Capilano Suspension Bridge, Vancouver
While new visitors to Vancouver usually enjoy Capilano, as a local, I feel it's the epitome of a tourist trap.
Now, I have received e-mails from people defending Capilano, saying that I'm too hard, that I don't know what I'm talking about... that it's a wonderful attraction for friends and family, and that it has the largest giftshop that specializes in western native art, and that there are even mascots that walk around the park which are a big hit with kids, etc.
But to me, I think these little extras in a park is what makes it very touristy. These things are not aimed at the locals, but moreso for tourists. And while mascots might be fun for children, if you are seriously interested in crossing a suspension bridge, and if you are not interested in having gift shops, restaurants and mascots in the park, and masses of tourists... wouldn't you like to be warned about this ahead of time?
This is why I call the Capilano Suspension Bridge a tourist trap. After all, there are two suspension bridges in Vancouver - Capilano has the mascots, the gift shops, the hordes of tourists, the restaurants, and the hefty park entrance fee. ($20+? Sheesh!)
Unique Suggestions: If you must go to Capilano, at least take a roll of pictures because, well, it is kind of pretty and scenic. But it is touristy. Some people don't mind. It's perfect and ideal for families, but if you're a backpacker and you don't want a Disney-fied experience... leave this place alone. Tour buses stop off at Capilano daily. Expect crowds.
Fun Alternatives: ...Tourism Vancouver has conveniently forgotten to mention that only a 10 minute drive east down Hwy 1 from Capilano Suspension Bridge is the majestic Lynn Canyon Provincial Park - home to a FREE (that's right, it costs NO money!) Lynn Canyon Suspension Bridge... with NO cheesy tourist trap gift shops, totem poles and restaurants on the premise. In fact, Lynn Canyon is huge - you can cross their suspension bridge that swings over Lynn Canyon - while it's not as long as Capilano's bridge, it's much higher! Once you cross the bridge, you're at the beginning of a huge wilderness park in the mountains. You have dozens of trails to explore... some that lead you to lakes, others to waterfalls, and others to the canyon floor, where you can dip your feet into the aquamarine tidal pools.
So while Capilano may be fun, it's overcommercialized like Disneyland, it's purely a tourist destination, they overcharge you. Lynn Canyon, on the other end, is free, it has a larger park to explore... it's more spectacular in terms of its natural setting, and you get a fraction of the tourists. Most likely, you'll be surrounded with locals at Lynn Canyon. This cannot be said for Capilano. Sorry Capilano, but you're a Tourist Trap, with a capital T!
Although the bridge is not really a tourist trap, it can be very overcrowded during the high season plus if you are on a budget, its $32 (2012 rate) (less 10% for us oldtimers) entrance fee for the bridge and park is a bit steep.
Unique Suggestions: An alternative is to go to the Lynn Valley suspension bridge which is some 160 feet above Lynn creek and is totally free of charge. It is only about a 25min drive from Capilano along Highway 1 and turning off onto Lynn Valley Road. After crossing Mountain Hwy you will find Peters Road on you RH side which takes you to the Ecological centre and the bridge
Fun Alternatives: If you are in for a serious hike in the forest, turn right back onto Lynn Valley road and follow it right into the park. from here you have numberous well marked trails many of which can take several hours to complete but are in the most picturesque areas, many of which are alongside of the river, there are a number of well marked trails all along Lynn Valley and Canyon.
(If nothing else it will do you good and its FREE as is parking)
Although capilano suspension bridge is a very neat place to visit. There is a suspension bridge about 10 km away called Lynn Canyon suspension bridge. Lynn canyon is free to visit unlike capilano and if you ask me it is much better, Capilano is not as rickety and doesnt swing as much as lynn canyon and it is not as high or long either. The reason everyone goes to capilano is because it costs money so they can advertise more than lynn canyon,
Take it from me lyyn canyon is much better. and free
Fun Alternatives: Lynn canyon
This is an update to a review I wrote earlier, as a few things have changed.
