As Vancouver residents, we are really lucky to have some great recreational spots just around the corner! For example, there's Cypress Hill towering above the city (which is one of BC's many superb ski resorts), the “Mother Nature’s Stairmaster” steep trail at Grouse Mountain (which can put your fitness to the test) and there are lots of beautiful natural parks and nature reserves within reach for some serious weekend hiking. One of my favourite ones, Capilano Suspension Bridge Park is named after the simple suspension bridge hanging over the Capilano River in the District of North Vancouver.
Experience nature, culture and adventure at one of the top Vancouver attractions, just 10 minutes from downtown Vancouver.
Its main attraction that brings thousands of visitors to the area each year, the Capilano Suspension Bridge, is definitely nothing for the faint-hearted or people who have a fear of heights. Why? This extraordinary 140 metre bridge hangs 70 metres above the river. Sounds pretty scary, doesn't it? And the bridge went through a major renovation only in 1956, to make sure it's super secure to carry all the visitors safely to the other side. Originally, it was made just of hemp ropes, with its deck composed of cedar planks. The bridge was designed by Scottish engineer George Grant Mackay in 1889, and his first design was later replaced with a wire cable bridge.
The current owner is Nancy Stibbard, who has owned the attraction since 1983. Since Nancy took over, many new exciting features have been added and attendance has rocketed. The totem poles honouring the art of local First Nations go back to the 1930s, while the seven footbridges hanging between the magnificent Douglas fir trees are among the recent additions. The bridge is a frequent setting for several TV series, such as MacGyver, Sliders, The Crow: Stairway to Heaven, and Psych.
Follow in the footsteps of the many people who have crossed the bridge since 1889 and enjoy the breathtaking views from the top of the canyon. If all the walking and climbing make you hungry, there are a couple dining options within reach — Bridge House Restaurant, Loggers’ Grill, and the recently added Capilano Coffee Company.
What else can you expect when you plan a trip here?
- Treetops Adventures consist of seven footbridges suspended over the canyon up to 30 metres high — the first venue of its kind in North America. Walk between the 1,300-year-old Douglas firs and enjoy the perspective of a squirrel as you venture through the highest tree tops of North America.
- Rainforest Eco Tours invite you to explore the unique Temperate West Coast Rainforest ecosystem with a guide offered throughout the year.
- North America's largest private collection of totem poles, period décor, and costumes offer more fun. The first totem poles were raised by local First Nations in the 1930s.
- Story Centre will tell you the story of how the first European adventurers, the Capilano Tramps, explored the area and the bridge.
- Cliff Walk is a heart-stopping cliffside journey through the rainforest on narrow bridges (in some parts with a glass bottom!). This will definitely raise the levels of adrenaline in your blood.
- First Nations performances with traditional costumes, dancing, and story telling offer still more entertainment.
- Kia’palano is an educational centre that follows the history of First Nations, their cultures, and their close connections to nature.
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Have you ever visited the park? What was your favourite attraction? Tell us in the comments below!
Meet the Photographer
Kevin's passion for photography has encouraged others to see the splendor and beauty of nature right at their doorstep, as he captures the sights of the day, and colors and mystery of world while it sleeps. Many of the subjects of his work are based locally in his hometown in Vancouver, B.C, where he first discovered his fascination with night photography. Kevin is a currently working as a music teacher, music director for his church, and landscape photographer.