Year Round Hiking Trails in Golden Ears - Maple Ridge

by EnelleLamb

Explore nature's playground in Golden Ears Provincial Park with year round trails for hikers, bikers and horsemen alike!

Living and working in the lower mainland of British Columbia definitely offers a unique opportunity for hikers, anglers, and outdoor enthusiasts. One popular destination, and our favorite, are the trails in Golden Ears Provincial Park. The trails are open year round, (unless the park is closed due to heavy snowfall, which is rare,) as well as the Alouette South Beach day area for canoeing, kayaking and picnics.

It isn't unusual to see nature photographers and birdwatchers among the giant trees beside the trails, quietly waiting for that perfect picture. Although not as heavily traveled during the winter months, you can be sure to encounter hikers and dog walkers year round, and with over twenty kilometers of horseback riding and biking trails, Golden Ears is a perfect place for horseback riders and cyclists.

The park boasts 62,540 hectares and is packed with backcountry trails for hiking, several climbing trails, campsites, lakes and picnic areas.

A Sense of Peace

It's amazing how quiet and peaceful woodland trails can be, even when they butt up against suburbia. We felt like the only people on earth, yet we knew cars were zipping by our location a mere five minute walk away. One minute we are in the middle of a crowded, bustling community, and the next, a peaceful haven full of birdsong, majestic trees and clear, rushing water.

Quiet settings

fauna
Enelle Lamb

Golden Ears Provincial Park

Park map

This picture shows the many trails, campgrounds, picnic areas and spots of interest throughout the park
park map
park map
B.C. parks board

Popular haunts

The pictures to the right show the Spirea Trail, which is one of the most popular trails, and is designed for a wide range of physical abilities and is wheelchair accessible. 

This trail can be accessed from many different areas of the park, and opens into the Alouette South Beach area, a common spot for dog walkers, and has a lovely picnic area with a beautiful beach on the lake front.

This area of the park is open year round, and every time we have visited, we have encountered others enjoying the trails and scenery with their four-legged friends, as well as several birdwatchers and photographers. 

We never, ever, visit Golden Ears without our camera. Even though we have been here many times, we never get tired of the scenery and there is always an occasion to snap some pictures of the family having fun!

Just around the corner from where these pictures were taken, is one of several horse corrals where riders can tether their mounts and enjoy a quiet picnic or a quick swim before continuing the twenty mile (each way,) ride through the giant trees. The trails are always cool and well shaded, as the trees stretch hundreds of feet in the air, making this the perfect place to enjoy the fresh outdoors, even when we are blessed with liquid sunshine instead!

For those of you not from the North Coast, liquid sunshine refers to rain...something we get a lot of, especially during the winter months!

Either way, rain or shine, Golden Ears Provincial Park is a wonderful place to visit. Bring your bike, horse, dog, or just yourself and enjoy one of the many peaceful, scenic trails. I promise, you won't regret it!

One of the many trails

Spirea trail
Spirea trail
Enelle Lamb
Alouette Lake South Beach
Alouette Lake South Beach
Enelle Lamb
South Beach picnic area
South Beach picnic area
Enelle Lamb

Flora and Fauna

Forest Gems
Forest Gems
Enelle Lamb

Favorite pathways

There are many trails and pathways that we haven't explored yet, but the ones that we have enjoyed are definitely worth repeating. There is always something new to see and photograph, and we never get tired of the scenery.

Even 'ordinary' tree fungus is worthy of capturing on film,(actually, most people prefer digital photography as it is kinder to the novice shutter bugs,) or at least it is worthy of my attention!

Results that speak for themselves

(Photos below)

Now that I have, hopefully, tweaked your interest, I will show you some of the beautiful rain-forest images from our favorite haunts. 

Natures curtains

Natures curtains
Natures curtains
Enelle Lamb

Just a trim please

Old Man's Beard, or Spanish Moss is an epiphyte. There are  over 30,000 species of epiphyes worldwide and may uncatalogued species. This term describes a plant which grows on the host plant or tree but takes no nutrients from the tree itself, instead relying on nutrients from the air, rain, and compost that lies on tree branches. 

Some of the better known epiphytes include ferns, lichens, moss and orchids, many of which are quite common in British Columbia's rain-forests.

Historical remains

These immense stumps litter the forest floor. These giants were logged in the 1920's when logging camps boomed along the north coast of British Columbia. 

The Pacific coast became famous during that time for its timber and many of these giants were harvested with abandon to supply the growing need for building supplies.

Nothing is ever wasted in a rain-forest. Even though this giant is no more, nature recycles her own, with no exceptions! If you look closely you can see a small tree growing out of the middle of the stump.

Bygone giant

Bygone giant
Bygone giant
Enelle Lamb

Flora or Fauna?

Flora or Fauna?
Flora or Fauna?
Enelle Lamb

Fingers and toes

I'm fairly certain that these "fingers and toes" are another variety of epiphytes, as I did not see a root system and they appear to be simply part of the tree branches. Because they are so unusual, I had to have a picture! They remind me of coral formations, although I highly doubt they are related.

This is the first time I have ever noticed these plants, so if anyone else has any information regarding them, please feel free to add a comment.

A different perspective

When you walk among these trees, it feels like you are stepping through time. This forest has been alive and growing for centuries. Just one footstep off the pathway is like entering a land were time seems to stand still.

But when you stop and actually look up, your whole perspective shifts. It's a humbling experience when you really see and feel the majesty that surrounds you instead of simply taking it for granted. The scenery is breathtaking, awe-inspiring, relaxing and rejuvenating and always leaves you wanting to come back for more!

Come join me!

Look waay up

Look up
Look up
Enelle Lamb
Updated: 09/08/2015, EnelleLamb
 
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EnelleLamb on 07/05/2012

My pleasure redelf. It's always so nice to leave the hustle and bustle of city life behind for a few hours. :)

redelf on 06/18/2012

Fabulous pictures, Enelle! Thanks for an entertaining walk through your "back yard" (OK, not your real back yard, but only a short drive away...)

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