The Golden Ears Trail is a popular hike in Golden Ears Provincial Park and offers some spectacular views for those who accomplish this challenging trail. It can be completed in a day but many people also enjoy the hike while camping. The trail is long and becomes increasingly steep as it progresses with much of the elevation gain occurring past the midway point. Make sure to leave early enough to have ample time during daylight hours if you plan to complete this hike in a day.
There are a few things to be aware of before attempting the Golden Ears Trail. First, Golden Ears Park is open from 7 am to 11 pm so if you intend to complete this hike in a day without camping or being locked behind the gate in the park then you must start early. Secondly, the West Canyon parking lot, where the hike begins, can fill up fast in the morning during peak season. Thirdly, you will need durable hiking footwear with good grip and good ankle support for this trail as it is very rocky throughout and slippery in several spots. Finally, the temperature at the top can be considerably cooler, even on hot summer days, so pack a light jacket or something to throw on to keep yourself warm.
The trail to Golden Ears begins in the West Canyon parking lot. There is an outhouse, garbage bin, recycling bin, and a tap designated for drinking water only. From here, enter the trail past the West Canyon/Golden Ears sign. The hike will begin along the West Canyon Trail before it becomes the Golden Ears Trail. You will pass a green silo on the right and a junction for Menzies Trail. As you continue you will pass another junction connecting to Menzies Trail on the left. You will also pass a junction for View Point Trail on the left but continue going straight, past these, along the West Canyon Trail.
Continuing along the West Canyon Trail the terrain is rocky and mostly in tree cover. Look for orange and pink markers to keep you on the trail. You will cross over a few bridges early in the hike. There is a fork in the trail to Lower Falls with an orange marker labeled "3.11" fixed to a narrow tree stump. Keep left along the trail to get to the Golden Ears Trail.
Continuing into the forest, the trail will become steeper and rockier as you walk over exposed tree roots. Eventually you will get to the Gold Creek Lookout. There is a viewpoint just before you head down a short but very steep section to a roped area and the Gold Creek Lookout sign. Continuing along the trail you will pass a very large boulder in the forest. The trail will also pass many small bridges that are missing some planks so be very careful while crossing them.
Time: 12 hours
Elevation Gain: 1500 meters
Season: July - September
From Vancouver: 1 hour 20 minutes
Public Transit: No
Dog Friendly: Yes
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