Feeling Grateful for the Trails at Capilano River Regional Park, North Vancouver

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Capilano River Regional Park in North Vancouver, British Columbia is just a short drive from my house. I go there to run or walk at least once a week. Easily accessible trails weave along the Capilano River and through lush coastal rainforest. Giant red cedar trees and Douglas fir abound. Ferns and fungi thrive.  Eagles swoop through the steep-sided canyon and spawning salmon make their incredible journey up the raging river. Incredibly, this park is only 10 km (6 miles) from downtown Vancouver. As Mike and I were in the park, attempting to walk off several rounds of Thanksgiving dinner (Canadian), it occurred to me that I’ve never posted about this beautiful place that I feel very grateful to have in my backyard.

There was lots of activity in the park over Thanksgiving weekend, with walkers, runners, fisherfolk, and kayakers all enjoying the sunshine. Most of the photos were taken near the Capilano Fish Hatchery and along the Coho Loop (there’s a map at the end of the post).

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Capilano River Regional Park—C.Helbig

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Along Coho Loop, Capilano River Regional Park—C.Helbig

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Capilano River Regional Park—C.Helbig

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Easy strolling along Coho Loop Trail—C.Helbig

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Getting creative with fungi photography—C.Helbig

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Wonderful moss-covering —C.Helbig

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Lots of views through the trees—C.Helbig

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The ferns are glorious at Capilano River Regional Park—C.Helbig

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Capilano River near fish hatchery—C.Helbig

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Cleveland Dam reservoir—C.Helbig

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One of many beautiful western red cedar at Capilano River Regional Park—C.Helbig

The park is a locals’ favourite and also a great place for visitors to see a really lovely Pacific Northwest rainforest without much effort. The trails range from flat strolls (I took my 83-year old, cane-carrying mother on the Second Canyon Viewpoint Trail) to long, undulating trails with a few rough sections that are perfect for easy-going hikes or trail runs.

With limited time, it’s best to park at the fish hatchery and do the Coho Loop Trail (1.1 km), which offers some of the most breathtaking scenery in the park. Take a short side-trip to the Second Canyon Viewpoint for a dramatic look at the Cleveland Dam from below. The hatchery is well worth a visit—it’s free and open all year round. Depending on the season, it’s fascinating to watch the mature salmon make their way up the fish ladder.

With more time, include a short walk (uphill) to the Cleveland Dam to experience the thrill of looking down the spillway and to get nice views of  Grouse Mountain and the coastal range. There’s also parking at Cleveland Dam.

If you have even more time and want more exercise, get on the Capilano Pacific Trail. It runs 7.5 km (one way) from Ambleside Park in West Vancouver to Cleveland Dam (or vice versa). Although it’s fairly long, it’s not a difficult trail. A portion of it makes up my favourite trail run —I access the Capilano Pacific Trail off Rabbit Lane (#10 on map) and run up to the Cleveland Dam, crossing over and returning via the fish hatchery, Coho Loop, and Pipeline Bridge (a nice 50ish minute run). Confused? The good news is that there are maps posted throughout the park, plenty of helpful locals, and no matter where you end up, it’s all beautiful and all free.

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Capilano River Regional Park Map—www.metrovancouver.org

Categories: Activities, British Columbia, Canada, Hiking, Places | Tags: , , , | 9 Comments

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9 thoughts on “Feeling Grateful for the Trails at Capilano River Regional Park, North Vancouver

  1. Such a lush area to explore, you are lucky to have so close to where you live. I haven’t been to this area but we really enjoyed some of the hikes we had in the forest on Vancouver island. The size of some of the trees were just mind gobbling, how many years must they have been there to grow that large! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes…very lucky. Hope you get to visit some time. Vancouver Island is one of my all time favourite places. I never get tired of stopping at Cathedral Grove (in Central Vancouver Island near Port Alberni). The ancient and easily accessible forest of giant trees is incredible.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. petakaplan

    This post is such a breath of fresh air as I wake up to the humidity in the tropics of Viet Nam. The photos are absolutely stunning. I love the cedar tree, the moss, the ferns, and the fungi. Oh how very lucky you are to live so close to this reservoir of natural beauty and energy.

    I have made a note to myself that the next time we are in Vancouver (we have only been once and briefly but might have occasion to return) we will definitely be going for a trek to this spot. Heavenly.

    And… should you ever be interested in doing a home exchange with a house in Sri Lanka (currently in process) you got yourself a potential trade……

    Peta

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Peta, yes we’re very lucky to live where we do. The only downside of the rainforest is that it rains A LOT, especially at this time of the year. But, I still go walking in the forest and the wetness has its own charms (then I head into the sauna!).
      If you visit I can give you lots of info on beautiful nature spots. And…the house exchange is definitely something we’d consider (though I think I’d be getting the better deal on the bathtub…can’t wait to hear how the cement pipes work).
      Enjoy the tropics! Cheers, Caroline

      Liked by 1 person

  3. What a beautiful place you have so close to home! I have never been to Vancouver but it’s hard to imagine that so close to a major city!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ya, I know, it’s hard to believe. Vancouver is a city of 2+ million, but it takes very little time/effort to get to parks like this, and only slightly more effort to get into the true wilderness. I feel very blessed… but longing for your clear skies right now.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. What an incredibly beautiful place, the photo are stunning. I would love to go kayaking there.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Brian Foster

    Gorgeous territory.

    Liked by 1 person

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