I visited Capilano, twice, once in 2003, when there was just a bridge, and again in 2007, when they added the tree top adventure.
The ticket lady saw our American IDs, and immediately charged us more. When we told her, that this is discrimination, she said nervously, "No, we don't do that." But that’s EXACTLY, what they do, and she knew it. If it didn’t take us so long to drive out there, we would’ve just walked away.
I wanted to return on my most recent trip, to visit the new additions, but I looked on their website, and they charge $33 per person, probably 40, if you are an American. And apparently, there is a $5 parking fee now. Even my friends and family who live there, found the fee to be absolutely ridiculous. Seriously! For $25, I can get a week long pass, for the Grand Canyon. This park should cost no more than $10. $33 is just robbery! I am extremely disappointed. I really wanted to visit the park again, but $33 is just theft. They’re not getting one over on me, this time. They can get their money from someone else. It won’t be from me.
10 years ago, this was one of my favorite spots in Vancouver, but now sadly, it has become an overpriced tourist trap. The staff just wants to rip as much money off you, as possible. I liked it better when there was just a bridge here.
Honestly, if it wasn't for the high price, and the discrimination, I wouldn‘t be complaining about this place, because the park itself is great, but what they do to people, is just wrong! At least they have updated their website, to state specifically that BC citizens will be charged 15% less, to visit the park, and 10% less for souvenirs, and food and drinks. They will also get a complimentary annual pass. Guess they changed it to discriminate against anyone who isn't from British Columbia. Next it will be Vancouver. These people are sick!
Unless you're loaded with cash, don't pay these thieves a penny!
I posted a similar review on Trip Advisor, but it was removed, as the park employees hate being called out on this. But the truth is the truth. At least I can warn travelers about this place on VT.
Unique Suggestions: Bring a fat wallet. Or get Canadian residency, move to Vancouver, and get a 15% discount.
Fun Alternatives: Visit the Lynn Canyon Bridge instead. It's not as spectacular or as large as Capilano, but it's far less touristy, AND it's FREE!
I've been to the Cap Suspension bridge, friends that worked there let us in for free. I'm very glad I didn't pay, because it a total let-down. The bridge, then what looks like miles of nature trails are acutally about 50 yards of enclosed chain-link fence.
Fun Alternatives: Instead, I'd far recommend going nearby to the Lynn Canyon park (also in N. Van). This is a gov't kept, free park, with a breathtaking suspension bridge, and nature trails for all levels of fitness that you can walk for an hour or all day long - bring a picnic lunch!
$27 to walk over a bridge? Awful. It had to be done though. I found the stuff on other side of the bridge not worth the money at all. A few walks, maybe good for kids as there is a lot of displays and interactive things for kids to do!
Unique Suggestions: Make the bridge sway and here a tannoy announcement - "Do not sway the bridge!"
Fun Alternatives: Grouse Mountain everytime! Go see the 2 Grizzlies or some Wolves as you go up the cable car.
Catering to the tourists, the Capilano suspension bridge is now more of a tourist nightmare than a nice walk through the forest. It's high, it's sways, it's cool.
Unique Suggestions: The only part of the "park" that is a must see and do is the walk across the bridge.
Fun Alternatives: If you want to see the bridge there is no alternative! Grin and bear it.
Capilano bridge situated in North Vancouver near to the picturesque Grouse Mountain is a nice place to spend a few hours but overly expensive. I've heard of another nice valley nerby called Lynn Canyon. Perhaps check this out as only the bus fare would cost.
Unique Suggestions: walk the bridge and try the treetop walk, toursit shop is pretty good.
Fun Alternatives: Lynn Canyon, Mount Seymour or Cypress Mountain. Grouse Mountain is a must.
Capislano Suspension bridge. Yes it is on all the tourist sites, but it is a rip off, it cost a fortune to cross the bridge when you can see the same thing on the Lion gate bridge not far away.