One of the attractions of Golden Ears is its proximity to local facilities. Not only is the park a huge draw for its clean beaches, nature trails and family-friendly activities, but its location, close to shopping and lodgings, help to make it a choice all-season travel destination.
A short, half-hour drive from the charming, bustling town of Maple Ridge will take you to some of the most beautiful walking trails in the lower mainland. Even in mid-December, during my last visit, the forest was lush and green, full of fresh, verdant ferns, with some winter-hardy berries adding splashes of color.
The rustic walking trails were the only evidence of humans among the mighty trees that rose up all around. The years-thick carpet of fallen needles softened the sound of our footfalls to a quiet scuff, the only sounds breaking the silence.
Huge stumps dotted the forest floor; their moss covered sides and hollowed trunks mute reminders of long-dead giant evergreens. Some stumps showed chain marks and deep notches, scars left in them by loggers who cut the forest giants so long ago.
At times, the silence was as profound as if we had found our way into a forest cathedral, with rays of celestial light filtering through the trees - God’s own stained glass windows. then, the path would dip and turn, and we would find ourselves in a wooded dell with a clear stream bubbling through its heart. At such times, it was easy to imagine we’d been magically transported to some unknown realm.
I hadn’t expected much company on our ramble, but the good weather and scenic trails proved to be a magnet for other visitors. Soon, it seemed at every turn we’d meet laughing groups of hikers. Families with young children, dogs in tow, greeted us, sharing our joy in the day, and the beautiful paths.