What an adventure.
Can certainly understand why this is such a popular hike/scramble. The Golden Ears Provincial Park is absolutely stunning and only 45 minutes from Vancouver – you can see even more shots in the gallery.
Sitting in a Provincial Park which takes it’s name from this very mountain, the trail begins not too far from the shores of Alouette Lake as it follows the West Canyon Trail for the first few kilometers. It’s a fairly easy stroll in the park for the first 5km as the trail simply follows the creek, crossing various bridges and weaving amongst the trees.
Eventually, the trail gains a little height and you get a good view of Gold Creek. A stunning tree lined valley with Gold Creek running straight through the middle of it.
This is where the trail turns west, heads towards Golden Ears mountain and begins to climb towards Alder Flats: a quiet camping spot that many choose when doing Golden Ears as an overnight 2-day trip.
The trail to Alder Flats is very easy going, but from this point on you begin the climb and there is little to no drinking water available. Make sure you pack all the water you need and don’t rely on finding a source when up on Panorama Ridge. Many people fill their water bottles at Alder Flats, but you’ll want to have enough for both drinking and cooking. You might find the odd puddle up top, but you’ll need a good filter kit to make it drinkable. There is also a little glacier lake tucked away amongst some of the scree, but getting to it is no easy feat.
Once past Alder Flats and into the climb, the occasional break in the trees provides great views back down the valley over the flats and towards Alouette Lake. Golden Ears is almost visible to the far west.
The time of year made the view all the more stunning as Autumn was definitely settling in and the tress were beginning to change colours.
The trail will eventually come to a much larger clearing, this is where you want to look out for the trail to the right. Not easily seen at first, but this is where the ascent really gets steep as a series of switch backs being the climb up to the start of Panorama Ridge. Once the switchbacks are over and you begin making your way along the ridge, further breaks in the trees offer more spectacular views of the valleys.
Once on Panorama Ridge and the trees have started to become a little more sparse, you can see all the way down to and along Pitt Lake.
We hiked along the ridge a little further, trying to find a spot to get the tent pitched before sunset and nightfall. We were lucky to find a grassy little patch a few hundred meters short of the emergency shelter which sits at the base of the summit climb. We got our tent pitched just in time to relax and watch the sunset over Pitt Lake.
The sun almost gone from the heights of Golden Ears.
Once the sun had gone down, we were left with a orange stained sky that gave everything a slight warmth and made for quite an impressive room with a view.
We didn’t have the best nights sleep as we thought we were going to be blown off the side of the mountain – the wind really got up in the night. But when morning came around, we were blessed with quite the magical scene. Not only was Golden Ears peak looking absolutely magnificent and being slowly warmed in the morning sun…
…but we were also treated to one of the best inversions I’ve ever seen…
A panorama of the sunrise and inversion taken from the aptly names Panorama Ridge…
Once we had breakfast, we left out kit at the tent and set off for the summit taking only the bare essentials.
The trail from the emergency shelter to the summit is very well marked as it ascends up the South East Ridge. A grade 2 scramble, there are a couple of little sections where there are a limited number of handholds, but on the whole it’s a very easy and enjoyable scramble. Particularly on a dry and sunny day, with a well marked trail.