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Entrance to the park

Nestled in the trees up Grouse Mountain, you’ll find the Capilano Suspension Bridge.  At over 450 feet long, the bridge sways as the crowds jostle their way over it amidst photo taking tourists.  A voice over the loud-speaker gently reminds everyone to avoid running and intentionally swaying the bridge with little result; my guess, many of these tourists do not speak English.  Nonetheless, the bridge is spectacular and an engineering feat and the surrounding forest offers plenty of slight seeing.

From hemp rope and cedar planks to the modern pre-stressed wire cables you see here, the bridge has linked the mountain sides since 1889

A little baffled by the admission prices, we decided it was worth checking out and chose a sunny summer day to do it.  Because this attraction is in the trees, a rainy day might have proved just as joyful and next time around we won’t hesitate to visit during any of Vancouver’s seasons.  Once on the site, there is plenty to see and do.  Journey through time as you read descriptions and view articles from the bridge’s early years, stand amidst giant totem poles, shop for souvenirs at the gift shop, and enjoy a bite to eat at the various food venues all before you cross the bridge.  There’s also a new attraction called the Cliffwalk which tells the tale of our water’s life-cycle through example with breathtaking views of the valley below from a suspended and somewhat daredevil like pathway.

Many large trees grow precariously over the cliff and then rocket skyward

Once you cross the bridge you can choose to tour the Temperate West Coast Rainforest via the many wooden pathways or from the height of treetops where you’ll have even more appreciation for just how large these trees are.  Stop by the trout pond for a relaxing moment or take a guided eco-tour and learn about the landscape in more detail.  Children can become Rainforest Explorer’s and have a blast running around and learning about the forest at the same time.  If you visit between June 16 and September 3 be sure to view the birds of Raptors Ridge.  These birds of prey, including falcons, hawks and owls are free to fly and come and go as they wish; you may never see the same species twice!

A long way down….view from within the trees on the Treetops Adventure

Visitors take in the impressive birds at Raptors Ridge

Getting an up close and personal with a Kestral.  You may have the chance to learn more when an experienced falconer handles the birds out of the cages.

Many tours visit the park so check with your tour company to see if they offer this or you can take a free shuttle during the summer months from downtown.  There’s plenty of low-rate pay parking if you chose to drive.  The park is open year round but check their website for hours or closures prior to going.  As a BC resident your cost of admission is compensated by the fact that you can purchase a year’s pass with proof of residency.

Travel back through time at the Story Centre

One of the many totems in the Totem Park

If at first I was hesitant or unsure of the value of this attraction, I am no longer.  There’s certainly a reason it is one of Vancouver’s top attractions even if it is located in North Vancouver.  Be sure to wear comfortable shoes as there’s a surprising amount of terrain to cover.

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