NTS Map: 92G7. The trail is well-maintained and a fairly easy go despite the 1160m gain to the cabin. For the first two hours the trail is a pleasant meander through the forest. Alder Flats (5km in) is a beautiful camping spot for those who want to take baby steps, especially in autumn when the trees are a gorgeous yellow. After Alder Flats the trail gets steep, not heart-attack steep, but enough to get the lungs going.
For many, reaching panorama ridge and the small alpine cabin will be enough for one day--remember, most of the elevation gain is over the 4 km from the flats. After the cabin the route to the Ears is pretty clear--a 3 km ridge-walk that finds you on loose rock and a patch of year-round snow. The views aren't going to knock your socks off, but the Ears themselves are a Middle-Earth-looking fortress-type peak, and the colourful deciduous trees make this a great fall hike.
Follow the Lougheed Hwy East from Vancouver, turning off at the second Dewdney Trunk exit. Follow Dewdney to 232nd St and take a left. There will be a Golden Ears Park sign on the right at Fern Crescent (4-way stop). Take a right here and follow the main, windy road right into the park gates. After the gates continue along the road to its end at a pay parking lot with signs for upper and lower canyon trails. Follow the main upper canyon trail until branching trails eventually disappear after 2 km or so.
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Posted By: Drod
- Wed Aug 08 00:53:49 EDT 2012
QuestionHey, so I think I may have dropped a blue olympus camera at the north east corner of the parking lot. If you have found it and want good karma, please message me. Here's a report on our hike:
Just hiked in and camped at Panarama Ridge on the Saturday night of the August Long weekend. Hiked up to the peak in the morning and then out to the car. Still some snow around the emergency shelter making tent spot selection a little tough. We did find a slightly slanted spot that worked fine. There was no water sources between the Alder flats and the shelter. The flats took about 1.5 hours to get to and the shelter (and water) another 4.5. The peak took ~45 minutes from the shelter and about 20 to get down (snow sliding). Ice axes weren't necessary this time, though we had hiking poles with powder buckets that came in handy.
ANSWERS are in this forum: Lost Camera in Parking Lot August Long Weekend
Posted By: matman29
- Wed Aug 01 21:47:34 EDT 2012
Questionwhat equipment do we need to reach the summitANSWERS are in this forum: equipment
Posted By: goaroundglobe
- Tue Jul 24 22:48:05 EDT 2012
QuestionPostman1134, once you hit snow past 8k, is trail easy to find? We are planning on hiking Golden Ears on Aug. 4th or 5th. This is my first time hiking it, so I just want to make sure I won't have to spend extra time loosing/finding trail.
Thanks!ANSWERS are in this forum: Snow conditions and trail markings
Posted By: PeterWest91
- Tue Jul 17 05:12:23 EDT 2012
QuestionAnyone doing this in the next month or so? All my friends are lazy and not keen on hiking mountains. Let me know!ANSWERS are in this forum: Hiking buddy
Posted By: postman1134
- Mon Jul 09 03:31:54 EDT 2012
CommentJust summited this weekend. Fairly easy, simple and dry until about 8km. At that point there many snowy patches, often steep and slippery through the trees. A lot of scrambling and kicking steps. This was the worst part of the hike. Once on the ridge, it was a pretty nice walk on snow almost until the shelter. From then on it's very steep, exposed snow and some steep/exposed scrambling on rock. I used an ice axe for the last portion, and I wouldn't recommend attempting the summit without one. A lot of really fun sliding on the way down, but once again I would not have felt comfortable without an ice axe. Approximately 9 hours return.
