First off, we just want to say sorry about the pun in the title, but it had to be done!
Do you love that feeling of vertigo when looking down from a tall structure? Or being like a bird high above the ground? We do, and on our travels we seek out places that offer awesome views and that heart-in-your-mouth vertigo feeling. One such place we’ve found is in our current home of Vancouver: Capilano Suspension Bridge Park!
It was one of those rare days in Vancouver: a fine weekend day during fall. With cloud and rain clogging the city most days at this time of year, you get anxious to see the sun again! So when these rare days come along you should make the most of it and go outside, and that’s what we did – we visited Capilano Suspension Bridge Park.
Being suspended above Capilano River
Capilano Canyon is on Vancouver’s North Shore, and is easily accessible by bus from downtown. You can visit all the park’s attractions for the $32 entrance fee, and they even have a free shuttle bus between downtown and the park, although we didn’t realise this and caught the public bus there – whoops!
Walking through the entrance booth we stepped into the cool, quiet forest and inhaled the scent of dirt and leaves. It felt like we were miles away from a big city – but it’s only ten minutes from downtown! Suddenly the steep edge of the canyon was right there, with the long, thin suspension bridge stretching high across the river.
The original suspension bridge was built across the river in 1889. The first one was made of hemp rope and cedar planks – but we are quite glad to report that it’s all steel nowadays! Today Capilano Suspension Bridge Park contains not only the main bridge, but treetop suspension bridges and a cantilevered cliff walk too.
The 137m long, 70m high suspension bridge is the star attraction of the park, and it was exhilarating walking across as it swayed and bounced around. We love things like that so we may or may not have have jumped around a bit, even though the signs said not to! Some of our fellow visitors were terrified and clutched the sides of the bridge as they moved along – you definitely wouldn’t want to be afraid of heights when visiting Capilano!
Scattered around the park are the First Nations’ totem poles that illustrate the connection between them and the natural world. The carvings reminded us of the Maori ones you see on marae back home in New Zealand – we find it interesting how indigenous groups in different parts of the world have undergone some kind of parallel evolution over time.
Up in the trees
Across the other side of the canyon, Treetops Adventure lets you get to leaf-level in the forest. There’s a series of suspension bridges held halfway up the huge trees and it was great to get a bird’s eye view of the forest floor below. Treetops Adventure brought back memories of zip lining in Whistler!
Out from the cliff
The third section of the park is Cliff Walk, a relatively new addition that opened in 2011. It’s a cantilevered walkway that juts out from the side of the granite wall of the canyon. With its glass railing you can see right down underneath you to the river, and it’s pretty narrow so you feel like your out in the air – thrilling! You can see Cliff Walk on the right side of the photo below.
Capilano Suspension Bridge Park has been flawlessly designed and the different elements are wonderful to explore. We especially enjoyed the Cliff Walk and the Treetops Adventure. It was awesome feeling like birds above the ground!
Capilano is a great excursion while you’re in Vancouver, and it’s fantastic to be so close to downtown but feeling like you’re much further away in the middle of the forest.
For more vertigo-inducing activities not far from Vancouver, see our recent post featuring bungee jumping and zip lining in Whistler!
Many thanks to Capilano Suspension Bridge Park for supporting our visit. As always, our opinions are our own, regardless of who is footing the bill.