Last Updated on August 20, 2021
Golden Ears Provincial Park is a real gem in British Columbia for nature experiences. You will find breathtaking Alouette Lake, Golden Ears Summit, and countless wilderness trails. It is one BC Park that we can never get enough of. The Golden Ears Lower Falls Trail to Gold Creek Falls is one of the most popular trails in Golden Ears Provincial Park, near Maple Ridge, BC. This is due to its easy, flat trail, stunning views, and waterfall at the end.
Gold Creek Falls Hike
Accessible by the Lower Falls Trail, adventuring to Gold Creek Falls in Golden Ears is a great option if you are looking for more of a relaxing hike. The trail is wide and groomed the entire way to the waterfall. With only a couple of quick hills, the elevation gain is minimal, making it a great option for those who are new to hiking, or for a family hike with young children.
You will be mesmerized by the west coast rainforest as you make your way to and from the waterfall.
It is one of our favorite nearby hikes in the shoulder hiking season since Golden Ears Provincial Park does not get much snow during the winter. During the summer, there are many wonderful places along the trail to cool off in the refreshingly cold water of Gold Creek. It is also close to the popular Alouette Lake if you are looking for another place nearby for a gorgeous swim.
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Gold Creek Falls Hike Stats
Distance: 5.6 km
Time Required: 2 Hours, plus stops along the creek
Dogs Allowed: Yes
Accessible: Wheelchair and rugged stroller**
Trailhead Coordinates: 49.333049, -122.457976
Washroom: Pit toilet in the parking lot
*Road closures may happen during bad winter weather conditions.
** Ensure strollers can navigate gravel. There is a little hill up to the waterfall, so you must be fit enough to push the wheelchair up a short distance. Also, during the Fall the trail can get muddy in a couple of parts and may require some maneuvering through the mud.
Lower Falls Trail Details
From the parking lot, you will see the trailhead clearly marked. You will be surrounded by a gorgeous west coast rainforest as you make your way down the trail. After around 15 minutes, you will start to see peek-a-boo glimpses of Gold Creek on your left-hand side. As you continue, you will find additional views through some bigger clearings that show off Alouette, Edge, and Blanchard mountains.
The waterfall is at its strongest power during the spring when the runoff from the mountains is rushing downstream. However, we have also visited this trail at the end of summer and the visit was still completely worthwhile.
There is also an Upper Falls. This viewpoint can be accessed using the trail that continues just steps away from the viewing platform of the waterfall. However, the trail is rougher than the Lower Falls Trail and is not accessible to strollers and wheelchairs. We enjoy the rugged addition, but please be sure the trail is suitable for those you are with.
After enjoying the waterfall and surrounding scenery, head back to the parking lot, or your campsite, the way you came.
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During peak season, Golden Ears Provincial Park gets ridiculously busy. This is why BC Parks has implemented a day-pass system that is in effect from June 23 – Oct 22, 2021. A BC Parks Day-Use Pass is required to hike the Gold Creek Falls Trail or to use any other area of the park you want to explore.
Weekend passes are reserved within minutes, with weekday passes easier to grab. Reservations for passes open the day before your adventure at 7 am. Passes are free. You can find out more details and reserve your passes here. For Gold Creek Falls, you will have to reserve a vehicle pass for the “East Canyon Trail, Lower Falls, and Gold Creek”. If you have a camping reservation, a separate day-use pass is not required.
How To Find The Trailhead
When you enter Golden Ears Provincial Park, you still have to drive to the end of it at the North Beach campground area. You will cross a single-lane bridge after driving down the gravel road for several minutes and eventually reach a dead end. You will see day-use parking on your left. There is plenty of parking, for around a hundred cars. However, the lot does fill up fast on weekends. The day-pass system (mentioned above) helps this a bit, but we would recommend still arriving early. You will see the trailhead starting off of the parking lot.
Essentials & Leave No Trace
The only garbage bins you will see are in the parking lot. Be sure to follow the Leave No Trace principles and pack out everything that you pack in. Also, please ensure you pick up after your dog. The next person behind you on the trail does not want to step in it.
Also, even though it is an easy trail, never underestimate the importance of bringing your hiking essentials with you! Before heading out on your hike, always make sure that you are well prepared. Also, leave a trip plan (route details and estimated return time) with someone you trust.
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