Posted By: bvanbergen
- Mon Apr 23 20:42:47 EDT 2012
QuestionI am looking for a backpacking destination for the May long weekend. How much snow should we expect on the Golden Ears hike? Does anyone have any other recommendations?ANSWERS are in this forum: Suitable for a May Hike
Posted By: richtrail
- Wed Jun 01 12:35:52 EDT 2011
QuestionHi everyone, I hiked to the lookout two weeks ago to get a look at the trail. But we are going to plan to camp at Alder Flats and then do the trip up to Golden Ears the next day. Just wanted to know what the parking situation is like for the weekend and if mid week would be a better option. Is the parking lot at the trail head your only option?ANSWERS are in this forum: Mid Week
Posted By: camshaft
- Thu Mar 03 15:44:49 EST 2011
QuestionPosted By: binge - Wed Mar 02 20:31:48 EST 2011 Not Rated Question Estimated TimesWhen it says the trail is 24kms, that should take 6 hours, is that for a round trip or one way?
Well binge do your math man and search the net... How could you possibly ask if 6 hours was return in march ?
11 hours is summer return depending on fitness seen that as low as 6 hours return.
Right now with the amount of snow good luck breaking trail to the top.
to North Ear
Total Distance: 24.0 km (return)
Estimated Time: 11 hour
Average Grade: 12.7%
Structure: Linear - Return
Elevation Gain: 1521 m
Max Elevation: 1706 m
ANSWERS are in this forum: reply Estimated Times
Posted By: binge
- Wed Mar 02 20:31:48 EST 2011
QuestionWhen it says the trail is 24kms, that should take 6 hours, is that for a round trip or one way?ANSWERS are in this forum: Estimated Times
Posted By: toothpastechica
- Mon Sep 06 18:22:46 EDT 2010
UpsideA fun challenging trail...and im sure if there was no fog it would have gorgeous views at the top.
DownsideThe trail past the emergency shelter is poorly marked. THere are a lot of yellow ribbons right near the peak, but not much inbetween making it easy to get off track.
CommentI dont recommend trying to do this in one day unless you are extremely fit (or early in the summer when there is more daylight) we went yesterday and dealt with a lot of fog, which included getting off course coming down from the peak and overshooting where the shelter was, this was not a pleasent experience as we were lost on the mountin for a few hours and had no idea which direction we needed to head as the fog was quite dense. Also the couple extra hours resulted in coming down in the dark, although we made it, it would have been nice to have brought geat to stay at the campground overnight and make a much more enjoyable hiking not having to race against darkfall. Planning to do it again sometime, but better prepared and probably earlier in the season when its more likely to be sunny.
Posted By: jayjardine
- Sun Sep 05 14:17:12 EDT 2010
UpsideChallenging trail, a nice "trophy" to point to from the Lower Mainland
DownsideDull slog along the lower portion - recommend running it if you can. Remainder of the trail is rocky, muddy, slippery, rooty year round. Need to keep your head up for dead-end trail diversions, particularly past the emerg shelter
CommentI did this as a trail run going light to make the peak and get back in a reasonable time. 2:47 to the summit including several times going off trail and backtracking. The flagging seems excessive in some areas and non-existent in others. Tough to do fast as there are sections where you will be crawling/scrambling over roots, rocks, branches and deadfall. Few bugs and no ice equipment required as of September 4th, 2010 but you would be crazy not to have an axe and crampons earlier in the year while the segment from the shelter to the peak is under snow. Fellow exposure wimps should note one sketchy little ledge just before the summit. Take care particularly when the rock or your shoes are wet.
Posted By: binge
- Mon Jul 26 18:54:11 EDT 2010
Questionim planning a trip up the golden ears trail and i was wondering if there is much drinkable water near the panorama ridge?ANSWERS are in this forum: golden ears trail
Posted By: Pyxis
- Thu Oct 01 21:56:56 EDT 2009
QuestionLooking to do this as an overnight trip, possibly staying at alder flats though I would rather go further and camp closer to the top if possible...
Is it possible to stay at the shelter at panorama ridge? Also I heard there is an older shelter and a new one that is is just for emergency's and helicopter rescues, can anyone confirm this for me? many Thank you's :)ANSWERS are in this forum: Shelters
Posted By: trailrunner
- Sun Sep 27 21:18:56 EDT 2009
Upside Very good view from the top. Fairly busy traffic but not too much. Thank to some cleanups done recently, I didn't notice much of garbage along the way. Good trail for fast running at the bottom part. Lots of spring & creek water available even very close to the peak. Quite a variation from a flat even surfaced wide trail to mark-less scrambling route at the alpine.
