Visiting Capilano Suspension Bridge was high on my list when travelling to Vancouver in the summer. The suspension bridge may be the main attraction but you will also find a treetops adventure and cliff walk within the park. Attracting over 800,000 visitors a year from all corners of the globe to appreciate nature from these three breathtaking perspectives… it is absolutely not to be missed.
Capilano Suspension Bridge is located about 15 minutes from Downtown Vancouver. We chose to not have a car whilst visiting as most cities are fairly easy to get around. Getting to the park was no problem as a free shuttle is offered throughout the day from Canada Place. I was initially apprehensive about getting the shuttle in case it was super busy but it was relieved to see it wasn’t. The shuttle arrived to pick us up at 8:15 and we arrived at the park around 8:40. You can find all the information about the free shuttle here. For those driving there is parking available for a small fee but it is limited.
You can pre-book tickets but we paid on the gate, there was no queue and we entered the park quickly. costs are as follows; $53.95 adults, $48.95 seniors, $39.95 students (ID must be shown) $29.95 for 13-16 years, $16.95 for children and age 5 and under are free.
The Totem Poles!
As you enter the park there is story centre where you can listen to ‘voices of the past’ see photo murals and artefacts documenting the early history of the bridge. I can’t lie… I had a brief look but was too excited to spot the totem poles close by! Erected by who the Canadians call the ‘first nations’ the park actually hosts the worlds largest private collection which was erected by the ‘first nations’ – aboriginal people. Colourful and beautifully maintained don’t forget to read the nearby plaques to find out more about them and stop for a photo!
Capilano Suspension Bridge
Now onto the main highlight; visiting Capilano Suspension Bridge itself that gloriously stretches 450 feet across the Capilano River. At 230 feet above the canyon below it is definitely not for anyone scared of heights! Although the bridge has been there since 1889 long gone are the cedar planks and hemp ropes, now in its place is a wire cable bridge to accommodate the millions of tourists.
I was eager to get on the bridge and not apprehensive at all. The further towards the middle you got the less steady it felt… and yes, I jumped on it to rock it more (bet the other tourists loved me!) as it was summer I could see the river below was pretty dry. As we arrived first thing in the morning the bridge wasn’t too busy and we managed to get a few good photos!
Just the other side of the bridge you will find the treetop adventure. At roughly 100 feet high seven bridges suspended through the trees provide a unique view of coastal rainforest. I really enjoyed this walk through the treetop canopy, it was so peaceful. Luckily as we were early we enjoyed this pretty much alone.
There are information plaques to read along the way which I found really informative and interesting. The trees are douglas fir trees and no bolts or nails were used to erect the platforms and bridges… they are also adjustable to allow continued growth of the trees – how cool is that?! As I stood and listened to the sounds of nature I couldn’t help but imagen little fairies coming out to play in this magical forest.
This is a semi-circle path suspended from granite rock at 25 meters high is the latest addition to the park. You walk along a series of narrow cantilevered bridges through the rainforest and above the Capilano River. There are even two glass platforms so you can get a good look below – not for the faint-hearted! It is worth doing just for the fantastic view of the suspension bridge.
My top tips…
- Use the free shuttle and save the headache of parking!
- Get there early… as we were leaving around 11am it was getting super busy. I also read it calms down again after 5pm if you are not an early riser.
- Wear comfortable footwear to fully enjoy it
- Skip the story centre, head straight to the bridge if you want to experience it with few people. You can always come back to the story centre at the end.
- The gift shop is worth a little look around for something to take home. We purchased the coolest bear bottle opener for the wall.
Before leaving the area maybe check out Grouse Mountain…
We anticipated taking much longer visiting Capilano Suspension Bridge so were delighted when we realised we had time to head over to Grouse mountain – something we hadn’t planned. It is only 5 minutes away on a free shuttle that will also take you back to downtown Vancouver once you have finished exploring.
Grouse mountain is popular in winter for skiing but the summer months still attract visitors. You ride the cable car to the top but don’t hold your breath to see much. They pack the people in and the windows are pretty scratched. Once at the top free things to do include seeing the resident bears, a lumberjack show which was quite entertaining! some of the chainsaw carvings around and about are pretty spectacular. You can watch a birds of prey show which we didn’t do (seen plenty!)
Paid activities that were on offer included Mountain biking, paragliding, zip-lining or a ropes adventure. As we were on limited time we just enjoyed the free stuff.
Is it worth going?
If you have time then it is worth a look I think but it is pretty costly to go up ($59 for an adult) so that is something to keep in mind. This would be the last thing I recommended though out of all the things I did in Vancouver.
If I ever find myself in Vancouver again I will be sure to be visiting Capilano Suspension Bridge again. I definitely recommend putting it top of your list if you go! I fell in love with Vancouver in general though… you can read all about that here in my post Oh Vancouver!
Have you visited Vancouver or any other cities in Canada? What did you think? I have more posts coming up about my summer adventure to this wonderful country so stay tuned!
Rachael 🙂 x