Added by Matt Hosford
Few peopleGreat camp spotsAmazing viewsDistance: 11 miles/ 18 kmsDuration: 2 DaysElevation gain: 3900 ft./ 1200 m
Backcountry permits are required to camp on Panorama Ridge ($5) and can be paid online.
The trailhead is located at the West Canyon Parking lot. The trail starts out on a relatively flat old logging road. The trail slowly gains elevation over three kilometers taking you through thick green forest and carpets of dense ferns.
At the 3 km marker (1.86 miles) you come to a fork. The right descends down to Lower Falls and the left takes you to Alder Flats. Head left towards Alder Flats where the trail begins to steepen and the trail becomes rugged. The trail is currently under maintenance from the fork to Alder Flats to smooth out the terrain.
Alder Flats (5 km / 3.1 miles) is a good spot to refuel and hangout in the sun beside the river. Many people choose to camp here and even use it as a base camp to summit Golden Ears the following day.
From Alder Flats the trail climbs again. This time up an old service road. During snow melt and heavy rain, this route becomes a stream and Gortex becomes your best friend.
At 7 kilometers (4.3 miles) you come into an open vista where you can catch the first real glimpse of Golden Ears and the emergency hut. Stop here and catch your breath because you’re about to get your butt kicked over the next 3 kilometers while ascending 700 m (2300 ft).
You’ll finally come out of the trees and climb on to the ridge that turns south towards Golden Ears. To the west you’ll see the mountains on the North Shore, Vancouver Island, and Garibaldi Provincial Park as well as Pitt Lake. To the east you can see Mt. Baker and tons of jagged peaks in the Cascade Range.
There are a limited number of tent cleared areas on the ridge to set up camp. Find one with a great view. From here you can the option to climb up to the summit of Golden Ears (2 km / 300 m) or just hang out on the ridge.
The sunsets from the ridge are phenomenal and will wash away any doubt you had while climbing up the never ending ridge. The sunrise coming up behind Mt. Baker in the morning is definitely worth getting up for.
During winter months and sometimes later on in the year there is snow on Panorama Ridge all the way up to the summit. The terrain along the ridge and at the top is very exposed and in areas, steep. During these conditions, crampons and an ice axe are recommended to climb past Panorama Ridge.
- Tent, sleeping bag, thermarest etc.
- Cooking gear, water purifier
- Hiking / camping clothes
- Hiking Poles (optional)
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