Downside There is no clear enough flagging or marking to indicate the route after the alpine. It would be very dangerous or impossible for beginners like me to ascend if the weather is not completely clear. Watch for occasional devil's club waiting standing at the side of trail waiting for your handhold convenience when you descend. I had to yell very loud few times and people thought the yell was Sasquawatch's(but not devil's) There are many seemingly unnecessary small(20-50m) vertical up and down included in the trail.
The trail is unsuitable for fast running unless specific pacing is well planned. A- Although it looks ok at ascent, the amount of loose gravel & rock at the bottom & mid section is too much for fast descent. B- From mid section and higher, sometimes there is less or no loose gravel, but you need to stop almost 100 times to check which diverting little trails are the right one to go at the bush or tree covered area you can do easily in walking speed, but running while watching firm foothold this is not possible.
RECOMMENDED STRATEGY to assure under 4hrs to peak and return to parking. ASCENT 1- Go fast run on ascent at the early stages with near race pace sprint and don't worry about the pacing. When you get to higher elevations you can often rest your cardio and legs as often there is a need to scramble or crawl. 2- Focus on fast run on relatively short smooth rock sections at the alpine. 3- At towards the peak, prepare for alternating fast run and crawling 50-50. DESCENT 1-Go fast run on smooth rock section at the alpine. 2-Sprint at near race pace at any clear soil route section- they are all short. You cannot go fast in other areas. 3-Try to speed up run as much as possible at steep descent before hitting mass loose gravel area. Expect difficulty doing fast pace run at loose gravel section. 4-Whenever loose gravel goes away, also at any small ascent sections at return, speed up as much as possible. 5-Be ready for real race pace sprint when trail becomes fully runnable at the very bottom close to parking.
Comment West Canyon parking to Golden Ears peak 2hr 29mins. Peak to parking. 2hr 11mins. Total trip time 4hr 40mins. Including Total rest 14mins(11mins at the peak, 1min x3 times(rest room, shoes problem etc), total time took 4hr 56mins. ---There was a major pacing error; I way overestimated the difficulty of course and went too slow for the ascent, and at descent I mistakenly counted on fast sprint at the mid long section of gravel which turned out to be not suitable for running at all. I should have done in 4hrs to 4hrs 10mins comfortably instread of 4hrs 40mins. Fast technical runner should be able to do in 3.5hrs return. The entire course except the scattered scrambling parts of the trail were run. If you are thinking of running up the peak, note this is only slightly more work than many of Howe Sound mountains, but about the same as Russet lake. Do not overestimate the course. But run only on completely sunny day. --
The trail stays quite flat or semi flat most of the way until Alder Flats camp ground. Then ascent starts but be careful for many diverting trails from here. They are not very clearly marked. You will have few view points at low elevation. You will soon notice the Cedar looking bush is actually Cypress(if not, crush the needles & smell) and you are hitting alpine. Keep the sharp focus on real route over false diverting ones. After many small ups and downs you will reach tundra area. From here on, you want to oritent yourself well so that you are on the right route while continue the often trail-less ascent. Be especially careful when you take the route towards the peak. It is no Lion's West peak but still there are some cliffs to die for. The peak is kind of oval shape and narrow & long.
Posted By: camshaft
- Thu Sep 10 22:14:11 EDT 2009
DownsideA lot of trails in flowing creek beds.. Garbage left by idiots!!
CommentCompleted in 12 hours on sept 8 2009 no snow at this time of year. First couple km's of trails from the parking lot are easy. Then becomes more and more challenging with trails running in flowing creek beds. My gps showed my trip at 7km's shorter but 2 hours longer then my black tusk trip. As I mentioned above the trails are alot more challenging and not a walk in the park. I personally recommend taking 2 days and enjoying yourself. Follow the trail markers orange squares on trees with some blue and orange ribbons. Our group got lost because of pink search and rescue ribons. So don't follow the pink ribbons..
