S’More Summer left at Golden Ears Provincial Park

Entrance to Golden Ears Provincial Park Photo: Rob Weiss

Twisting and turning along the long winding road we travelled deeper and deeper into the lush forest. With the end of summer quickly approaching it was time for one last camping trip and the proximity and ease of access to Golden Ears Provincial Park made it our obvious first choice. Located in the Coast Mountain Range, 11 km north of Maple Ridge, Golden Ears is a Vancouver favourite.  Ideal for first-time campers or those not quite ready for backcountry travel the provincial park features three vehicle accessible campgrounds, Gold Creek, Alouette and North Beach all situated close to the lake for endless hours of outdoor exploration. Open year round, the Gold Creek site boasts 148 sites, the majority of them reservable through Discover Camping.

Rustic Tent Campsite Photo: Rob Weiss

We arrived late in the afternoon, and after checking in with the Park Ranger, we immediately began to strike camp in the North Beach area. With the tent up, sleeping pads inflated and sleeping bags neatly organized, we decided to explore the campground. Obviously, we were in a family friendly area. Kids on bicycles rode round and round the campsite loop, enjoying their new found freedom. Large groups of children played old fashioned games like Hide N Go Seek and Kick the Can. Families armed with beach towels and floaties were making their way down to the lake for post dinner swims. It was an idyllic setting, and we were thrilled to be there.

Alouette Lake Photo: Flickr Sadi Junior

Satisfied with our reconnaissance of the grounds, we decided to venture along the well-marked trail to the lake. Alouette Lake is a popular spot for swimming, windsurfing, water skiing, canoeing and fishing. Arriving at water’s edge, we noticed dusk beginning to fall. A few diehard souls were still cliff jumping and swimming, although the number of bathers was quickly dwindling. Motor boats sped toward the boat launch in a race against darkness. Sitting in silence, enjoying the ambience of the lake, we patiently waited for the first star to appear. Moonlight danced on the water, illuminating a canoe in the distance and the night sky came to life. It was perfect.

Although the fire ban was still in effect, as the skies darkened, campers carefully gathered their lawn chairs around the fire pits. Perhaps our modern day version of “circling the wagons?” A few groups ignited propane fires and the s’more toasting began. Traditional campfire treats, s’mores are comprised of fire toasted marshmallows, chocolate and layers of graham crackers. For many seasoned campers the ritual of making a s’more is almost an art form, and evidently, the campers at Golden Ears take their marshmallow roasting seriously. Well, if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em! Pass me a marshmallow, please.

Getting There:

One of the largest parks in British Columbia, Golden Ears Provincial Park is a nature lovers dream! Maple Ridge, Mission and Pitt Meadows are the closest communities. Access to the park by vehicle is via Dewdney Trunk Road.

Alouette Lake Photo: Flickr Peterson Photography

Campsites are rustic, bring your flashlight or headlamp and be prepared for pit toilets. Not ready to camp? Consider venturing out on one of the many hiking trails or explore one of the day use areas.

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