Capilano River Regional Park
The Capilano River Regional Park is an easy, gorgeous hike located in North Vancouver.
The cool thing about doing this hike was knowing nothing about it beforehand.
My friend Stephen just asked: “Want to go on my favourite hike?”
Of course, I said: “Sure!”
I guess if you read this post, you won’t be as surprised, but I always believe that photos never do complete justice to the experience of being fully immersed in nature. So, go check it out!
There are two park entrances and a number of hiking trails at Capilano River Regional Park, many of which intersect.
Stephen likes taking Vancity visitors on this hike because it’s not too challenging, yet has a diversity of scenery to keep things interesting.
The trail takes you through coastal rainforest with towering cedars and Douglas firs, some of which have graced this park for centuries.
The path is well-groomed and includes some boardwalks and resting spots. It’s great for beginners, trail runners and dog-walkers alike.
But more experienced hikers will still appreciate the beauty of this park. And I loved hiking in the cool shade of the forest during a hot summer day.
The steep, chiseled canyon walls that rise up high along the riverside are a stunning feature of this hike.
According to an information sign, a glacial lake once covered this area 5,000 years ago. As they retreated, the glaciers — as well as streams — gradually carved out the canyons and valleys.
It’s seriously a scene from a movie!
(I didn’t get a great shot of the canyon walls, but that just leaves one more thing for you to discover on the trail. ;))
Along the way, you’ll, of course, come across views of the river. Because the Cleveland Dam was shut down for maintenance that day, some parts of the river were quite calm, whereas usually they would be rushing with rapids.
You may also come across a fisher(wo)man or two standing by the river, working for their catch of salmon.
The Capilano Salmon Hatchery is a unique stop on this hike. Inside the interpretive centre, you can learn about different types of salmon and their life cycle.
We spotted some black-coloured chums in the observation gallery. It’s pretty incredible to see them swimming in position against such strong currents (never mind that they can actually jump past rapids)!
Outside, tiny salmon fry swim about in large pools. The hatchery has helped boost salmon stocks that declined as a result of the Cleveland Dam’s construction.
I hadn’t heard of the Capilano River Regional Park before I got to Vancouver, but I’m so glad that Stephen introduced me to this gem of a hike.
I would definitely recommend this hike to anyone, whether you’re a novice or an expert. If you want more of a workout, you can simply walk more of the trails throughout the park, as we did.
What Else to Know About Capilano River Regional Park
Find out how you can get to Capilano River Regional Park by bus from downtown Vancouver here.
Learn more about which facilities and activities (e.g. fishing, overnight stays, etc.) are available at the park here.
Download the Capilano River Regional Park map here.
Note that the Capilano Suspension Bridge is not part of this hike, but is a short drive away from the park.