To answer mplusm question No water at the shelter but further up some flowing water. From the flats to shelter a number of small streams. Posted By: mplusm - Mon Aug 24 13:52:13 EDT 2009 Not Rated Question Water on Golden Ears TrailIs there any drinking/cooking water available at the hut on the ridge on the Golden Ears trail?
Posted By: docdusty75
- Mon Jun 01 18:15:52 EDT 2009
UpsideAmazing views, great changes in terrain/scenery, awesome all round hike!
DownsideMarking from ridge above Alder Flats can be a bit confusing. Disregard the pink Search and Rescue tape. Luckily we had our map and compass to get us back on track.
CommentWill do this one again. Maybe take 2 days to do it next time. It took us 12.5 hrs from parking lot round trip due to the snow at top. All around though it was well worth the 24 km travelled! The views are amazing throughout the hike!
Posted By: gm0n3y
- Tue May 26 19:11:58 EDT 2009
UpsideExcellent views, not too crowded.
DownsideThe loose rocky section about 2/3 of the way seems to take forever and is not fun.
CommentI've hiked this a few times and while it is pretty challenging, it shouldn't be too difficult for moderately experienced hikers.
Posted By: HaileyVandyk
- Wed Apr 29 00:11:36 EDT 2009
UpsideAmazing views once you are up in the alpine, for the most part well marked, and each Km is marked as well. Not very busy, well maintained.
DownsideTheres only a small window where you can sumit it or else theres too much snow.
CommentAwesome hike, tones of fun, good work out once you get passed alder flats. Seriously unreal views, the alpine is beautiful!
Posted By: oprth
- Mon Sep 29 04:28:32 EDT 2008
UpsideHad a real good workout especially since we all had 60 pound back packs. Not that many people so its a nice and peaceful hike.
DownsideThe flies were very annoying and the bug spray didnt get rid of them. The snow was too icy and we could make it passed the emergency shelter.
Commentgood day hike for experienced hikers, novices should break it up into an overnight trip. hike up to Alder flats and set up camp, then take a day back pack for the next day to get to the top.
Posted By: Summit Man
- Tue Sep 09 16:06:42 EDT 2008
UpsideAn excellent full day round trip challenge (for the fit) or overnight delight. Great views and exhilerating perch on the summit. The ice fields are quite extensive and an interesting part of the excursion.
DownsideComing back down - the elevation drop is hard on the legs/knees if done as a day trip especially through the extensive rocky sections.
CommentA moderately challenging hike with a wide variety of terrain and occasional physical tests. The glacial water is a pleasant treat upon reaching the ice fields just prior to the final pitch to the summit. Care (experience would help) when crossing the ice fields especially near the top where the angle is upwards of 40 degrees - one slip and you could end up sliding down out of control and into rocks. An ice pick and/or crampons are recommended. A must for the adventurous.
Posted By: scecchi
- Sun Jul 27 23:45:54 EDT 2008
UpsideDefinately want to tackle this one in good weather. Wet conditions would make the portion of trail beyond Alder Flats difficult to manage. The best parts of the entire trail are up in the alpine. Great views all around.
DownsideAlder Flats must be too accessible to the local riff-raff judging by the amount of garbage we found there. I lugged out a whole garbage bag full of crap.
CommentBe prepared with proper gear before tackling the ice field beyond the wilderness hut. We were not and decided to leave the peak for another day.
Posted By: mattntia
- Mon Aug 20 17:06:11 EDT 2007
UpsideDecent view of Pitt Lake and out east. Close to Vancouver. Great excercise. Dog friendly. Great sunset.
DownsideOvergrown after Alder Flats. Slog. Garbage left in hut. Slppery roots in rain on upper half of trail.
CommentWould recomend setting up camp at Alder Flats then heading to the top and back down rather than luging gear up to the top just to stay on the ridge. trail is overgrown after alder flats up untill the stairs that head up to the ridge......
