Alouette Mountain vistas are worth the long hike in Golden Ears Provincial Park

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      Seen from Vancouver, Alouette Mountain looks like an insignificant, wooded summit in the Mount Blanshard massif, north of Maple Ridge.

      Don't let that fool you. The 1,360-metre-high summit plateau of Alouette is a glorious place to behold.

      The catch: it takes a 20-kilometre-plus round trip with 1,000 metres of elevation to get there, if you take the long-standing Alouette Mountain Trail in Golden Ears Provincial Park.

      Recently, I finally completed this hike and found it to be a gradual ascent mostly under tree cover (thankfully on a sunny day). The views from the top are spectacular, with Blanshard Peak towering directly north and views of Mount Robie Reid and Mount Judge Howay to the northeast. (I also spotted Evans Peak below.)

      The way down was made more interesting by taking the side trail to Lake Beautiful. The old-growth trees and colourful fungi along this stretch refreshed us during the long return.

      All in all, the hike took 4.5 hours up, nine hours return.