Capilano Suspension Bridge Park – North Vancouver, Canada
There are endless outdoor activities in and around Vancouver, including different and unique ways to explore the mountains. One of those most popular things to do around the city is visit one of the many suspension bridges. When I created a rough draft itinerary for Vancouver, I posed the question of which suspension bridge is the best to visit. There are two popular ones in the area that we considered – Lynn Canyon Suspension Bridge and Capilano Suspension Bridge.
- Lynn Canyon Suspension Bridge – free, located in a neighborhood, off the beaten path, untouched in nature, locals visit frequently, need a car to visit
- Capilano Suspension Bridge – entrance fee, attractions to explore, educational activities, could get via tourist bus or public transit of did not have a car
So we decided to visit both and find out for ourselves.
After visiting Lynn Canyon Park, we grabbed breakfast we made our way to Capilano Suspension Bridge Park just minutes away. We still had about twenty minutes until the park opened so I thought we may have a chance of being first in the park. We parked the car – and paid the pricey parking fee – honestly the ticket price was so high the parking really should just be included in that price. The tickets were $ 66 CAD / $50 USD so I was curious to see if the park met that price point.
We waited in line for the park to open as the line continued to get longer – including the addition of multiple tourist bus drop offs – and we were indeed the first ones into the park. Our mission was to get to that suspension bridge before all the other people in line caught up. And without really meaning for it to work out this way, we had the iconic suspension bridge to ourselves.
This bridge was built in 1889, incredibly long at 137 meters across and sits 70 meters above the Capliano River. This bridge was not as scary as I expected it to be – perhaps it was the excitement of getting the photos without anyone in them or maybe it was that the river was pretty dry and still.
As we heard people start to enter the bridge, we moved on to the other side crossing further into the park. We found a map and were impressed by the offerings of the park – without having done anything, the price of admission felt valued.
Our next stop was the Treetop Adventures where I felt the benefit of no people would be in our interest. This reminded us of the treetop adventure we did with the redwoods in New Zealand so it was fun to be up in the trees again. With the treetops all to ourselves, we took our time enjoying the peacefulness of the trees and viewing platforms.
We followed the trail and walked around the area, reading the educational signs along the way. The area is very well developed and facilitates learning about the environment. We continued onto the boardwalk that guides visitors through the forest and towards the canyon offering some great views of the suspension bridge above.
Next was something we were pleasantly surprised to experience one of our favorite things – birds of prey encounter! For our visit, we learned about the Saker Falcon and the Great Horned Owl. After a presentation of the birds along with their rescue background and facts about their breed, we got to ask questions and see the birds up close. Raptor’s Rigid is definitely a must see when visiting Capilano Suspension Bridge Park.
We completed everything on this side of the park so it was back over the suspension bridge for us and wow the crowd significantly grew since the park opened. Now the photos were just a funny comparison to how empty it was at 9AM!
The final attraction we explored was the cliff walk and I enjoyed this the least as someone who gets woosey around heights. The worst part was that since it was later in the day and more crowded, the very narrow walkway that only fits one person was grid locked. Even though there are signs everywhere not to stop in the middle pf the bridge and to keep moving until the viewing platform to take photos – reading is so hard for people and they cannot help themselves. This just added to the anxiety of being on a narrow walkway over the canyon that I was also stuck on. At one point, Kevin had to ask people to keep moving so that once we reached the platform I could bounce out of this nonsense. This would have been a far better experience in the morning so I will say if you are nervous around heights, I would consider skipping this ones especially if the crowds are high.
Our entire visit to Capilano Suspension Bridge was two hours long and we were able to see everything in the park. They have certainly put a lot of work and effort into making this a destination location. I would say the price is justified and it is a great spot to spend a few hours when visiting Vancouver.
I wondered why I could not find a definitive answer to Lynn Canyon vs Capilano and I now know why – you really can’t compare them. They are attracting two very different groups of people. I am glad we visited both and I think if time permits on your trip, you should definitely visit both as well.