tourists crossing the capilano suspension bridge in vancouver bc canada

Capilano Suspension Bridge Park Visiting Guide

If you’ve ever wanted to walk on a stunning, albeit wobbly bridge that floats through a forest then you can’t miss Capilano Suspension Bridge Park in North Vancouver.

Sure, when we think of a suspension bridge we often think about the traffic of cities or some San Francisco helicopter panoramic.

But this is Vancouver.

We grew up in a forest and we’re not about to let architects take centre stage – and the park’s 800,000 visitors a year would agree.

How to Visit Capilano Suspension Bridge Park

  1. Suspension Bridge
  2. Capilano Suspension Bridge Park + things to do
  3. Price and tickets
  4. Hours
  5. Directions
  6. Visiting tips
  7. Restaurants
  8. Shopping
  9. History
  10. FAQ

Capilano Suspension Bridge

a long range view of the capilano suspension bridge and capilano river vancouver bc canada
Instagram: @capilanosuspensionbridge

The modern version is a 460 foot (140 m) long simple suspension bridge.

This type of swing bridge, built entirely without towers or piers, dangles 230 feet (70 m) above the Capilano River in the middle of North Vancouver’s west coast rain forest.

And you can walk on it!

The subtle sway and vivid view really gets the heart rate up, resulting in one of the most unique tourist experiences you’ll ever have.

But it doesn’t stop there.

Capilano Suspension Bridge Park is also home to the world’s largest private collection of totem poles, hosts many seasonal events, and is a history lesson with exhibitions explaining the area’s history and First Nations past.

Stay tuned for my 13 visiting tips at the bottom of the article, though I’ll give you my first here if you’re feeling a little woozy at the idea of crossing the suspension bridge:

Holding onto the handrails of the bridge actually increases the sensation of swaying so if you’re looking to feel a bit more secure: let go.

It sounds crazy, but try it!

Capilano Suspension Bridge Park

The Cliff Walk

Tourist peer over the edge of the Capilano Suspension Bridge
Instagram: @capilanosuspensionbridge

The opening of the Cliff Walk gave the area a second great attraction in June of 2011.

What you get here is the chance to meander your way through the heights of the forest on 20 inch wide platforms, bridges, and stairs protruding directly out the side of a granite cliff face.

Your heart will skip a beat in the teeth-grinding glass floor portion.

With just 16 anchor points along the entire route (an engineering marvel and an environmental necessity) you’ll swear you’re seconds from death.

Related: Capilano Suspension Bridge vs. Sea to Sky Gondola: Which is Better?

Treetops Adventure

The Treetop Adventure at Capilano Suspension Bridge

Let’s start with eight 60,000 pound old forest Douglas Fir trees that are old enough to remember the 1750’s, shall we?

Now, what we want to do is connect them with seven suspension bridges and give the average person an adventurous walk with an eagle-eye view of the trees and forest floor without inducing full-on panic-mode like our previous two tremble-inducers.

At the Treetops Adventure you’ll walk 110 feet (33.5 m) over the forest floor and take in that cedar-scented air.

The best part of all?

At no point have the old-growth trees been penetrated with bolts or nails meaning they’ll remain healthy for years to come. And furthermore, the attraction accommodates future tree growth.

 

The Story Centre

The good folks at the Capilano Suspension Bridge Park wouldn’t let you get away with some local education would they?

You’ll see the area as it was a hundred years ago through the eyes of the Capilano Tramps, the early pioneers who made the harrowing trip up to the bridge not for photo opportunities but for life’s necessities.

Take a photo with one of them and their turn of the century dress, check out some flip books on the bridge’s construction and the history of North Vancouver, and experience artifacts and photo murals that bring the area to life!

Kia’Palano

The area’s earliest human connection goes back thousands of years to the local indigenous populations. This history is marked by several captivating totem poles throughout the park.

This is where you’ll be educated on the deep connection of indigenous people with the natural world.

But what really gets my attention every time are the stunning displays of the unique Coastal First Nations art.

Guided Tours

Complimentary guided tours are available for those looking for clarification of the area’s unique history. Learn tales from the area’s earliest settlers to the construction of today’s world-class tourist spectacle from your knowledgeable local guide.

