Featuring bridges through trees and over a canyon, North Vancouver’s Capilano Suspension Bridge is one of the Lower Mainland’s top tourist destinations.
CHRISTMAS AT CAPILANO BRIDGE
Vancouver’s world-famous suspension bridge celebrates the Christmas season with its Canyon Lights event which runs from November 22, 2018, until January 27, 2019. During that time the attraction is lit up at night with holiday decorations and amazing illuminations. Click Canyon Lights 2018/19 for details.
Capilano Suspension Bridge
Capilano Suspension Bridge is one of Metro Vancouver’s most popular and visited attractions, and definitely one of its top 10.
Below is information about the following topics:
The Capilano Suspension Bridge’s address is 3735 Capilano Road.
If coming via downtown Vancouver, go through Stanley Park, head over the Lions Gate Bridge, veer right towards North Vancouver and then very soon turn left onto Capilano Road. The venue is about 2.5 km up the hill on your left, with pay parking on your right.
If coming via the Trans-Canada / Upper Levels Highway, take Exit #14 and head north on Capilano Road for about 1 km.
Capilano Bridge Admission
Admission at Capilano Suspension Bridge costs about $47 for adults, $43 for seniors, $35 for students (with ID), $28 for youth (ages 13-16), $15 for children (ages 6-12) and free for kids age 5 and under. Taxes are extra.
Most areas at Capilano Suspension Bridge are not wheelchair accessible. However, visitors in wheelchairs or on crutches do receive free admission.
Note: Dogs on leash are also permitted at the venue.
TIP: BC residents can get an annual pass for the price of regular admission. Be sure to ask when purchasing your ticket and take valid BC ID.
What’s at the Attraction?
At the Capilano Suspension Bridge you’ll find a number of interesting things to do and see including the suspension bridge, paths through the forest, Indigenous art, a Cliffwalk at the edge of the canyon, and rope bridges high up between the trees.
The Suspension Bridge
The highlight of the Capilano Suspension Bridge attraction is of course the world-famous suspension bridge.
Originally built in the late 1800’s, the bridge is 450 feet long (or 137 metres) and 230 feet above the Capilano River (or 70 metres). As you’ll probably learn if you take one of the attraction’s guided history tours, that’s equivalent to the height of the Statue of Liberty up to her shoulders and the length of two NHL ice hockey rinks!
The existing bridge is actually the 4th edition of the structure. The first was built out of hemp rope and cedar planks in 1889. It was the bridge’s second owner that started to charge people to cross, and in 1903 the price was just 10 cents. Today’s bridge costs a fair bit more, but it’s also many times more heavy-duty and durable!
The bridge is impressive, and it sways when you walk. You’ll feel a bit like you had too much to drink while crossing, especially if there are many people on the bridge at the same time.
Paths Through the Forest
The Capilano Suspension Bridge property is right in the forest. All around are paths through the trees, as well as geological, historical and nature-educational displays and First Nations art.
The Nature’s Edge Boardwalk is a fairly long but especially interesting wooden pathway through the forest. It begins near the pond at the opposite side of the canyon from the park’s entrance. The Boardwalk does a loop through the trees, under the bridge and back to near the pond. The route involves a fair number of stairs, but nothing particularly strenuous.
TIP: Sometimes the Nature’s Edge Boardwalk is closed due to the weather, especially in winter if there’s snow or ice on the ground. This doesn’t happen very often, but when it does it’s unfortunate as you miss a valuable component of the venue. If in doubt, phone the attraction ahead of time to make sure all areas are open to the public. Their phone number is 604.985.7474.
First Nations Art and History
There are a number of totem poles and other pieces of West Coast Indigenous art at the park. Most of the totem poles are authentic and made in the 1960s, including some by an Alaskan carver, but carved on site.
Capilano Suspension Bridge has a long history of First Nations art and educational programming. The original bridge was made in part by the work of local First Nations workers, and in the 1950s a local Squamish Chief did informational talks at the attraction.
TIP: Join the walking historical tours which take place every half hour in the summer and hourly at other times of the year. The tours are very educational and you’ll learn about local First Nations history and culture, as well as the history of the Capilano Suspension Bridge and its property. The historical tours, as well as nature tours which are also offered, are both highly recommended.
