If you’re visiting Vancouver, British Columbia even for a brief time, you would be crazy to miss this great attraction. The most famous of bridges in Vancouver, Capilano Suspension Bridge Park is one of the top attractions and things to do in the city. It isn’t simply a bridge, there is more to it than meets the eye.
There are three main attractions in this park;
- The Capilano Suspension Bridge
- The Treetops Adventure
- The Cliff Walk
The Capilano Suspension Bridge
Of course, the bridge is the main attraction for the park and measures 450 feet (140m) long and 230 feet (70m) high. It feels even higher when it sways as you tentatively travel from one end to the other. You can feel the sway more when there are lots of people on the bridge at the same time!
Don’t let the wobble scare you! The Capilano Suspension Bridge has been here since 1889. The first bridge was made from hemp rope, and cedar planks with the lines anchored by large cedar logs buried either side of the canyon.
Of course, the bridge has been replaced several times since then to accommodate the millions of visitors walking across it.
The park receives over 1.2 million people per year and gets very busy. Arriving early at opening time or much later in the afternoon will give you the best shot at having the bridge to yourself. It also makes the overall experience more enjoyable.
There’s more to Capilano park than a long suspension bridge, and the canyon below is beautiful. It is fun to walk along the bridge and look down at the Capilano River flowing below.
The Cliff Walk
The Cliff Walk is the park’s newest attraction and will take you on a thrilling journey above the Capilano Canyon. You will walk alongside the granite cliff, across and up platforms, stairs, and over cantilevered bridges. If you like heights, you will love this. If you don’t like heights, you’ll probably still love it! There are some fantastic lookout points also with some ideal spots for a family photo or a selfie.
Top Tip: The best place to take a picture of the bridge is from the Cliff Walk.
TreeTops Adventure at Capilano Park
The Treetops Adventure sits 100 feet high and provides an amazing immersive experience of being inside a rainforest.
Calculated Traveller experienced a similar TreeTop Treking Adventure just outside of Toronto Ontario. Read about that adventure here.
There are seven bridges suspended through the trees, providing a unique perspective of coastal rainforest. The trees themselves are huge Douglas-firs over 250 years old, which is truly amazing.
The great news is, this unforgettable journey through the canopy is accessible to people of all ages so you can take small children and grandparents for the same day out!
The Totem Park
The word Capilano or Kia’palano translates to ‘beautiful river’. It is a First Nations name belonging to the Squamish Nation. Due to this cultural history (you can learn more in the parks Story Center), the world’s most extensive private collection of totem poles is hosted at the Capilano Suspension Bridge Park. It features authentic British Columbia Totem Poles.
Totem poles often represent special events, conquests, or may tell the story of a family’s legend. Many people visit the park specifically to see these fantastic handcrafted colourful pieces of history, and you could easily spend an hour reading about them.
Learn about nature at Capilano
Guided nature walks are available with information about flora and fauna of this beautiful environment. Find out about the geology of the area, the canopy above your head and the forest floor. Did you know the park contains nine different types of trees?
Kids’ Rainforest Explorer program
The Kids’ Rainforest Explorer program is a fabulous activity to keep children busy during their visit to the Capilano Suspension Bridge Park. They pick up their assignment at the beginning of the Treetops Adventure and then spend the next few hours finding answers to questions and collecting research data from around the park. Their efforts will be rewarded with a Rainforest Explorer’s Badge to wear with pride.
From June to October, Raptors Ridge hosts birds of prey where you can learn about Great Horned Owls amongst others, and observe them up close.
In conclusion, the Capilano Suspension Bridge Park is well worth a visit and provides a glimpse into nature and history. Combined with some adrenaline-pumping attractions, it’s a park which can keep the whole family entertained. Furthermore, it is a great place to visit in any weather and, if it rains, you even get a free poncho!
Frequently Asked Questions About Capilano Suspension Bridge
The park is open every day of the year apart from Christmas Day. The most extended opening hours are during the summer months, from May 18th through to September 2nd, between 8 am and 8 pm. During those summer months, it is best to visit after 5 pm when queues are shorter.
There are seasonal events throughout the year to enhance your visits, such as a display of Canyon Lights in December and the world’s tallest living Christmas Tree at 153 feet. There is also the chance to see birds of prey at Raptors Ridge from June to October.
Allow 2-3 hours minimum for your visit. However, you could spend an entire day exploring and include a lunch at the Cliff House Restaurant overlooking the bridge, canyon and the rainforest.
The park is accessible for people of all ages, but an adult must accompany those under 17 years of age. Even babies and small children can enjoy the park, but strollers are not permitted on the attractions.
You can bring your dog for the day, but you cannot take them into the gift shop or the Raptors Bridge area.
Visitors in wheelchairs are given complimentary admission because they are unable to access critical attractions such as the bridge, the Treetops Adventure and the Cliff Walk. The good news is that all can enjoy the views.
The good news is that you can get to the park even if you don’t have a car, so it’s a great day trip from downtown Vancouver. A free shuttle service runs throughout the year making this a stress-free day trip.
If you prefer, tours are readily available (see below):
Have you visited Capilano Suspension Bridge Park before? What was your favourite thing about this attraction?
While you are in the area, check out:
- Things to do in Victoria British Columbia
- Exploring the Craft Brew Scene in Western Canada
- A Gentleman’s Guide to Vancouver
- Tips for Driving in the Mountains
Guest Author Jo Logan and her husband regularly travel, together and apart, exploring new places and their passion for the outdoors hiking, camping, canoeing and wilderness skills. Follow backpackandbushcraft.com for more inspiration, tips and adventures.