One of the attractions of the beautiful City of Vancouver, BC is the Capilano Suspension Bridge in North Vancouver.
Vancouver is a beautiful city—whether you’re talking about the mountains, forests, and ocean or the glistening modern skyline of glass skyscrapers. There’s a reason so many films and TV shows are shot on location in and around Vancouver. If it’s scenery you want, this is the place.
Only 15 minutes from downtown Vancouver across the iconic Lions Gate Bridge to North Vancouver lies the Capilano Suspension Bridge, originally built in 1889 hanging 450 feet (137m) across and 230 feet (70m) above Capilano River offering breathtaking views to the canyon floor below.
This is a popular tourist site so plan accordingly to avoid long lines.
The park offers more than just the bridge. Its surrounding 27 acres celebrate nature, history and culture in unique and thrilling ways.
On Treetops Adventure venture from one magnificent old growth Douglas-fir to another on a series of seven elevated suspension bridges, reaching as high as 110 feet (33m), for a squirrel’s eye view of the forest. Guides, signage and interactive exhibits throughout the park help you in your understanding of rain forest ecosystems and their sustainability.
The view from the bridge is spectacular, and while there is minor bounce, it’s relatively easy to navigate. The bridge is reminiscence of the one in Indiana Jones’ Temple of Doom “Hang on, lady. We going for a ride”. Equally, or even better, is the single-file walk on Cliffwalk, which follows a granite precipice along the river with a series of narrow cantilevered bridges, stairs and platforms offering views at every turn.
There are other trails on the other side of the suspension bridge.
- There are 9 different types of trees in Capilano Suspension Bridge Park! There are 2,014 Douglas fir, 157 Western Red Cedar, and 144 Western Hemlock.
- The suspension bridge can hold 97 elephants. That’s 203 moose, or 4520 beavers.
In 1888, a Scottish civil engineer and real estate developer named George Grant Mackay purchased 24 square kilometres of old growth forest on both sides of the Capilano River just north of the city and built a cabin at the southern edge of the canyon. The 65-year-old engineer hired two local Coast Salish natives to help with the construction of the first bridge in 1889 that was made from hemp and cedar planks. Ten years after Mackay’s death in 1903, the bridge was replaced with one made of wire cable.
Rae Mitchell, bought the bridge in 1953. In 1956, he rebuilt the bridge completely, strengthening the cables and the anchors. In 1983, Mitchell sold the Capilano Suspension Bridge to his daughter, Nancy Stibbard who is still its present owner.
Tickets are rather pricey, a little under $50.00 but if you have young ones under 6, they can get in free. I think this is worthwhile if you are going to do some hiking while you are there and maybe pack a picnic. You definitely want to arrive early to avoid all the shuttles and crowds.
Note: There is another similar bridge not far away, called the Lynn Canyon Suspension Bridge. In addition to being free and “just as nice as the Capilano bridge,” the Lynn Canyon bridge leads to some of the best walking trails in the area and is far less crowded.