Why You Need to Visit Capilano Suspension Bridge, Vancouver

Arguably one of the oldest bridges in the world, the Capilano Suspension Bridge is also one of the first places you want to see when visiting Vancouver, British Columbia.

Last updated: March 5, 2024

Capilano Suspension Bridge - Roads and Destinations
8 reasons why you should visit the Capilano Suspension Bridge

8 Main Reasons to Visit Capilano Suspension Bridge

A wobbly structure towering over the Capilano River in Capilano Suspension Bridge Park gives you enormous adrenaline rush. Its Treetops Adventure ensures unforgettable memories for life. Massive totems at the entrance intrigue you… All in all the reasons to visit the world-famous Capilano Suspension Bridge are endless.

Nestled in North Vancouver, the historic structure has long become one the symbols of the city. Surrounded by tall evergreen trees, the bridge depicts that raw natural beauty of Canada we are so fond of. In winter, the Capilano Bridge turns reality into a dream. Hundreds of lights illuminate the park and inspire you to brave the Canadian freezing weather and venture to North Vancouver, located 20 minutes away from downtown.

Every visitor finds her “why” and a couple, if not more, reasons to visit the Capilano Suspension Bridge. If you are new to the city, we won’t keep you in the unknown for any longer and unveil the 8 biggest reasons why you should visit the Capilano Suspension Bridge at least once in a lifetime.


1. One of the Oldest Suspension Bridges in the World

History of the Capilano Suspension Bridge began in 1888. At that time, George Grant Mackay, a Scottish civil engineer and land developer, acquired 6,000 acres of land on both sides of the Capilano River. The new owner erected a small cabin on the edge on the canyon wall. Mackay didn’t have any need to connect both sides of his property, not until a year later.

In 1889 with the help of indigenous chief of the Squamish people, the land owner built a simple suspension bridge, made of hemp rope and cedar planks.

The first footbridge didn’t look anything like a modern stucture with its massive concrete constructions at either end. Nevertheless, the fact remains, the Capilano Suspension Bridge is one of the oldest suspension bridges of its kind.

Capilano Suspension Bridge - Roads and Destinations
Visit the Capilano Suspension Bridge and enjoy its natural beauty

2. One of the Most Spectacular Footbridges in the World

Suspended 230 feet (70 meters) above the Capilano River, the 450 feet-long (137 meters) bridge is one of the most spectacular constructions in the world. The wire cable structure is impressive on its own.

But quite often, the opulent surroundings of Capilano Suspension Bridge Park steals the show. The tallest trees you’ve probably ever seen become trademark of the region. These awe-inspiring giants of the West Coast rainforest pared with the meandering river and a deep canyon below make the Capilano Suspension Bridge one of the most beautiful places in North Vancouver.

Toptrees Adventure, Vancouver - Roads and Destinations
Treetops Adventure | Reasons to visit the Capilano Suspension Bridge

3. Treetops Adventure

There is no better way to explore the rainforest than immersing yourself in it. Becoming if not a part of it, then at least an insider seems like an ideal option. The Treetops Adventure, one of the most popular attractions in Capilano Suspension Bridge Park, solves this problem.

This once-in-a-lifetime experience is truly unforgettable. Not every day you can see the forest from a squirrel’s eye view. And definitely not from the elevation high enough that you can barely see the ground or the sky, hidden by the tops of the colossal trees.

So what exactly is the Treetops Adventure? The first of its kind in North America, the Treetops Adventure in Capilano Suspension Bridge Park looks like an orderly net of seven short suspension bridges attached to Douglas firs. To avoid any harm to nature, nails and spikes were replaces by steel support collars during the construction of the bridges.

In contrast to the Capilano Suspension Bridge, the Treetops Adventure’s bridges are narrower. Only one person can walk across the hanging structure at a time.

Cliffwalk, Vancouver - Roads and Destinations
Cliffwalk in Capilano Suspension Bridge Park

4. Cliffwalk – a Must-Visit Attraction in Capilano Suspension Bridge Park

All adventure seekers and height enthusiasts must check out the Cliffwalk of Capilano Suspension Bridge Park. The newest attraction in the park, this masterpiece of modern technology deserves enormous respect and admiration.

Just like the world-famous Skywalk enhances your Grand Canyon experiencethis narrow suspended walkway further establishes the Capilano Suspension Bridge’s reputation as a must-visit destination in the city.

The highest point of the Cliffwalk reaches as far as 300 feet (90 meters) above the Capilano River. Thanks to steel beams supported from 16 anchor points in the rock face, the popular attraction doesn’t swing. Nevertheless, the 700-feet-long (213 meters) structure still satisfies all its height-loving visitors, offering them panoramic views of the rainforest around it and the canyon below.

Totem Park, Vancouver - Roads and Destinations
Totem Park in Capilano Suspension Bridge Park

5. Totem Park

Totem Park is yet another reason to visit Capilano Suspension Bridge Park. The intricate carved monuments make you wonder about people who occupied the Northwest Coast way before the Europeans got here.

Who were they, the First Nations tribes? Many aspects of their lives still remain a mystery. One thing is certain, though. The indigenous people didn’t lack creativity, talent, and great respect to nature.

As silent witnesses of the old times and the secrets of the aboriginals, the totem poles are eager to tell their stories now. What do you hear? Do they narrate about the area before the Capilano Suspension Bridge changed it forever?

Capilano Suspension Bridge - Roads and Destinations
Canyon Lights during the Christmas season | Main reasons to visit Capilano Suspension Bridge Park

6. Canyon Lights

During the Christmas season, hundreds of thousands of lights illuminating the Capilano Suspension Bridge and its surroundings.

Every day (except Christmas Day) from November 20 to January 24 between 4:00pm and 9:00pm (the dates vary yearly), the canyon transforms into a winter light wonderland. The festive bridge, the Treetops Adventure, the Cliffwalk, and the rainforest amaze with the brightest colors and high expectations of something magical than can happen at any moment.

Every year, eight 250-year-old Douglas firs with the attached Treetops Adventure’s viewing platforms become rare phenomena. Thanks to the bright lights above and below the bridges, these plants earn the fame of the tallest Christmas trees in the world.

7. The Trading Post

Almost as old as the Capilano Suspension Bridge, the Trading Post is a gift store with more than 20,000 Canadian souvenirs. The place is a bit expensive, but detailed clothing, jewelry, accessories, collection of First Nations art, and many other items it offers are perfect gifts that will remind you of your visit to the Capilano Suspension Bridge for years to come.

Small Suspension Bridges, Vancouver - Roads and Destinations
Small suspension bridges in Capilano Suspension Bridge Park

8. Free Guided Tours

History or nature? Both of these topics are discussed at the Capilano Suspension Bridge. Complimentary mini guided tours are offered hourly. Make sure to join them. Neither of these tours will take too much of your time but enhance your overall experience tenfold.

Visit Capilano Suspension Bridge: The Choice is Yours

The Capilano Suspension Bridge was what drove us to this part of Vancouver in the first place. By the end of the trip, however, we had many more reasons to return to the park and enjoy its sites once again. We hope you got inspired as well and explore the area next time you are in Vancouver.

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