My dad was just here for a visit, and since he has been here many times before it’s getting harder and harder to find new things to do with him, it’s a challenge, but a fun one! On his final full day in the city I decided that since the weather wasn’t that great, we would embrace it and go full PNW. We headed over to North Vancouver to explore Capilano Suspension Bridge. I’d taken him to Lynn Canyon Suspension Bridge (a free, smaller bridge just down the road) a few years ago, and always just skipped over Capilano as a bigger and more expensive version of something he’d already done. But I was running low on idea’s and this seemed like the perfect dad-friendly activity. I worked it out on the way over that I hadn’t been to Capilano since December 2011 when I went with some friends to see the Christmas lights, so it was about time for a do-over.
The Bridge: This is definitely the main attraction, a 450ft suspension bridge that hangs 230ft above the Capilano River, it is a sight to behold. The bridge itself had a definite wobble as you walk across it, which can be a good or a bad thing depending on your feeling about heights, and suspension bridges. I would urge you to brave it because there is some cool stuff on the other side, plus how often do you get to walk across something like this?
Treetop Adventure: This might just be my favourite part of the park. It’s a route of seven smaller suspension bridges that lead you through the treetops, giving you an alternate perspective of the park. Walking through these bridges and lookouts makes me feel like I am in Neverland from the film Hook and I love it.
Cliffwalk: The cliffwalk is a series of thin walkways that jut out from the side of the cliff face, leading you along the side of the cliff allowing you to gain stunning views of the river, trees and bridge. It’s a great way to get a different perspective of the park, and the walk ways don’t wobble like the bridge does so it’s a great alternative for anyone not brave enough to face the bridge.
Other things: Make sure to check out the gift shop, which I was pleasantly surprised to see had a bit more than just the usual tourist junk in there, any gift shop with a counter full of fudge gets my vote. There is plenty of other stuff to check out in the park including totem poles, the story center that lays out the history of the bridge, a cafe, and nature walks to name a few. If you want to take advantage of the stunning surroundings and get some killer photo’s its worth bearing in mind that it can get very busy with tourists, and selfie sticks. We went on a Wednesday afternoon in early November and it was nice and quiet. If you’re going to visit at a busier time of year, or a weekend, I’d suggest going early in the morning. Also, if you are a BC resident make sure you take advantage of being able to switch your ticket for an annual resident pass which means that you can go back and visit as many times as you want in the year!
Getting to Capilano is surprisingly easy. They offer a free shuttle from downtown Vancouver which picks up (and drops off) at four convenient spots around the downtown core and takes you straight to the entrance of the bridge. Check out the schedule on the website here for pick up times and locations. If you are feeling a bit more independent, you can also easily drive and park across the street, or take public transit.
This visit to Capilano has helped me out of a rut and to appreciate all that Vancouver has to offer. I honestly enjoyed my trip to Capilano much more than I thought I would. It had been a few years since I visited, and I remember the last time I went there that it felt a bit tame and on the family friendly side. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, I just didn’t see the point in paying $40 when I could go to Lynn Valley for free. That said, absence makes the heart grow fonder and I was pleasantly surprised by how much I thoroughly enjoyed my visit. I will be making a conscious effort to go back and see the Christmas lights and throughout the year with my BC resident pass.
Head over to the Capilano Suspension Bridge website for more information on things to see and do at the park. Happy exploring!