Adventure in the Treetops: Capilano Suspension Bridge
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Just 15 minutes outside of downtown Vancouver is a park full of bridges. They send you out over cliffs, high in the treetops and make you feel at one with nature. Once upon a time the site held a single suspension bridge. Now the park has added a cliffwalk, tons of wooden walkways and an entire course of bridges through the treetops. So, if it’s been a while since you’ve visited or you’ve never been before, it’s worth a look!
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The main suspension bridge stretches 450 feet (137 m) between two cliffs and hangs 230 feet (70 m) above the river. It was originally constructed in 1889 out of wood planks and rope! It was reconstructed in 1903 out of wire cable and again in 1956 with the current bridge that stands there today. They have made some repairs since then, especially when a 300 year old tree fell on the Western side of it!
The park is in North Vancouver so you may be wondering just how to get to Capilano Suspension Bridge from Vancouver! If you don’t have a car there are lots of free shuttles that will take you from various spots in downtown Vancouver. Take a look at their current shuttle schedule HERE.
If you are driving, head north on Highway 99 through Stanley Park and over Lions Gate Bridge. Take the first exit for Marine Dr. and take a left on Capilano Road. Not long after, you’ll find a parking lot on the right hand side by the entrance. Parking is $5 and you can pay at one of a few kiosks, or you can pay when you are purchasing your tickets at the main park entrance across the street. Make sure you pick up a map before you head in.
Arrive as early as possible! The best time of day to visit Capilano Suspension Bridge is in the morning right at opening. We didn’t arrive until after 10am and the tour buses were full of people and dropping off several times an hour! The park filled up very quickly after 10!
Capilano Suspension Bridge admission prices are currently (as of July 2017) $42.95 CAD for adults and $14.95-26.95 CAD for kids. Kids 6 and under are free! Are dogs allowed at Capilano Suspension Bridge? Absolutely! You can bring dogs!
If you’d like to skip the line and buy tickets ahead of time, you can buy tickets HERE. If you have kiddos in tow, grab a couple of passports on your way in. You can get them stamped at various points throughout the park. When you fill it completely and take it back to guest services, the kids get a little certificate. Very cute and helpful for keeping little ones on track!
When crossing the bridge, make sure you have a free hand. The more people that are on the bridge, the more it swings and if it’s crowded it can be difficult to walk across without holding on to the railing. I watched a wonder mom carry one child and hold the hand of the other and I’m not sure how she kept her balance!
After crossing the main bridge you’ll find yourself with lots of options for exploring the area. You can wander across the wooden walkways and check out the different viewpoints. They offer a variety of views of the bridge, cliffs and the river below. Their seven bridge treetop adventure is a collection of smaller suspension bridges that give you a squirrel’s eye view of the park and is so much fun!
If you love to learn there is a free history tour that leaves every hour. It covers the history of the park, the area and the bridge, of course. There is also a free nature tour that leaves every hour. They cover the local plant life and all you could ever want to know about the West Coast rainforest.
We spent an hour and a half exploring this park but you could easily spend half a day here if you take your time and enjoy what every pathway has to offer. They do have places to eat and get coffee on both sides of the main bridge and their souvenirs are adorable! I found their Trading Post gift shop to have a refreshing selection of souvenirs that were not cheesy. They also have a fudge shop inside!
I’ll admit, I was wondering what kind of tourist trap I might be getting myself into by buying tickets for a park with a bridge. But, I could’ve spent the whole day here! There were breathtaking views around every corner and if you love photography, you’re in for a treat! In my opinion, it was worth every penny!