If you find yourself in Vancouver B.C., chances are, you’ll wind up checking out the famous Capilano Suspension Bridge Park. To be frank, this is a tourist attraction (which I tend to shun). However, this was interesting enough to draw us in, and the resulting verdict was that it was worth the visit.
This park boasts a 300-foot-high Cliffwalk, a Treetops Adventure consisting of seven bridges connecting tree-friendly platforms, and the famed Suspension Bridge that spans 460 feet across and 230 feet above the Capilano River. This is not for those afraid of heights – perfect for someone like me who loves high places much like a cat.
I was particularly disappointed that the park didn’t open until 9am. As a photographer, I lamented the late morning lighting by this time, not to mention increased tourists.
Fortunately, we were second in line, so as soon as the gates opened, we made a beeline right for the main attraction. With only one other person ahead of us, we managed a few people-free snapshots on the bridge, something impossible later on. The view was incredible.. I only wish the contrast wasn’t so drastic; resulting pictures were kind of pitiful.
Across the bridge, we made our way into the Treetops Adventure, and this was certainly a highlight. Suspension bridges link innovative tree collar platforms that don’t drill into or otherwise harm the tree. We were the first up there, so I had no trouble getting some fun shots of the canopies sans tourists. Aaron wanted to get a bit of video, but by the time he looped back around, he was stuck behind a family group who insisted on getting full portraits at every platform. Lesson learned: get the shots you want before the people get there!
After the Treetops, we meandered along the boardwalks on the forest floor, more evidence of safely funneling visitors through the site without damaging the land around. These were well laid out, and being in the forest was so refreshing and peaceful. We passed the area where a giant tree had fallen some years ago, and we played around with a few more photos before making our way back to the bridge to hit the Cliffwalk on the other side.
Wow, what a difference! A mere hour or so later, the bridge was simply packed. I’m very glad we were in when we were, as I never would have managed the same pictures with so many people on the bridge (not to mention a significant increase in bridge bounce).
The Cliffwalk was really fun. I enjoy high places (as long as I have no fear of actually falling to my death), and it wasn’t yet too crowded as to make it unpleasant. A glass overlook branches off of the main path, and it was a bit creepy to see nothing below my feet. Acrophobiacs should steer clear.
Up one final set of narrow steps, and we were on our way back to the main entrance. We were still out before 11am, and we noted the line outside had grown tremendously.
The timing worked well. Though I would have preferred to get in earlier, we were still ahead of most of the crowd. Overall, it’s probably difficult to avoid throngs of people on any day, especially a Saturday like we hit. It was an interesting tourist attraction to see once, but I’m not sure I would return anytime soon. Check it out if you enjoy wandering amongst trees and like high vantages, and be sure to tell me about your own experiences!