You’ll also receive a unique and interactive look into the area’s flora and fauna from a climate expert – so be sure to try and stump them with whatever question should come to mind!

The free tours are offered hourly.

Related: Top Vancouver City Tours

Capilano Suspension Bridge Park Prices

The great thing about getting tickets for Capilano Suspension Bridge online is that there are no hidden costs or annoying add ons.

  • Adults: $69.25
  • 65+: $64.00
  • Youth (13-17): $39.85
  • Child (6-12): $29.35
  • Under (0-5): free

Buying Capilano Suspension Bridge Tickets Online

It is strongly recommended to book your tickets in advance, especially in summer and on weekends as you run the risk of your time slots being sold out:

Additionally, in booking beforehand you’ll also get some extra amenities:

  • Entrance to the entire Capilano Suspension Bridge Park
  • Access to Capilano Suspension Bridge
  • Access to the Cliffwalk
  • Access to the Treetops Adventure
  • A 10 minute history and nature talk with a knowledgeable guide
  • A complimentary “I Made It!” souvenir certificate
  • Complimentary ponchos in case of rain
  • Live entertainment of the season

Finally, if you book Capilano Suspension Bridge tickets via Tiqets using the orange button below, you’ll get also get a free shuttle from downtown so you can skip the driving worries.

Capilano Suspension Bridge + Free Shuttle

Capilano Suspension Bridge Hours 2022

  • May 1st to September 5th 2022: 9:00 am to 7:00 pm.
  • September 6th to October 10th 2022: 9:00 am to 6:00 pm.
  • October 11th to November 18th 2022: 9:00 am to 5:00 pm.
  • November 19th to January 22nd 2023: 11:00 am to 9:00 pm.

If you’re wondering how long to spend at Capilano Suspension Bridge, expect to have it done properly in around two hours.

You can pick your time slot using the calendar below:

 

Related: Best Time of Day to Visit Capilano Suspension Bridge

How to Get to Capilano Suspension Bridge

Capilano Suspension Bridge Free Shuttle

Before even answering the question of how to get to Capilano Suspension Bridge – know first that you’re going to have to get to the suburb of North Vancouver.

If you’ve booked one of the top Vancouver hotels downtown then your best option is to book your Capilano Suspension Bridge tickets via Tiqets to get a free shuttle from downtown at Canada Place.

Hours depend on the season but generally run between 8:35 am and 5:00 pm.

Public Transit to Capilano Bridge

From downtown you can also take bus #246 from the North side of W. Georgia Street.

There is also the option to take the Seabus from Waterfront Station over to Lonsdale Quay – from here you can grab bus #236 from the Lonsdale Bus Loop.

For bus schedule and route info you can visit Translink.

Related: How to get from Capilano Suspension Bridge to Grouse Mountain

Driving + Taxi

Expect about a 20-40 minute drive from downtown Vancouver depending on traffic. I’d highly recommend that you try to avoid rush hour all together due to the traffic on the Lion’s Gate Bridge.

As you can see, it’ll double your travel time.

You can also try ride sharing or grab a reasonable $35.00 Vancouver taxi from downtown.

13 Visiting Tips for Capilano Suspension Bridge

  • Buy your tickets online to avoid long lines (especially in high season)
  • Go as early as possible or after 5:00 pm to avoid the crowds
  • Set aside about two hours to visit the entire area properly
  • Pack your own lunch if you don’t want to pay premium prices for food
  • Looking to save money? There is a 30% reduced ticket at twilight (after 5:00 pm)
  • If rain is in the forecast bring shoes with grip for maximum comfort
  • Those with mobility issues or vertigo are recommended against visiting
  • Raining? Grab a complimentary yellow rain poncho from guest services
  • Try to combine your visit with a day at Grouse Mountain or Lonsdale Quay
  • Do the Cliff Walk first since its granite cliff is the ‘least scary’ scary attraction
  • Leave your drones and selfie sticks at home as they are not permitted
  • Take advantage of the free WiFi to make your friends jealous with pics!
  • Stay on the designated walkways or you may be kicked out of the park

Restaurants at Capilano Suspension Bridge

Personally, I prefer heading back to the best restaurants in downtown Vancouver – or at the very least the best places to eat near Capilano Suspension Bridge.

