Capilano River Regional Park


Starting from Cleveland Dam, the easy-to-moderate 8-km loop goes through sections of Baden-Powell Trail, Upper Shinglebolt, Capilano-Pacific Trail, then doubles back after we reach the fences at the Capilano Suspension Bridge Park. The loop goes on to cross the Capilano River, follows the Coho Trail to the Salmon Hatchery, with a final climb back to Cleveland Dam. It takes us about 2 hours to complete. We follow this AllTrail route but we omit the last 1km on the Capilano-Pacific Trail after the suspension bridge because the trail became more exposed and boring.

This is a beautiful hike with tall trees, mossy greens, and bridges overlooking small creeks. It’s a great hike if you are looking for some cool shades in the hot summer months but still want a good amount of sunshine here and there.

If you haven’t been, we would also recommend checking out Grandpa Capilano and Second Canyon viewpoint via Second Canyon trail. It’s the best view of the canyon and dam, but also busiest route as a result. We’ve been so many times so now we just leave this section for others to enjoy 🙂

Optional detour to Second Canyon Viewpoint. Mist from the dam often reaches the platform and if you are lucky you may also see a rainbow at the foot of the dam!

Trail Condition

There are several stairs in the trail; thus it’s best to use a baby carrier or a hiking carrier. No strollers.

The trail is very well paved, with nice stairs and wooden bridges. Only a small portion has mud. It’s an easy and comfortable hike, great for toddlers too if they are up for it. There are no particularly steep areas throughout the trail; however, there are long flights of stairs.

Nicely paved stairs along the way

We particularly enjoy the beautiful big old trees and unique flowers along the way. Many of the branches are shaped like animals, so we started naming different animals to the branches we see with my 2 year old. He loves it!

An elephant? A big bird?

And of course, the view of the majestic dam is always a great hit! The dam is just at the beginning of the hike, where you can see it through a fenced area. There is also a small descending path (behind the picnic area) that leads you directly to the dam with no obstructive view.

You can also access the salmon hatchery with this trail if you deviate away from Shinglebolt loop, crossing the Pipe bridge and turning left onto Coho loop which leads you down to the hatchery. The salmon hatchery is free with educational materials displayed on their walls, as well as windows allowing guests to see salmon swimming in the waters. Washroom and benches are available in the hatchery.

**salmon hatchery is currently closed due to COVID-19 precaution**

Pets

Certain parts of the trails require pets be leashed but there are parts where leash is optional. Some kids love dogs, but if you have toddlers who are afraid of one, just be aware of the occasional dogs coming by.

Breastfeeding

There are limited numbers of benches throughout the trail if you prefer to sit comfortably while feeding. But I do suggest to feed in the picnic area before hitting the trails as some part of the trail can be narrow.

Washrooms

Washrooms are located close to the parking lot of Cleveland dam and also inside the hatchery. There are no additional washrooms along the trail. (*salmon hatchery is currently closed due to COVID-19*)

Picnic

Right by the parking lot there is a spacious area with picnic tables and chairs. Cooking/bbq is also an option with a designated hot coal bin. And if you like to hang around here for a longer period of time, there’s also a grassy knoll for kids to run up and down or play ball. Washroom is also close by and usually not so busy even on the weekends.

Picnic on the grassy knoll by Cleveland Dam

Parking

There’s a medium sized parking lot in front of the dam. Free parking in the lot with 2 electric vehicle charging spots. There are quite a few parking spaces during the weekdays; however, during weekends it’s almost impossible to get a spot (unless you go early morning). Additional street parking can be found if you drive further up Nancy Greene Way by Cleveland Park.


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