Golden Ears Provincial Park - Alouette Lake. This is another one of the paddle selections from The Vancouver Paddler" book that I reviewed this May 2004.
My son & I decided to do a canoe trip for a weekend (July 2,3 & 4/2004) and Alouette Lake was what I have picked. It is approx 17 km long and relatively narrow. You can put in at the boat launch area, near the day parking, at the South end of the lake. Park your vehicle in the day site areas and pay for parking (See Directions below for cost). There is a dock and beach there to facilitae loading canoes. As we paddled North, I was surprised at the extent of tent camping all along the shores of the lower half of the lake. It seemed that everywhere you looked there were tarps & tents & boats drawn up along the shores. Many on the sand or shingle beaches! We poked our way up Gold Creek (where the 3 Provincial campsites are clustered) to the first rapids (about 500-600 metres) and filtered water at the deep pool below the rapids. There are a fair number of cliff jumping spots along this stretch and we watched several groups jumping into the deep waters of the creek.
There is a "marine park" style campground located on the North side of Moyer Creek (approx 9 kms from the dam at the S. end) which has 10-14 (or more) tent "pads" to pitch up on. Some under the forest eaves, some right on the beaches and some on trails between the NW shore of the lake and the NE shore of Moyer Creek. This "campground" has one pit toilet and it appears to have been some time since the pads were maintained. One or 2 sites even had picnic tables. This is just before the narrows which are about 10 kms from the dam & lead to the top half of the lake. We found a spot on the head of a small cove. The water was nice and warm! and there was a gravel & sand beach.
While we did not go further down the lake than the narrows (it was blowing too hard on Saturday - whitecaps - for us to want to work back against the wind in the afternoon) we saw at least 1/2 dozen canoes or kayaks that did. They returned about 4-5 hours later.
Sunday morning we worked our way up just past the narrows and there are several really nice sites on the NW shores of the narrows looking North to the end of the lake. The top half looks quite pristine compared to the lower half with none of the "squatter" style campsites visible along the shores, like you see on the lower half. Perhaps this is due to the steeper sides overall (especially the NW shore) in the northern half of the lake. There are rumoured to be places to pitch a tent at the N. end of the lake.
Hazards - Power boats are extremely common on the lake for tubing, wakeboarding, waterskiing and general travel end to end. In fact, down near the dam at the south end could be downright dangerous for canoes & kayaks due to inattentive powerboaters! Since this is a "fjord-type" lake the winds can really get moving and though Friday was uncommonly calm it is common to have about 2 foot waves - whitecaps at that (What you could call Beaufort scale "5 to 6" winds - 20-25 mph). The other major hazard is deadheads from the trees that were flooded when the dam was built. It can get quite spooky paddling through the large snags along the shore in places & tree trunks & stumps can get to be 6-8 feet in diameter - many are festooned with large spider webs! Overall I would rate this an intermediate paddle. Even though many spots are easy, it depends on how hard the wind is blowing and where you find yourself against the shore. Lake depth is between 100 m & 160 m in the deeper spots.
The topo map that gets you Alouette Lake on paper is 92G8.
Head East (or from the Valley head West) along Lougheed Hwy to Mission. Take 232nd St. North (follow the signs) until you get to a park at 132nd Ave. then head east staying on the main route (Fern Cres.) until you get to the park boundary. Continue to the Day parking lots where you can buy a ticket for $5/day for as many days as you plan to be out. Yes - that's all it costs to camp along the shores here at Alouette Lake! But the facilities are minimal or non-existant. Practice Leave No Trace camping!!
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Posted By: Gabe-o
- Sun Aug 16 00:26:25 EDT 2009
UpsideIt's nice to have a place so close to the city to get away to. The swimming is much nicer away from the main beach and the power boat noise is not bad on a weekday.
DownsideInformal campsites at the south end of the lake are pretty dirty. We packed out a huge trash bag of other people's garbage--don't look in the shrubs if you're squeamish.
CommentGreat during the week and at least half-way up the lake.
Posted By: evster2
- Wed Sep 29 00:44:14 EDT 2004
UpsideGreat scenery so close to Vancouver...I guess that's why we live here! I usually paddle on the east side of the lake as that seems to offer more protection from the usual wind. It's only a short hop directly across to the boat ramp with a quartering wind for the trip home. There is camping at the north end but I've often found this area busy with boaters on the weekends.
DownsideWatch for boat traffic as you go through the narrows. If the lake is low, you may want to proceed through on the west side to minimize wave refraction from wakes.
CommentA great spot for kayaking/canoeing either for a few hours or a few days.
Posted By: cruisingnorm
- Thu Sep 16 15:30:37 EDT 2004
UpsideI was unaware of these campsite destinations for kayak and canoe. Great to find out about them
DownsideWould be nice to have some GPS waypoints for the main campsite and attractions locations.