When I first heard about the Capilano Suspension Bridge, I thought to myself ‘ Well I’m in Vancouver I may as well do the Cap Bridge which is publicised everywhere’ I wasn’t expecting much from the visit. I had been living in Vancouver for 8 months and thought it was time to check out the famous bridge.
I had the Sunday off work and the weather had cleared up to be a nice day (by nice I mean, not raining).
Entry to the park is $39.95. This does seem like a lot to walk across a bridge, but it’s not only a bridge in which you come to the park to view. If you want to walk across a suspension bridge, head to Lynn Valley, there is a bridge out there which doesn’t cost money. To get to the park, you can catch the free shuttle buses which run from Downtown every half hour or so. Otherwise, its about a 15 minute drive from downtown when there is no traffic.
As you arrive to the entrance of the park, there is a bit of a queue to purchase your tickets. I do suggest buying them online before hand and skipping the long wait. The park itself is spread over two sides of the valley, with the suspension bridge connecting both sides. On the side you enter from you are greeted with the ‘story’ of Capilano. This reveals the history of the valley – from the First Nations to the logging era, you can be sure to learn a thing or two. If reading is not your cup of tea, you can always wait for a free tour.
After walking by the story section, you have two options, head straight for the Bridge or turn right and do the Cliffwalk. There was a hillbilly rock band playing so I decided to turn right and listen to the music for a little bit. They were doing a nice little cover of ‘Where did you sleep last night’. Onwards from the band it was time to tackle the Cliffwalk. Hugging the vertical cliff, a suspended walkway sits about 20-30 metres above the ground. The main part of the walk is a semi circle pathway which is held by only 16 anchor points. This can get quite busy with pedestrians as it is a great photo spot. Further on the Cliffwalk you will come up to a glass floored lookout. Now is a great time to look up the valley and grab a photo of the waterfall and lagoon.
At the end of the Cliffwalk trail you are greeted by a few places offering burgers, hot dogs, popcorn and ice-cream. I was a bit of a tight arse and brought my own food. There are plenty of picnic tables to take a seat at.
Apart from a gift shop there is not much else for the first side of the park. Now it’s time to walk the bridge. The original bridge was built back in 1889, the Suspension Bridge has been attracting patrons for over a hundred years. Again it’s time to join the queue and make the journey over the river and onto the other side. The Bridge is 140 metres long and is suspended 70 metres above the ground. Don’t be scared the Bridge will collapse whilst you are out in the middle. Back in 2005, a 46 tonne tree was felled in a storm and landed on the Western side. The Bridge still stood with only minor repairs. I would also suggest taking photos on the other side too. You will have more time to stop and take a photo.
The Western side of the park is well pathed with timber walkways leading you trough the trees. To the right you will find the Treetop Adventure - A suspended walkway 30 metres up in the trees. Walk amongst the middle branches as the one person wide bridge gently sways with every footstep.
If you don’t feel like getting up in the branches, you can always follow the rainforest floor path to the owl enclosures. These beautiful birds are out on display with a couple guides to answer questions you may have. Watch their mesmerizing eyes follow the slightest of movements up to a kilometre away.
All in all, it was a great couple of hours out. The best way to describe the Capilano Bridge Park is if you picture an environmentally themed park or Disneyland if the trees took over. It had queues for the attractions and high priced food. I would suggest visiting if you are a city dweller!
Don’t forget to tag your photos @itchyfeetescapades