Capilano Suspension Bridge – Great Tourist Attraction for Locals


With an abundance of outdoor options all around Metro Vancouver, we have avoided visiting Capilano Suspension Bridge due to its pricey entry fees ($62.95 for adults for a day ticket, which is the same price as an annual pass for BC residents). To us, it felt more like a tourist destination. Why pay $136 when there are Capilano River Regional Park within walking distance and Lynn Canyon Suspension Bridge 15 mins away?

This year, we found out why.

Christmas “Canyon Lights” visit
Valentine’s “Love Lights” visit

Tina has been eyeing the Christmas spectacle at Capilano Suspension Bridge – Canyon Lights – for a few years now. This season we finally bought our annual passes and came to see what the fuss is about.

The park is broken into two loops, connected by the famous suspension bridge. This interactive map gives a great overview of the attractions.

Totem Poles

Visitors first enter the eastern loop of the park, and are greeted by installations that showcase the history of the area and its peoples, and some totem poles carved on site by master carvers that tell interesting indigenous stories. A friendly park staff relayed some of the stories for us.

Inspecting a canoe

Trading Post

The Trading Post is a big gift shop that has lots of selections. The wooden buildings here feel very festive during the holidays, like a village of cozy log cabins.

Cliffwalk

The Cliffwalk is a new installation that opened in 2011 which brings visitors to the granite cliff face above Capilano River. It’s quite narrow and the stairs were steep, but the construction was rock solid.

After the Cliffwalk, there’s a small trail through a small stream that was quite pleasant too.

Capilano Suspension Bridge

The main attraction of the park, of course, is the famous suspension bridge. It’s 137m across and 70m above the Capilano River.

Our kids call it “the bridge that moves”, because it wobbles like a beginner’s paddleboard. When we visited the first time, Middle Bro fell asleep on my carrier and woke up on the middle of the bridge as we were crossing. Waking up from a peaceful nap and finding yourself wobbling off a 70m drop must have been quite the jolt. He let out a big shriek and took some time to calm down.

Our subsequent visits were much less dramatic.

Treetops Adventure

Built in 2004, the Treetops Adventure canopy walk is a like a series of mini suspension bridges. The platforms are not anchored to the trees with bolts; instead, they are merely collared on the trees as to not damage them.

It was quite magical to walk among pillars of brightly-lit trees above the forest floor. This is the most unique and memorable part of our Christmas Canyon Lights visit for me.

Living Forest

The second growth temperate rain forest on the western half of the park is quite lush and typical of our area. Visitors walk through a small network of board walks and gravel paths around a beautiful pond.

We managed to catch a guided Nature Walk to learn about some trees and animals in the park. We actually saw a woodpecker minutes after the guide talked about it!

The pond at night

There’s also a live bird of prey talk during our day time visit, with a Harris’s Hawk and Barred Owl on show.

Overall, the Capilano Suspension Bridge Park is quite small but it packs many interesting attractions. It’s especially fun to visit during their seasonal theme events (Halloween, Christmas, and Valentine’s), but it an get busy. It’s best to try to visit as early as possible, well in advance of the actual holiday (eg. our visit on December 4 was much more relaxed and pleasant than January 1st).

The parks is also not stroller friendly. You could push the stroller into the park, but you’d have to park it almost immediately. You can’t take it on the suspension bridge or Cliffwalk.

Is it worth the price of admission? I’d say only if you get the resident annual pass and visit at different times of the day, multiple times a year. For an one-off visitor whose visit is probably limited to 2-3 hours, $63 may be somewhat too expensive. In comparison, Van Dusen Garden’s fantastic Christmas event “Festival of Lights” is $17.5 per adult, Whistler’s captivating Vallea Lumina with its more impressive installations is $34.99 in the winter, and UBC Botanical Garden also has a 310m canopy walk.


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