What we appreciate most is that they allow pets. It is a fantastic place to walk the dogs (though neither of them will cross the bridge or do the Cliffwalk without being carried!).
The incredible suspension bridge is a breathtaking 140 metres (460 ft) long and 70 metres (230 ft) above the Capilano river.
The bridge has been a tourist attraction for quite some time. From cap bridge.com;
“In 1888, George Grant Mackay, a Scottish civil engineer and land developer, arrived in the young city of Vancouver in Canada. Mackay purchased 6,000 acres of dense forest on either side of Capilano River and built a cabin on the very edge of the canyon wall. In 1889 he suspended a footbridge made of hemp rope and cedar planks across the canyon with the help of August Jack Khahtsahlano and a team of horses who swam the ropes across the river. The ropes were then pulled up the other side and anchored to huge buried cedar logs.”
The terrain here is so jagged and rough, I can hardly imagine what it would have taken to get the supplies here more than 100 years ago.
There are a few exceptional attractions at the Cap Bridge, aside from the bridge itself – the souvenir shop, called the Trading Post (a quaint old log building) and food stand make a great place to warm up on a winter visit, with lots of trinkets to browse and hot drinks to hold.
There are even yummy alcoholic bevys available during the Christmas season – the hub really enjoyed his Bailies and hot chocolate!
At Christmas time the park lights up beautifully and the hours are extended into the evening. It is quite a thrill to walk the wobbly bridge in the dark, and the carollers and live band that show up every year, add some additional holiday ‘spirit’ – perhaps literally!
If you look at some of the photos below, you will see plenty of orbs enjoying the cheer.
The ‘Trading Post’ has a decent selection of ‘Canadiana’, and is worth a tour, particularly if you are looking for a bauble to send home.
I love how it all looks lit up for the holidays. It is nice to sit outside on the benches sipping special hot chocolate while appreciating the local landscape. The area is considered a temperate rainforest, and with the treetop walk attraction, you can experience it at multiple levels.
In addition to the suspension bridge and the Peter Pan reminiscent ‘Treetop Adventure’, the ‘Cliffwalk’ has recently been added to the attractions. Walking the narrow three panel planks across the very high suspended walkway is utterly breathtaking (and a little frightening!).
You are literally hanging off the side of a cliff as high as the ancient redwoods and old growth douglas fir, suspended above the river overlooking a beautiful waterfall.
And, it is open all year round. As beautiful in the winter as in the summer, without seasonal attraction closings. Entry isn’t cheap, so if you are planning to visit, and are not a resident of BC (who can come back as often as you like for a year, without charge), I would get there at least a few hours before closing, so you have time to appreciate the rainforest without feeling rushed (read as: ripped off!).
Apparently the current Capilano success can be attributed to Nancy Stibbard. Also from capbridge.com;
“Nancy Stibbard purchased Capilano Suspension Bridge in 1983 from her father Rae Mitchell. Her goal, to elevate the park from a mere stop-off to a destination attraction, was realized in less than ten years. Nancy’s success has resulted in expansion to other popular visitor destinations: Moraine Lake Lodge (hotel, restaurant, retail) in Banff National Park, Alberta and Cathedral Mountain Lodge (hotel, restaurant, retail) in Yoho National Park, BC. Once involved in the management and operation of her own business, Nancy recognized the need to serve and advance tourism in the province. Nancy’s success has included induction into the Canadian Tourism Hall of Fame in 2007. “
Thanks Nancy! Many additional photos in the slideshow.