The Cliffwalk is one of the Capilano Suspension Bridge’s newest features. It’s a metal walkway along the edge of the cliff, with the canyon far below. It’s interesting both during the day year-round and at night in December when it’s lit up.
The Cliffwalk is definitely one of the highlights of the attraction and highly recommended. Don’t miss it!
Rope Bridges Through the Trees
You can get a birds-eye view from up high in the trees at the attraction as you walk from tree to tree. Ever wondered what the view would be like for a squirrel or a bird looking down from up high? Now you’ll know.
Canyon Lights at Christmas
The Capilano Suspension Bridge is especially interesting in December during Canyon Lights when the place is lit up at night with Christmas decorations. Want to get into the Christmas spirit? Then spend the evening at the bridge.
Whatever time of the year you visit, plan to spend at least an hour at this amazing place, or maybe even two or more.
Best times to visit though are in December at night or on a sunny day in the summer.
What to do While in the Area
If you plan to visit Capilano Suspension Bridge and want to spend the day doing other activities on the North Shore too, then consider checking out Grouse Mountain (where you could spend a big part of your day), and the Cleveland Dam (which is free and good for a short visit unless you plan to hike in the area at Capilano River Regional Park). All of these are only five minutes by car or bus from the Capilano Suspension Bridge.
Want to know about other recommended “best places” in the area, then check out our information about the North Shore.
Tips and Advice
Below is a list of additional tips to help you make the most out of your experience at Capilano Suspension Bridge.
TIP #1: One of the best times to visit Capilano Suspension Bridge is in the evening in December during Canyon Lights.
If you are a resident of BC, any time of the year you can get a year’s membership for about the same price as a single day’s admission. This is especially worthwhile if you buy your pass in December, which means you can check out the amazing lights and festivities for two separate Christmas seasons (i.e., at the start of your year’s membership and then again at the end).
TIP #2: Most years December is also apparently the only time you can get a family membership (which isn’t much more than the price for two adults). At other times of the year you’ll need to buy an annual membership for each individual family member, which means paying more.
TIP #3: If you are just getting a one-day ticket in December, during Capilano Bridge’s Christmas Canyon Lights season, to get even more of your money’s worth, consider visiting the place during the daytime and then coming back at night (like after a day up at Grouse Mountain or exploring elsewhere on the North Shore).
You’ll find both experiences quite different, with views of nature all around during the day and with all the Christmas lights at night. Just double check first, before you leave, that they’ll indeed let you go back later on the same ticket or hand stamp.
TIP #4: The Capilano Suspension Bridge is an interesting place to visit, unless you are afraid of heights or get motion sickness. The suspension bridge and treetop bridges are high up and sway a bit. If you don’t like slightly swinging bridges that traverse canyons, then you might want to visit one of Vancouver’s other best places instead.
TIP #5: The Capilano Suspension Bridge is not wheelchair or stroller accessible (although people in wheelchairs do get free admission). Also, leave your high heel shoes at home!
TIP #6: Join the Historical and Nature tours which each last for about 25 minutes. Both run every half hour during the daytime in the summer and hourly at other times of the year.
The Historical tour begins near the attraction’s main entrance and includes information about the history of the bridge, its owners and the Indigenous art at the site.
The Nature tour begins on the other side of the canyon, close to the far side of the suspension bridge. It features information about area animals and the property’s various species of trees. Both are completely free, although tips are welcome (but not expected).
TIP #7: To be sure to get your money’s worth, do as much as you can at the attraction including the suspension bridge, rope bridges through the trees, the Nature’s Edge Boardwalk, Raptors Birds of Prey exhibit (in the summer), the Cliffwalk and both the Nature and Historical tours. If you do everything, especially the two 25-minute guided tours, you can expect to be at the park for about 2.5 hours and have a most enjoyable time.
TIP #8: Capilano Suspension Bridge offers free shuttle bus service to and from various central Vancouver locations. This is a fabulous deal, especially if you’re based downtown or don’t have your own vehicle. What’s more, it saves you having to pay for parking! For details, click Capilano Shuttle Service.
TIP #9: If you loved the Capilano Suspension Bridge and want more. … Or maybe you’re on a tight budget or just want to see something almost as amazing, but less touristy and with more nature? Then check out the Lynn Canyon Suspension Bridge. It’s at a public park, also in North Vancouver, and it’s free!
For more information about the attraction, check out the Capilano Suspension Bridge‘s official website.