Crossing Bridges

Canada #10 Capilano Suspension Bridge Park

We expected Capilano Suspension Bridge Park to be busy. It was peak holiday season and the weather was perfect, but our visit began very quietly. There were just a few passengers on the free shuttle bus and we didn’t have to queue at the ticket office. It wasn’t too busy at the Story Centre where we learned the history of the park and the famous bridge.

We soon found out where all the visitors were; the 137 metre suspension bridge spanning Capilano River Canyon was packed!

We had no concerns about our safety – the bridge is strong enough to hold 96 adult elephants. We weren’t keen though to join the slow shuffle of pedestrians making their way to the other side, so we decided to see the park from a different perspective.

Equally as thrilling and far less crowded, the Cliffwalk is a series of cantilevered walkways, bridges and stairs attached to the granite cliffs of the canyon.

We ventured down the spiral staircase and followed the narrow paths to wider platforms where nothing came between us and the river far below except clear glass floors.

On a circular bridge suspended 70 metres above the ground, we still weren’t as high as the treetops.

When the crowd on the suspension bridge had lessened we finally crossed over, going at our own pace and stopping every few steps to look down yet again into the canyon.

We spent more time looking down and up at the Treetops Adventure, where seven more bridges are suspended by adjustable non-invasive collars between eight Douglas firs. Even though at times we were 33 metres above the forest floor, we were dwarfed by the huge trees around us.

Back at ground level we followed the board walk past a leaf-littered lake, where the forest and the sky above were mirrored in the still water.

We were captivated by trees we’ve never seen before: the maples with their distinctive leaves and the firs, ornamented with miniature cones.

By late afternoon we were ready to leave and, after feeling pleased that we’d avoided the crowds for most of the day, reality returned – the last shuttle bus of the day was already full. We didn’t mind waiting for the city bus. We were happy to sit a while longer in this beautiful place.

59 thoughts on “Crossing Bridges

  1. I’ve heard of this wonderful place and never thought it might be worse than Times Square at rush hour! Being up on those walkways meandering amongst the ancient trees could be such an amazing experience – but for me an absolute nightmare to be squished in with hundreds of other tourists. You handled it with grace and good will I see, what a gal!!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Honestly I had a hard time just LOOKING at these photographs haha. I am not great with heights but even worse, I cannot be near a sheer drop…so that walkway suspended so high with views of the drop of either side, I started panicking just seeing the photos. I’m sure it was lovely, but definitely NOT for me.

    There are two magnificent climbs here in Sri Lanka, which I have had to avoid for the very same reason. Oh well…

    I am also not a fan of crowds… seeing all those people packed onto that suspension bridge made me sweat. It’s great that a place like this probably gets a lot of people into nature that would not normally go outside etc, but part of the point of nature for me, is to escape the crowds of people…. ahahaha.


    Liked by 1 person

    • We didn’t have to go far to get away from all the people, Peta. Most of them just crossed the bridge and went back again. A few steps further and we were on the board walk, where there were only a few people. I’m fine with heights as long as I know I’m safe so the Cliffwalk was easy to do. If there was no rail, I’d be nowhere near the edge.


    • There were two enormous cruise ships in Vancouver that day so we knew the people from them would have limited time. The Cliffwalk was busy but not crowded and, by the time we finished that, the suspension bridge was not nearly as packed. It’s one of the most visited places in Canada so we couldn’t expect to be the only ones there. πŸ™‚

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  3. Ooh! I want to go.

    When I read what you said about elephants and safety, I thought of how large numbers of soldiers marching together are told to break step crossing bridges, otherwise the rhythm of their feet can set up harmonics in the bridge structure and bring it down.

    I ‘knew’ this to be true, but I went to check before writing it here.

    There’s a description on a couple of site of how a bridge fell in the 1830s due to soldiers marching in step.

    The Millennium Bridge across the Thames in London was closed shortly after it opened because people crossing it were unconsciously getting in step with the sympathetic vibrations of their footsteps.

    The authorities claimed there was no risk, but they closed the bridge and installed dampers to minimise the vibration.

    What time of year were you there (peak holiday season)?

    Liked by 1 person

    • We were there at the start of July, so it was heading into summer and school holidays as well. There were two large cruise ships in Vancouver that day too, so many people would have come from there. The bonus in that is they don’t have a lot of time so they move through fairly quickly. Interesting information about bridges – I suspect there would be no chance of everyone walking in step on this bridge. Even with a few people on it, there was so much swaying and movement it was impossible to keep a regular walking pace. It was a lot of fun.

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  4. I would have wanted to avoid those initial crowds on the suspension bridge too! I love the cliffside walkways and the cantilevered bridge and the views from there. I’m glad the crowds thinned later on the bridge so you could experience that too. I love your close-up photos of the maple leaves and mini pine cones.

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  5. The stuff of nightmares for my OH which is why we avoided visiting this bridge. I would not have liked to go across with all those other people, and my knees would not have liked the alternative walk either, so I am happy to be able to watch you do it from my chair! We did visit Grouse Moutain though which was also very lovely and had a nice walk around up there without the crowds!

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    • I can understand that this bridge would be either great or very difficult for people. We loved it! There were lots of steps on all the walks so I’m glad you could see it all here, Jude. We went to Grouse Mountain too and I will write about that day soon.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. What care and planning must have gone into this area to make it so accessible and enjoyable to everyone. Wonderful. Like other commenters I would have had trouble on the suspension bridge ( even without crowds ) but I would have enjoyed everything else. The miniature pine cones are gorgeous.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Wow. A great engineering feat that allows you to experience nature in a different way. I wonder what the birds think of all the people buzzing about. Did you see many birds in this area? ( I am not familiar with these kids of forests).

    Liked by 1 person

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