Waterfall at Cleveland Dam

The Cleveland Dam in Capilano River Regional Park is a great place in North Vancouver to take photos, have a picnic or begin a hike in nearby trails.


The Cleveland Dam

Arguably one of the most picturesque sites on the North Shore and all of Vancouver,  Cleveland Dam is also a popular spot for a quick visit on your way up to nearby Grouse Mountain. The Capilano Suspension Bridge is also just five minutes away.

Cleveland Dam is within the beautiful Capilano River Regional Park in North Vancouver. The park is also home to the Capilano Salmon Hatchery and miles of forested hiking trails.

The dam itself is just a dam, and not a huge one, but still interesting to see. Its reason for being is the water reservoir right behind, which is where you’ll find the photogenic scenery with the Lions Mountain in the background.

You can’t go inside Cleveland Dam, but you can walk across and look down from the top. The reservoir, Capilano Lake, supplies about a third of Metro Vancouver’s fresh water.

The lake water you see at Cleveland Dam is pristine, which is why Vancouver has some of the purest drinking tap water in the world (even better than much of the bottled water you can buy). It’s also why there is a fence around the lake preventing people from accessing it.

Cleveland Dam is an excellent starting point for some wonderful hikes down the canyon to the river and through the forested trails. For more information on the hiking trails, check out the Capilano River Regional Park.


View from Cleveland Dam Deck
The View from the Deck of Cleveland Dam


Best Time to Visit

The best times to visit Cleveland Dam and Capilano River Regional Park are in the spring and fall. Summer and winter are nice too. Spring is when there is still snow on the mountain peaks in the distance and there is tons of water flowing over the dam. In autumn you can see the salmon spawning at the Hatchery.

Being in a forested area with evergreen trees that don’t lose their leaves in winter, the park is beautiful and a “best place” to visit almost any time of year.

PHOTO TIP: If you visit the dam at around noon or a bit after most days, including in the winter, the sun is usually on the dam. Or at least that’s the case on days when there is sun. At other times, because it’s in a canyon, the dam and the water below are often in the shade.


Cleveland Dam Reservoir
Cleveland Park on a Rare Snowy Day in Winter


Other Information

To learn more about the area, see our articles about Capilano River Park, North Vancouver and the North Shore.

Other articles that might be of interest include the following:

To learn about parks in nearby communities outside the Lower Mainland, visit VictoriasBestPlaces.com and WhatToDoInWhistler.ca.