Golden Ears Provincial Park was for a long time an almost mystical place for us. We knew it was there, but never made the time to check it out. However, driving through the area and seeing how accessible it was really peaked our interest and we decided to explore for the first time on the Canada Day long weekend. As the West Canyon Trail leads to the popular Alder Flatts and eventually Panorama Ridge, we decided to look for a more isolated spot along the quieter East Canyon Trail to spend our weekend.
While the parking lot and trail to Gold Creek Falls were quite busy, once we were on the connecting trail to the East Canyon we were on our own. The connecting trail can be difficult to find at first, but persevere and you’ll find it. It only took us about 30 minutes to find the small flagging tape that marked the connector the first time!
The trail to viewpoint beach is easy to follow. Apparently there is an emergency horse shelter, but weren’t able to find it on our two trips there. Something to look forward to discovering on future trips!
Maybe due to the many car camping spots available or possibly due to people being dissuaded from the crowds by the lake, the hike in spots along Gold Creek are hardly used. On our first trip on a long weekend we had an entire side of the river to ourselves! We even explored up the river for a few kilometres and discovered dozens of more potential sites on the way into the deeper official backcountry sites. We opted to stay near the river on both trips so Rey could play with some new friends, and we could take a dip into the water ourselves. As always, if you’re camping make sure you practice proper bear safety with your food and gear.
If you found the way in a bit too easy you can always try the West Canyon Trail which then has a separate turn off to the East Canyon Trail. This is the entry trail for those wishing to climb to Panorama Ridge of the Golden Ears Trail. It follows the mountains up rather than the creek so be prepared for some significant elevation gain and drop, but the views of the valley and creek are definitely worth it.
Have photos of your East Canyon Trail experience? We’d love to see where you set up camp!
NOTE: On our second trip the rangers were turning people back due to the park being full we told them we were hiking and and they politely let us in. There was lots of parking for us, but the front camping and beach areas were definitely at capacity.
Hikers: Josie and Nick
Four-legged Friends: Rey and Indie
All photos by Josie.