Built in 1971, the Capilano River Hatchery raises and releases over 1 million salmon and is visited by over 200,000 people each year. Admission is free.
In mid-March, 2020, the Capilano River Hatchery closed temporarily as a result of the coronavirus outbreak. The hatchery then reopened in the fall. For while it was open daily, but then, to prevent too many people from visiting the site, the place changed to being open just on weekdays, and not on weekends. As of early November, however, it appears that the hatchery has once again closed completely until further notice.
To learn more about the hatchery and its status with respect to the COVID-19 pandemic, see the Department of Fisheries website.
To learn about other places affected by the COVID-19 pandemic in the Lower Mainland, see our article about the Coronavirus and Vancouver Closures and Cancellations.
Salmon Hatchery in North Vancouver
The Capilano River Hatchery is located at 4500 Capilano Park Road in North Vancouver‘s beautiful Capilano River Regional Park. You can drive right to the hatchery, taking the turnoff about half a kilometre up the hill past the Capilano Suspension Bridge, or you can walk down to it from the Cleveland Dam. Depending on which side of the river you walk down, expect the hike to take close to 20 minutes, plus or minus.
At the Capilano River Hatchery there are displays with information and a viewing area where, depending on the season, you can see salmon swimming as they pass up through the hatchery on their way to spawn further up the river.
The best time to visit the hatchery is in the fall of most years, from September to November, although the exact times to see the salmon spawning varies. An especially good time to visit is on the second Sunday after Labour Day in September, during the Coho Festival, when there are usually salmon spawning and lots of hikers.
Expect to spend between 15 minutes and half an hour at the hatchery, but then longer afterwards to wander around the beautiful nearby forested trails or to trek back up to the dam. The area is great for both hiking and biking, and dogs are permitted on leash in most places (although not in the actual hatchery itself).
To learn more about the hatchery see the Federal Department of Fisheries & Oceans website.
Other articles that might be of interest include the following:
- North Vancouver
- Vancouver’s North Shore
- Parks & Places in Nature
- Educational Places in Vancouver
- Vancouver on a Budget
- Vancouver Places for Children