Look at any list of the big tourist attractions in Vancouver, BC and Capilano Suspension Bridge Park will be on it. A cliff walk and something called Treetops Adventure have been added since Ruth and I first went there. TripAdvisor comments are mostly favorable, but a few more than usual reveal problems. For example, expect crowds. One reviewer called it a tourist trap and complained about the long lineup to cross the bridge. Another said, “Pretty but too many people.” Someone groused, “Loved the Park. Hated the parking.” A few also complained about the expense. A family of 4 will spend almost $100 for these experiences.
I have recently been talking travelers out of going there, and I’m happy to report that I have found a worthy substitute. Ruth & I discovered Lynn Canyon Park on our last visit to Vancouver. Its visitors tend to be local families who probably would rather I not tell you about their municipal park that has grown to more than 600 acres. Today the largest park in North Vancouver, Lynn Creek is just slightly east of Capilano and easy to get to via Lynn Valley Road. Best of all, it has an exciting-to-cross suspension bridge that we shared with just one other couple on a cloudy but rain free March morning before Ruth and I hiked a couple of trails through rainforest virtually alone. Shockingly, all was free!
If you’ve never been in a Northwest rainforest, Lynne Creek is a great place to have that experience. While in Lynn Canyon it’s hard to realize that you are a very short distance from city. The temperatures in Northwest forests remain moderate most of the year, but there’s lots of rain. Lynn Creek gets about 80 inches annually, mostly in slow drip form.
Lynn Creek is great even if you’re a rainforest veteran. This Park has been around since 1912 so the trees and terrain have had time to mellow. This is 2nd growth forest that looks primeval. In the 19th century Lynn Valley’s Douglas-firs and red cedars became lumber and many mossy stumps remain. Be warned. A lot of the trails are rather rugged as they go down to waterfalls and up steep stairways, but only 1 of the 7 exceeds 3 miles and some are fairly short like Twin Falls Bridge Loop, a .6 mile pleaser.
Lynn Creek also has a Nature Center that can be swarming with field trip students, a cafe, which we didn’t try, and only one set of toilets. But the star attraction is the fairly narrow metal span crossing Lynn Canyon with Lynn Creek 164 feet below. It’s not for those afraid of heights or slightly swaying suspension bridges.