That said, if you’re hungry there are a couple options on site.

The Cliff House Restaurant overlooks the entire Capilano Canyon and fires out a casual West Coast menu of Oceanwise seafood, craft beer, and BC wines.

There are no reservations: tables are first come first served (12:00 pm – 9:00 pm). For 2021 keep in mind this is the only part of the park that requires vaccination proof.

If you’re a bit more rushed but don’t want to skip on the quality there is also some great barbecue at Loggers Grill. The local, sustainable, and ethically-raised proteins here are top notch.

Try the sirloin burger or a Canadian classic: poutine.

Those not looking for a full meal can also find great locally roasted Moja coffee at Bridge House, small batch ice cream (try the maple walnut!) at Ice Cream Creamery, and quality baked goods and beverages at Dr. Wood’s Cabin.

Shopping at Capilano Suspension Bridge

The aptly named Trading Post takes gift shops to a whole new level. The store is known for its Vancouver-friendly variety of local specialty food products, wind and rain savvy clothing brands, and First Nations art and jewelry.

You’ll also get your fix of Canadian collectibles and souvenirs, which I’ve covered more deeply in my post on the best shopping in Vancouver.

All the products here ship to anywhere in the world.

Capilano Suspension Bridge History

The Capilano Suspension Bridge in the late 19th century

Capilano River comes from an anglicized version of the indigenous word kia’palano (beautiful river).

Scottish developer George Grant Mackay bought property on both sides of this North Vancouver river canyon (Capilano Canyon) to build the first bridge with hemp rope and ceder planks.

After Mackay’s death the bridge changed hands multiple times and the newest wire-cable version was built in 1903.

In the 1920’s locals began calling it the 8th Wonder of the World.

It was only in 1983 though that it went from a casual stop-off to a destination attraction – under the guidance of owner Nancy Stibbard.

 

How to Visit Capilano Suspension Bridge Park FAQ

Where is Capilano Suspension Bridge Park?

It’s found in the mountainous area of North Vancouver, across the harbour to the north of downtown.

Is Capilano Suspension Bridge Park free?

Unfortunately the bridge is not free owing to its massive maintenance fees as well as the availability of many secondary attractions on the site.

That said, if you’re a British Columbia resident with valid ID you get unlimited return visits within a year of your original purchase.

Those looking for a free suspension bridge in Vancouver should check out Lynn Canyon Suspension Bridge.

Is Capilano Suspension Bridge safe?

To date there have been no malfunctions with the bridge and the only fatalities have been the result of foul play and/or undue care and attention. Anybody taking standard precautions will not be in danger of any kind.

Is Capilano Suspension Bridge Park scary?

Some people are frightened by the gentle sway of the bridge and the dizzying effect of its height – but most report a pleasant feeling of being suspended in the air.

How long is Capilano Suspension Bridge?

The bridge measures 140 meters (459 feet) long – about the size of some of Vancouver’s biggest skyscrapers.

How high is Capilano Suspension Bridge?

The bridge is 70 meters (229 feet) off the ground – about the height of a 21 story building.

Is Capilano Suspension Bridge kid friendly?

Yes, though it is naturally advised for any parents and/or guardians to pay great attention to any children during the visit – also, babies must be carried below the level of the railing when crossing the bridge.

Keep in mind however that no, strollers are not allowed on the bridge, Treetops Adventure, or Cliff Walk.

Is there a Capilano Suspension Bridge discount code?

Unfortunately Capilano Suspension Bridge discount codes do not exist, and if they do they’re create by click farm sites to take advantage of such searches.

Visiting Capilano Suspension Bridge Park and Other Vancouver Attractions

Yes, I’ve taken myself to task and written about all I could about Vancouver’s famous bridge but there’s always something… what have I missed?

I’ll answer any comment or question as we try to (pardon the pun) bridge the gap between ignorance and Vancouver victory on your well-deserved holiday.

Anything Vancouver goes! Just try me 🙂

Ash

I've lived in 5 countries and created content for travel websites like eDreams and Amex Essentials, but here I finally get to work my passion project - my hometown, Vancouver!

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