Summit Golden Ears

14.9 miles 5039.4 ft gain  - Out-and-Back Trail

Added by Brad Hefford

This backpacking trip offers amazing views from the summit!

Day 1
Starting from the Golden Ears parking lot, your journey begins up a relatively small incline passing two bridges and entering the forest. Continue through the forest passing small cliffs and revealing some views of what you are going to climb the next day. Your estimated time it should take to get Alder Flats from the parking lot is around 2.5-3hrs; it is roughly 6km (3.7 mi) and 1200m (4000 ft) in elevation. Once you get to Alder Flats, set up camp for your first night and enjoy the views of the valley, re-gaining your strength for tomorrow's climb.

Day 2
Although this hike is do-able in two days, we chose to do it in three because we had the extra time, and I would highly recommend it. Packing up from the night before at Alder Flats, prepare yourself for some riverbed switchbacks to start the day off. Once you have reached the top of the switchbacks, take some time to have some water and a snack because you are in for one hell of a stair master. It may seem like it never ends, but it will eventually. You will reach a clearing in the trail which is a great place to have some more water and take a load off, and from there the rest of your journey is very straightforward. After regaining some energy, you'll walk along the top of the ridge and up the last section of the trail to Golden Ears summit, reaching the emergency hut and your second camping spot.

After setting up camp, enjoy some down time, make some food, and get some rest - the summit is close by. Climb the summit around sunset for the best views. From camp it takes about 30-45min to reach the very peak of the mountain, after a rock scramble up the side. This is a very steep section of trail, so some caution may be nessecary. The view from the top is one of the best I have ever experienced - you can see all of the lower mainland including more of the costal mountain range. Make sure to bring headlamps for the hike back down to camp.

Day 3
Make breakfast, take down camp, then head back down the trail. There is a small glacier lake with a little cliff to jump off (perhaps visible from camp), which is a bit of a detour but very refreshing. Hiking all the way back to the car will cover a total of 12km (7.5 mi) and 2300m (7550 ft), which is a lot on the legs but do-able.

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Adult Beverages
Cliff Jumping


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Overall rating: 

about 3 years ago


Pretty hike. Intimidating hike. The first 6k's are cakewalk and the last 6, the antithesis. I made it 200m away from the summit and turned back because I was hiking alone and didn't like the steepness of the trail and rope laid for safety. Epic views of Pitt lake, mt. Baker, mt Robie Reid, and Mt. Judge Howay. Also the entire range up towards Indian arm and area. NOT an easy hike.. I summited black tusk in garabaldi two weeks prior and this was absolute murder in comparison. Still, a beauty and well worth it!


about 4 years ago

First Overnight - Epic!

Amazing hike! My new favourite! Aug 3/13 The trail has a great variety and little breaks from the incline. Trail, rock, scrambling, climbing over roots and rock, incline. Starts easy, gets harder, option to drop your pack and set up camp about 2 hours in at alderflats. Most people seem to do this but I would highly recommend taking your pack up 4 more hours to the clearing - meadow like - just before the emergency hut and camping there! Drop your pack and just take the basics up the last hour to the peak. After the hut when you hit the snow be sure you have been following the orange flags, if its cloudy it is easy to miss them and the white out effect can result in climbing some pretty steep rock areas or even getting disoriented and lost. A lot easier to follow the trail on the way down from the peak as you start about the clouds. What a gorgeous view!! So incredible! Start early enough in the day to have time to enjoy the top, stop to drink ice cold water from a fountain on your way back to the hut! The sunset I had in the meadow area was spectacular! Well worth carrying a pack all the way up. Be sure to take enough water as the supply after alderflats is minimal to none until you hit the snow after the hut. Enjoy! Gods creation is on display up there!

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