the falls there is a small beach which would be the perfect spot to picnic and view the rugged snow-capped mountains in the distance. Many dogs frolicked in the water here as their families stood by watching. We continued onward reaching the falls in about an hour’s time.
Not knowing what to expect I was happily surprised when we finally found ourselves getting wet from the mist at the bottom of the falls. Once over the precipice, the water continues for several more metres through rapids and eventually mellows out into the creek we saw on our way. Climbing a switch-back trail takes you to the brink of the falls where I could have spent the day watching the bubbles swirl and form in the aquamarine pools before succumbing to their fate. Realizing we didn’t bring any food on our short hike had us wishing we did so we ventured back to the car for our afternoon adventure.
Our original idea of renting a canoe or kayaks was decided against after discovering how much it would cost for a few hours so we settled onto the grass on the south end of Alouette Lake amidst families young children playing and their delicious smelling barbeques. If you are prone to barbeque envy, like us, you will want to bring your grill and set up shop. In fact, our picnic of cold chicken fajitas and fruit did not stand a chance although we gave a valiant effort.
We were fortunate to choose a warm day, if not hot with few clouds and a slight breeze for which wading in the lake’s swimming area did the trick to cool us down. Lucky us, the water was far too chilly for adults unless they were safely floating in a tube. Only the children and the geese didn’t mind the chill. The beach itself is best enjoyed with water shoes, chairs or padded blankets since it’s covered in small rocks and pebbles but the grass is a short walk away and this is where most people had their blankets.
All in all, this was a beautiful spot to spend a summer day. Next time we go, we’ll be booking a campsite!
Quick trip tips:
Other activities you can do while there include boating, water-skiing, fishing, canoeing, kayaking, paddle boating, wind surfing, swimming, camping, back-country hiking, birding, horseback riding, and cycling.
Remember to keep the wildlife pristine by staying on the trails, keeping your dogs on a leash and packing out what you packed in.
Look at the park map before you decide what your plans are as they might involve moving your car. It can get very busy in the lots and you may be turned away if they are full.