Posted By: Lawdude
- Wed Sep 06 16:45:36 EDT 2006
UpsideExcellent view of Pitt Lake from the ridge, and some great views of Mt. Blanshard and Edge Peak during the climb up.
DownsideSome fairly steep parts, particularly between km 7 and 9. Not so bad once you're on the ridge.
CommentThis trail really pushed me to the limit. The day was hot, and my water almost ran out before I made it to the waterfall near the summit.
Posted By: westons
- Fri Aug 11 21:57:59 EDT 2006
CommentJust to recap my last review: this hike takes 9 hours in total, including a 20 minute break at the peak.
Posted By: westons
- Fri Aug 11 21:56:42 EDT 2006
UpsideTough, varied hike that takes you across many different terrains.
DownsideLong, arduous sections. In total it is a 9 hour hike to the peak...and that is going at a fairly decent pace.
CommentOne of the best hikes in the lower mainland, and well worth the 9 hour slog. The views at the peak are stupendous, even though there is always a little bit of snow year-round.
Posted By: Derrick
- Thu Feb 24 01:44:15 EST 2005
UpsideA solid hike that will always test you.
CommentDespite what many of the other posts have written, I would recommend that you go fast and light on this one for greater summit chance. Dirtydeputydog in correct in the assesment
Posted By: Kmarshall
- Sat Sep 25 21:13:11 EDT 2004
UpsideEasy walk a little steep but definetly worth doing. The dogs loved it. we did lower falls unbelievable water falls. Great for picnicing
Commentwonderful hike. Take a day pack take a picnic. Go to lower falls fab scenery. Dogs loved the walk and the challenge. You are inside the forest the whole time but the scenery and the area is still a wonderful place to hike. 2hrs in 2hrs out. Worth every moment.
Posted By: crondeau
- Thu Sep 09 11:11:51 EDT 2004
UpsideThe views are meant to be great (I didn't see anything but clouds when I went up).
DownsideThis trail is a trial! I've never experienced anything more challenging. I carried all of my gear up to Alder Flats, camped overnight and hiked upt to the top the next morning. I pity those poor sods who carry all of their gear to the top.
CommentAlthough I didn't see anything from the top, I'm never going back. My calves were soar for days after the hike doww. And as always I was reminded of how disgusting people can be. Along the trail was a constant trail of garbage left by "nature loving" hikers.
Posted By: badguard95
- Mon Jul 26 18:34:57 EDT 2004
UpsideI found the views to be great once up on the ridge.
DownsideIf you are doing an over night trip, water is hard to come by after Alder flats.
CommentSomeone said day hike. While it can be done in a day, I would not call it a GOOD day hike. I think one night makes a great trip. I look forward to doing this hike again, but perhaps when its not 35 degrees out.
Posted By: anwon
- Tue Jun 22 04:19:47 EDT 2004
DownsideBeware of the snow field near the summit if you choose to go through it. Pick your route carefully and consider the snow conditions, especially early or late in the year when it can become icy once it is no longer exposed to the sun. (On separate occasions, two friends of mine--both experienced hikers--fell on the descent. One sustained minor scratches and bruises. The other friend had to be airlifted out after suffering fractures.)
Posted By: skatesonic
- Mon Dec 01 20:36:45 EST 2003
UpsideFantastic snowline camping. Reaching the peak is very attainable for most. Close to Vancouver
DownsideA lot of scrambling near the top section of the hike.
CommentA real HIKE to test the weight of your gear.
Posted By: dirtydeputydog
- Mon Oct 27 22:03:41 EST 2003
DownsideHard to believe this person actually walked the bottom rooty portion before Alder Flats neither wide nor flat. Alder flats is actually quite lly quite a nondescript place - no views - scrubby alders and salmonberrys.
CommentThis is actually an excellent day hike in the summer-fall (9 1/2 hrs return) I have no idea what anyone would do in 3 days and 1 hour. The views of the lower mainland are spectacular on a clear day. Just a note - as in most places on the coast, away from the city ornamental trees- the fall color is minimal restricted to vine maples and a few bushes.