Featuring bridges through trees and over a canyon, North Vancouver’s Capilano Suspension Bridge is one of the Lower Mainland’s top tourist destinations.
BRIDGE REOPENS, CLOSES AND THEN REOPENS!
Due to the coronavirus, the Capilano Suspension Bridge Park suspended operations for a number of weeks beginning in the spring. The attraction eventually reopened, but it closed once again for the months of October and November.
As of December, Capilano Suspension Bridge Park has reopened for day time visits. Canyon Lights, the Christmas event part of the attraction, however, has been cancelled for 2020 (although the illuminations are still up for people to enjoy in the late afternoons).
Daily hours during the 2020 winter holiday season are from 11:00 am to 6:00 pm until February 10th of 2021. Cap Bridge is open every day during that period except for December 25th, and the Christmas illuminations are on display up until around the middle of February.
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:
Location | Admission Details | The Suspension Bridge | Forest Paths | First Nations Elements | The Cliffwalk | Rope Bridges | Canyon Lights | Cap Bridge Video | In the Area | Tips & Advice | Gift Shop Video
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 $55 for adults, $50 for seniors, $42 for students (with ID), $30 for youth (ages 13-16), $19 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 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.
Historical & Nature Tours
Capilano Bridge offers both historical and nature-themed tours of the property. They are free and each lasts 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, on the west side, 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).
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.
Capilano Bridge Video
Below is a video about Capilano Suspension Bridge during its Canyon Lights event over the Christmas season. The video includes footage of the attraction at night in winter from both 2018 and 2019. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Canyon Lights didn’t happen as a formal event in 2020.
Featured in the video are scenes of the entrance sign just inside the park as well as an area with historical photos and information about Capilano Bridge over the years. Also included is the Cliffwalk where you get to walk on the bridge-like structure along the side of the cliff overlooking the canyon. There is also a scene of people walking across the suspension bridge in the dark above Capilano River.
The second half of the video is of the Christmas attraction on the far side of the canyon after crossing the suspension bridge. In that area there are bridges that you can walk along high up in the trees, boardwalks to stroll around, and a pond with beautiful ornament-like Christmas lights in winter.
Exploring Capilano Suspension Bridge is similar to what you’ll see in the video during the day and throughout the year, only without the Christmas lights and the darkness.
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.
Tips for December
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: 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 #7: 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. (Note: The service wasn’t being offered as of late 2020 because of COVID-19.)
TIP #8: If you loved the 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!
Capilano Bridge Gift Shop Video
The attraction has a really nice gift shop. It’s not inexpensive, but the products it sells are generally of very good quality. Items for sale include everything from Capilano Bridge-branded clothing to maple syrup, smoked salmon and other touristy souvenirs.
To give you an idea of what the souvenirs look like in the gift store, check out the following short video clip.
If you look carefully, in the video you’ll see the usual gift shop assortment of Canadian-themed stuffed animal toys, t-shirts, pyjamas and postcards. You’ll also see the attraction’s selection of fudge for sale. When you visit the place in person, you’ll also find a whole lot more.
People who like shopping for souvenirs will love this place!
For more information about the attraction, check out the Capilano Suspension Bridge‘s official website.