The beauty of the 62,540-hectare Golden Ears Provincial Park draws thousands of tourists as well as locals every year.
One of the largest parks in B.C., it offers a variety of activities, including boating, hiking, camping, fishing, waterskiing, windsurfing, mountain biking and picnicking.
Day use beach/boating areas
The park’s day-use areas have a vehicle parking fee of $5 per day or $1 for the first hour. There are no fire pits or lifeguards.
Alouette (South Beach): A vehicle-accessible area, with a sandy beach and roped-off swimming area, canoe and kayak rentals, change house, flush and pit toilets. Barbecues with briquettes are permitted.
There is also a beach area for dogs near parking lot 1 and a four-lane cement boat launch.
Campers Beach: A hike-in area adjacent to the Alouette and Gold Creek campgrounds, it has a sandy beach with a roped-off swimming area. No dogs allowed.
North Beach: Next to North Beach Campground, this sandy beach is accessible on foot from East Canyon parking lot via North Beach Trail. Dogs must be on-leash.
The park has three vehicle-accessible campgrounds. Alouette has 205 sites, Gold Creek has 148 sites and North Beach has 55.
There are also two group campsites and walk-in back country camping. Alouette and Gold Creek have hot showers and flushing and pit toilets. Campfires are allowed in the provided fire rings only, unless a provincial fire ban is instituted. Firewood may be purchased.
Camping fees are $22 for the Alouette and Gold Creek sites, $14 for North Beach, $5 for back country and $22 for party or group sites. Discounted seniors’ rates may be available.
First come, first served sites are available, but tend to fill up fast. Reservations are recommended and can be made at www.discovercamping.ca, 604-689-9025 or 1-8000-689-9025 for a fee of $6.42 per night, to a maximum of $19.26.
The park has an extensive trail system for hiking, walking, mountain biking and horseback riding. The trails range from easy to very difficult, from the wheelchair accessible Spirea Trail to day hikes to overnight hikes to the back country.
While there are no technical climbing opportunities, hikes to both Alouette Mountain and the Golden Ears require intermediate skills and proper hiking equipment. The 11 km trail to Alouette Mountain is a nine- to 10-hour return trip. The 12 km trail to Golden Ears is a seven-hour one-way trip – overnight camping required for most.
There are also more than 20 km of gravel and dirt horse trails.
Park location: From Dewdney Trunk Road, turn north up 232 Street, then east onto Fern Crescent and follow the signs.
Contact info: Gibson Pass Resort, email@example.com or 604-795-6169, or look up the B.C. parks website at www.env.gov.bc.ca/bcparks.