Lower Falls Trail
I categorize this hike as easy but with a few modest ups and downs.
50 Kms east of Vancouver you’ll find Golden Ears Provincial Park. 11 Kms north of Highway 7 near Maple Ridge, and yes, you’ll need a car for this one. Once at the National Park, drive up Park Rd past entrances to Aloutte Lake camping grounds (unless you fancy camping). Take note that this time of year the park CLOSES AT 5:30 pm. Also remember that simply driving up there, you’ve gained altitude. It’s always a few degrees colder there than where you’ve come from. On that theme, bring another layer, water, cell phone (yes I seemed to get coverage which surprised me!). Insect repellent’s a good idea, especially when the weather gets warmer. Along the trail there are a few toilets, the kind you wouldn’t want to accidentally drop your wallet or Rolex into!
Time: The poster says allow one hour each way. I stopped to take photos and to explore the beach and it took me 40 minutes one way. You want to add a little time for hanging around and enjoying the view at the waterfall, and remember at this time of year (March),the park closes at 5.30 pm. The drive out will take you approximately 25 minutes. It’s all a bit similar to hiking the Lynn Valley, only there are small climbs and of course a more significant climb to the falls.
Views: In addition to the view at the falls you can also see Blanshard Needle, Edge Peak and Golden Ears and as usual for this part of the world, Cotton Wood, Alder and Cedar Trees, no surprise there. Your walk one way is approximately 3 kms.
The reward: The waterfall has a view point at the end of the trail, but if you fancy a closer view point for a picnic and photo opportunities, climb a little higher and with care, you can safely sit out on the rocks that overlook the falls. That’s certainly my choice. There’s a sign warning you not to swim or you’ll get swept over the edge. I’ve yet to meet anyone over here that would be dumb enough to jump in just above a water fall, but at home…………..:-)
For more information: Call the City of Maple Ridge 604-463-5221