Vancouver is famous for its outdoor spaces and temperate rainforests. The North Shore is where you’ll find Vancouver’s best outdoor attractions, one of them being the Capilano Suspension Bridge Park. This famous suspension bridge is one of the top things to do in Vancouver and draws in over 1.2 million visitors per year.
Originally built in 1889 from hemp ropes, the Capilano Suspension Bridge has seen some changes over the years. It was purchased by Nancy Stibbard in 1983 from her father, and the real transformation of this park began, becoming one of Canada’s biggest attractions.
The name Capilano derives from the word Kia’palano, which is a Squamish First Nations word meaning “beautiful river”. Kia’palano was the name of a Squamish Chief who lived in the area in the early 1800’s.
A City Girl Outside contains affiliate links. If you decide to make a purchase through these links, I will earn a commission at no extra cost to you. Thanks for reading!
Capilano Suspension Bridge – Everything You Need To Know
If you are interested in visiting the Capilano Suspension Bridge during your trip to Vancouver, the below guide will give you all the information you need to plan your visit.
In a rush? Check out this quick Reference Guide!
Tickets: 2020 ticket prices are $54.95
Parking: Paid parking is available at a rate of $6 per 3 hours
Hours: Open year-round other than Christmas day. Check the table below for specific seasonal opening hours
|January 4 – March 13||9:00am – 5:00pm|
|March 14 – April 10||9:00am – 6:00pm|
|April 11 – May 15||9:00am – 7:00pm|
|May 16 – September 7||9:00am – 7:00pm|
|September 8 – September 30||9:00am – 5:00pm|
|October 1 – November 30||CLOSED|
|December 1 – January 3||2:00pm – 9:00pm|
Best time to visit: Off-Season for minimal crowds or during the Canyon Lights event for twinkly lights and insta-shots
Where To Stay In Vancouver
The best area to stay in Vancouver is the Downtown section of the city. From here almost everything is easily accessible by train, car, bus or water-taxi.
The Hyatt Vancouver is one of the top rated hotels in Vancouver
How To Get To The Capilano Suspension Bridge
The best way to get to the Capilano Suspension Bridge is by car. Driving yourself means you can go whenever you want but it also means you can leave early and get to the park well before it opens! To get to Capilano Suspension Bridge by car simply follow signs for Stanley Park and cross over the Lions Gate Bridge. Once there you’ll see signs for Marine Drive and then Capilano Road.
Uber and Lyft are always an option too if you don’t have a car or don’t want to rent one (Or simply don’t drive!) Uber and Lyft finally got the go-ahead in Vancouver in late 2019 so this is a great option for getting around.
Alternatively you can always opt to take the free shuttle operated by the Capilano Suspension Bridge. There are several pick-up locations in Vancouver, the most central being Canada Place. The other pick-up locations are Library Square, Hyatt Hotel and Blue Horizon Hotel. During the busy seasons the shuttle comes every 10-15 minutes and in the slow seasons every 30 minutes. Check the Official Website for shuttle times
Tickets & Parking
Tickets to the Capilano Suspension Bridge can be purchased in advance or you can purchase when you arrive. During busy seasons such as Christmas, you may want to consider purchasing in advance to guarantee you get tickets for your chosen date.
Annual Passes: The first time we visited the Capilano Suspension Bridge we were told upon exiting that if we had evidence of being BC residents (drivers license etc) then we could get an annual pass for no extra cost. So that’s what we did!
If you are a BC resident and qualify for the annual pass you’ll also receive discounts on tickets for friends and family as well as the other properties owned by the Capilano Group such as Stanley Park Pavilion, Cathedral Mountain Lodge and Moraine Lake Lodge. With your annual pass you also receive discounts at the Trading Post gift shop and dining locations in Capilano Suspension Bridge Park. For more info check out the website.
Parking: If you are driving to the Capilano Suspension Bridge, you’ll need to pay for parking. The parking lot is located directly opposite the entrance and is super easy to find. Once you have found a parking space, you can pay for parking at one of the meters. The average visit lasts around 2-3 hours so I would opt to pay for 3 hours to be safe. Parking rates are $6 for 3 hours as of 2020
Wheelchair Access: The Suspension Bridge, Tree Top Adventure and Cliff Walk are not wheelchair accessible. Wheelchair users get complimentary access into Capilano Suspension Bridge Park where they can enjoy the Kia’Palano Totem Pole exhibits, tours, shops and dining.
When To Visit The Capilano Suspension Bridge
The Capilano Suspension Bridge is open every day of the year except Christmas day. Current hours and opening times may vary due to Covid-19 so check the website in advance to see what safety measures have been put in place.
I have only ever visited the Capilano Suspension Bridge at Christmas during their Canyon Lights festival and honestly, I would say it’s the perfect time to visit! Christmas is my favourite time of year anyway, but having the whole park light up in colourful twinkly mesmerising lights is even better. It’s also nicer for photos or those famous Instagram shots!
