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.
North Vancouver Hatchery
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, 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).