Golden Ears Summit
Round trip: 26 km
Elevation gain: 1,688 m
My moving time: 10 hours
I have been to a few other peaks and trails in Golden Ears Provincial Park, like Evan’s Peak, Mount Nutt, East and West Canyon Trail, etc. But I never try the name sake of the park, Golden Ears Summit. You know it’s the highest peak in the the surrounding area because you will look down at all the other peaks in the near distant from the summit.
Before you jump in the car and say let’s go hike Golden Ears Summit, you need to know a few things. First of all, the round trip length is close to 26 km (not 22 km as some sites suggest). It’s steep, elevation gain of almost 1,700 meters. In the final one kilo-meter or so there will be some scrambling.
This trail is the hardest day hike trail I have been to, and I am an active hiker and been to a few hard trails in my neck of woods.
The first 6 km (up to Alder Flats) is relatively mild compared to what is coming. After Alder Flats, there are scrambling, rock climbing, rope pulling, ladder climbing. If you are an active hiker, it may still take you about 10 hours to go out and back. Bring a lot of water. No water source until 6 km in, and again at around 12 km ( if the creek near the emergency shelter is not dried out).
When you arrive at the emergency shelter (also the camp site), you think you are close. But the worst is yet to come. You are still about 45 minutes from the summit, and you are mostly doing rock climbing on the ridge from the shelter to the summit. Did I mention it is steep in this portion? The ridge may be wider than some other ridges that you have been to, but a fall will be the last time you are hiking. Because of mostly rocks in this part, trail markers are missing. Offline maps are required in this trail.
Once you are on the Summit, take some time to enjoy the 360 degree view of mountains and lakes as far as the eyes can see. I can clearly see Mount Baker from there.
After enjoying the view and have a break, you are ready to follow the same route down. Be mindful of the park closing time. They do lock the gate after closing time. That’s another factor in your decision to go all the way to the summit or not.