Christmas can be a busy time or year and the nearer to Christmas the busier it will be. Visit in early December just as it starts to turn dark and you’ll get average crowd levels.
If you’re after minimal to no crowds then Autumn/Fall is probably you’re best bet. The rainier the season the less likely people are to visit. But you’ll get the park almost entirely to yourself!
Summer time is also incredibly busy. If you are looking to visit during the summer months, make sure you come early, opening is the best time to beat the crowds. And trust me, you will find crowds!
Kia’palano – Totem Pole Collection
One of the first areas you’ll walk through in the Capilano Park is the Kia’palano collection of Totem Poles. The Capilano Suspension Bridge Park hosts one of the largest collections of Totem Poles in Canada. The Local First Nations were first invited to place their Totem Poles in the park in 1935.
Totem Poles are an important aspect of BC’s First Nation’s culture. Take time to enjoy the intricate artwork and learn about the meanings behind them.
The Suspension Bridge
After walking through the Kia’palano Totem Pole exhibit, you’ll arrive at the suspension bridge. Sitting 230 feet above the Capilano River and stretching 450 feet across the canyon, the Capilano Suspension Bridge has been greeting tourists to it’s park since 1953.
The Capilano Suspension Bridge was first erected in 1889 from hemp ropes. Luckily for us the cables have since been updated and are strong enough to hold a fully loaded 747 airliner!
The bridge is definitely the busiest section of this whole park, it’s almost impossible to get good photos on it without someone else being right next to you. I’m not going to lie, the suspension bridge is wobbly, particularly in the middle. (I mean it’s a suspension bridge after all… bouncing is expected) And as someone who is scared of heights it’s actually not that bad! I’ve managed to get across the bridge multiple times without getting vertigo. I just make sure to hold onto the ropes!
The tree top adventure is my absolute favourite section of the Capilano Suspension Bridge Park. This section is filled with much smaller suspension bridges set in an ancient Douglas Fir forest. Some of the trees in this area are around 250 years old – amazing!
I actually enjoy this section more than the main suspension bridge because it is far quieter, the bridges don’t bounce nearly as much and the whole area is just beautiful. It is a one-way system so you won’t be able to backtrack on yourself. However there is no time limit, so feel free to walk through the Tree-top Adventure as much as you like!
Living Forest Walk
The Living Forest Walk is a section of the park that aims to educate guests on the temperate rainforest and the species that live and grow in the area.
This section isn’t as popular as the Tree Top Adventure or Suspension Bridge which is great in my opinion, because it means you get the area to yourself! It’s always been quiet when I have visited which I love because the main bridge is always so full of people.
The Cliffwalk is the newest addition to the Capilano Suspension Bridge Park. It consists of a series of bridges that jut out of the side of a cliff face. The best part of this section of the park is that the bridges are sturdy and reinforced into the granite wall – which means no bouncing – yay!
On the other hand I found this area to be the scariest. The bridges are very narrow and don’t make for much room to manoeuvre. You’ll find signs stating that these semi-circle bridges can hold up to 35 grown Whales, so rest assured they’re not going anywhere!
Towards the end of this attraction there is a lookout point that has a glass floor – I braved it and slowly made my way to the end! Glass floors don’t usually bother me – unless they are high above a canyon! I got my photo and was out of there like lightning. The funny part is, I was totally safe the entire time – Damn you height phobia!
Again this is a one way system so you’ll need to wait for the party in front for the most part since it’s near-impossible to pass people.
The Canyon Lights is one of the biggest Christmas events in Vancouver. Both times I have visited have been through the Canyon Lights season and it’s just so magical!
The entire Capilano Suspension Bridge Park gets covered head to toe in Christmas lights. You’ll find glowing balls of light hanging just above you, twinkly lights lining the bridge and archways that change colour.
Gift Shop & Dining
The Trading Post gift shop at Capilano Suspension Bridge is the cutest little log cabin – what could be more Canadian? The decor is even better – walls lined with antique snowshoes and moose and bears.
The gift shop features everything from fridge magnets to Christmas ornaments to hats, scarves and quintessential Canadian souvenirs. The trading Post is famous for it’s homemade fudge along with it’s selection of Rogers Chocolates (a must when in Canada!) There is also an ice cream parlour located at the very end of the shop – mmm!
Dining options are plenty within the Capilano Suspension Bridge Park. Capilano Coffee Company and Loggers Grill offer a quick service counter-style experience while the Cliff House Restaurant is a full service restaurant.
The Cabin is a cute rustic dining location located just across the suspension bridge. This is the perfect place to warm up with a hot-chocolate on a cold day.
If you have already left the park or looking for somewhere to grab a quick coffee before heading in, the Bridge House is located in the parking lot.
Have you ever visited the Capilano Suspension Bridge? What was your favourite part? Leave a comment and let me know!
Need More Canada Inspiration? Check Out These Other Posts!
Click Below To Pin For Later!