Camping at Golden Ears Provincial Park

Quick Facts:
  • BC Provincial Parks website:
  • Access to water: walkable distance down a winding trail (Campers Beach Trail) with gentle slope, about 300m from the closest campsite in Alouette Campground and 500m from the closest campsite in Gold Creek Campground. No views of the lake from campground.
  • Deluxe facilities: flush toilets, hot shower, playground
  • Activities: water sports, hiking
  • Beach type: rocky beach
  • Outdoor Fam rating: 8 out of 10

Golden Ears Provincial Park is one of the closest parks to Vancouver, so despite the massive campgrounds with a combined 443 front country campsites, it can still get full on a summer weekend. In fact, it’s so popular that in the peak season, BC Parks imposes a free day pass system for day users for Golden Ears.

We’ve done several camping trips to Golden Ears, including our very first Outdoor Fam Camping Trip at Gold Creek Walk-in Sites, our rainy trip to Gold Creek Campground, and my solo-plus trip with Big Bro. Middle Bro’s very first camping trip when he was just 5 months old was to Golden Ears too.

The biggest campgrounds: Alouette and Gold Creek are pretty similar, with deluxe camping amenities (hot shower, flush toilets, playgrounds) albeit somewhat dated. The campsites are generally quite large and spaced out, with very decent privacy.

A typical campsite at Alouette Campground.

We came out again with our friends David and Rofie, who are avid campers too. Like us, they like planning multiple camping trips each season and sharing the love of camping with friends.

The weather called for substantial rain, so the first thing we did after getting to camp on Friday evening was to set up the canopy tent and a very large, 18 x 22 feet rain tarp.

By now, I don’t even try any other method of putting up large tarps: first I get a center ridge line high up on two strong trees by throwing a rope tied to a small bag of rocks over a sturdy branch. The tree branch was quite high on this trip, and our 1/4 inch ridge line rope was too thick and heavy, so I got a thinner 4mm paracord over the branch first.

Kids monitoring the progress of throwing a bag of rocks 30 feet high, preferably avoiding hitting the car in the process.

Then I draped the behemoth of a tarp over the ridge line, and tied the center of the tarp to the ridge line using prusik knots.

Then it’s just tying the 4 corners off to the side at a slant for drainage.

Even though I felt pretty comfortable with setting up the large tarp this way, it still took a good hour of work to get it all done. I was very glad that the rain stopped just long enough for our set up to be done.

A new addition to this trip was some tarp poles I recently purchased. They were very good to elevate the tarp to create more headroom for me. The downside is that the pole creates a low pooling point in the tarp, so I had to lower it when it started raining again.

We set up our tents under the large tarp so that when we get out of the tent, we can stay totally dry. This was especially helpful for us since we have a small tent that require us to be crouching when entering or exiting the tent, so it was impossible to avoid tracking in water if we didn’t have the tarp.

It was soothing and quite enjoyable to fall asleep with the sound of rain drops hitting the tarp. Overnight there was quite a downpour, but our tents stayed totally dry, save for some minor condensation inside the rain fly.

One notable omission on this trip is the lack of campfires. There’s a provincial fire ban in most of BC since June 8, 2023. It’s not even summer yet, and we already have many wild fires this season across the country due to a unseasonably warm and dry spring. I worry about the future of our outdoor spaces and activities (for example, Europe had a very poor ski season this past winter due to a lack of snow).

Besides setting up camp, we shared the cooking duties this trip. For dinner, David cooked up some delicious Korean BBQ using a griddle that worked wonderfully well with his camp stove. This basically eliminates the need to bring a second BBQ grill while camping.

On Saturday morning, the kids did some biking around the campground, which seemed to be a new camping stable now.

I cooked some hot dog for lunch, and was totally convinced that the grill deserves a spot in our camping gear list. I love it when we continue to learn new camping tips and tricks.

By the afternoon, the rain finally slowed down enough for us to walk the short trail to check out Campers Beach. We chose campsite C29, which is very close to the shower house and playground, but it’s about 700m to Campers Beach. For me, that is probably on the borderline of whether it’s worth it to bring the paddleboard down from camp.

So instead, we headed to the much bigger, much busier South Beach after checking out on Sunday morning and joined some of our friends for a great BBQ lunch and lots of paddling goodness.

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