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, the Cleveland Dam is also a popular spot for a quick visit on your way up to nearby Grouse Mountain or down to the Capilano Suspension Bridge just 5 minutes away.
The dam itself is just a dam, and not a particularly large one. 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 the 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 the 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) and why there is a fence around the lake preventing people from touching it.
The 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.
Best Time to Visit
The best times to visit the Cleveland Dam and Capilano River Regional Park are in the spring, when there is still snow on the mountain peaks in the distance and there is tons of water flowing over the dam, as well as in the fall when you can see the salmon spawning at the hatchery.
Being in a forested area with trees that don’t lose their leaves in winter, however, the park is beautiful and a “best place” to visit almost any time of the 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, if there is sun that day. At other times, because it’s in a canyon, the dam is often in the shade.