Capilano Pacific Trail
Location: North Vancouver
Time/Distance: 4 hours, 15 km
Elevation Gain: 236 metres
This is a year-round hike that I enjoy because friends and family members with all abilities can tag along, and we don’t feel pressured to keep a certain pace since it is relatively short, taking two hours each way. It can be done in any weather ─ the canopy of trees shelters from rain and offers shade in hot sun.
Capilano Pacific Trail follows the Capilano River along the border of North and West Vancouver to Cleveland Dam. We pass by beaches, rocky shoreline, canyon cliffs, raging river, and West Coast rainforest. The hike starts by going underneath the train bridge east of Ambleside Beach in West Vancouver, close to Park Royal Shopping Centre. It continues along a gravel trail meandering beside the Capilano River, passing beneath massive bridges and then over a wooden bridge that crosses Brothers Creek.
Here we get our bearings by looking at the Capilano Pacific Trail sign. We heed its directions to continue the route past the famous Capilano Suspension Bridge – a breathtaking sight – to an uphill trail passing over several wooden bridges with creeks raging far below. We also marvel at (but don’t have to traverse) the steep slopes of the Capilano Canyon. The route eventually emerges from the forest at Cleveland Dam, which offers lovely views of the dam, Grouse Mountain, and water reservoir.