How to Get the Best Photos at Capilano Suspension Bridge – Photo Tips and Other Information
Capilano Suspension Bridge is one of the most popular places to visit in Vancouver. This blog will how you how to take the best photos at Capilano Suspension Bridge as well as other visitor information.
The first time I visited Vancouver was when I graduated from college (it was a long time ago) and I only remembered visiting 2 places, Capilano Suspension Bridge and Stanley Park. Even during that blurry short visit, I can still remember that I really liked Capilano Suspension Bridge and I wanted to go back one day and take better photos there.
Fast forward many many years, I finally had the opportunity to visit Capilano Suspension Bridge again when I visited Vancouver for a friend’s wedding. It was just as beautiful as I remembered and I was able to get really good photos at Capilano and visited the other attractions in the park that I did not even know about last time.
Everyone wants good photos at Capilano Suspension Bridge and have fun at the park, so in this guide I will tell you how to get the best photos at Capilano Suspension Bridge (and avoid people) plus all the other useful information for your visit.
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History of Capilano Suspension Bridge
Capilano Suspension Bridge is one of the most famous bridge in Vancouver, attracting over one million visitors every year. As the name implies, Capilano is a suspension bridge crossing the Capilano River in North Vancouver. The bridge itself is about 140m (460ft) long and 230ft (70m) above the Capilano River.
Capilano Suspension Bridge was originally built in 1889 by George Grant Mackay, a Scottish civil engineer who had built a cabin on the canyon wall the year before. He originally made the suspension bridge from hemp rope and cedar planks and it became a popular adventurous destination for his friends.
After George’s death, the hemp rope bridge was replaced by a wire cable bridge in 1903. After various marriages in the family and change of ownership, eventually in 1983, Nancy Stibbard purchased Capilano Suspension Bridge and successfully grew it to an internationally renowned destination in Vancouver.
Capilano Suspension Bridge Opening Hours
Capilano Suspension Bridge Park is open everyday of the year except Christmas day.
The opening hours and closing hours differ by season:
During the peak summer season (May 1 to early September), Capilano Suspension Bridge Park is open from 9am to 7pm.
In the fall from early September to mid October, the park is open from 9am to 6pm.
In the early winter season from mid October to mid November, the park is open from 9am to 5pm.
During the winter “Canyon Lights” time from mid November to late January, the park is open from 11am to 9pm (so you have more time to enjoy the lights).
How to Get To Capilano Suspension Bridge From Vancouver
It is very easy to get to Capilano Suspension Bridge from Vancouver. I will highlight the various different ways here.
If you have a car in Vancouver, the easiest way to get to Capilano Suspension Bridge is to drive yourself. It takes about 15 minutes by car from downtown Vancouver.
By Free Shuttle
There are free shuttle services from 3 locations in downtown Vancouver to Capilano Suspension Bridge Park. The 3 locations to get on the free shuttle include Canada Place, Hyatt Regency Hotel, and Blue Horizon Hotel.
Canada Place: The shuttle will pick you up on Canada Place Way near the info kiosk. As you are walking there you may already see the Capilano shuttles on the street. If you are not sure, just ask info kiosk or any tour guide and they will tell you.
Hyatt Regency Hotel: the pick up location is on the Melville Street entrance.
Blue Horizon Hotel: the pick up location is outside the front of the hotel on Robson Street.
You do not need to have a valid ticket in order to ride the free shuttle (they do not check when you enter the bus). It is probably because they know that you will ultimately need a ticket to get inside the park and you can purchase tickets at the counter outside of the park.
One thing I want to emphasize is always arrive early for the shuttle pick up because these shuttles will not wait for you, not even a minute. When we took the shuttle they literally leave right on the dot. We saw families running towards the shuttle and barely made it. If you are late, you will have to wait for the next shuttle. Masks are not required on the shuttle.
By Public Transit
You can also take public bus from Downtown Vancouver to Capilano Suspension Bridge Park. The 3 buses that go there include #236, #232, and #246. Use Google Map to navigate if you decide to take public transit.
Do I need to buy tickets to Capilano Suspension Bridge ahead of time
Photo tips on how to take the best pictures at Capilano Suspension Bridge
Capilano Suspension Bridge is very very popular. Everyone wants amazing photos on it, so it can be hard to take good photos at the suspension bridge. So, how to take good photos at Capilano Suspension Bridge when there are so many people?
No one can guarantee that you will get the bridge all to yourself, but there are a few photo tips at Capilano Suspension Bridge I can share that hopefully can help you get those instagram shots.
Pick the “right” time to visit
Timing is everything when it comes to Capilano. If you visiting during a sunny day at 1pm in the afternoon, you will be greeted with crowds and crowds of people trying to do the same thing you are!
In my opinion, the best time to visit Capilano Suspension Bridge is early morning right when they open at 9am or right before they close on a week day. Most people who visit during the day are visiting with family and kids, so they will most likely not be able to visit early morning. Also, people like to sleep in!
If you visit right when they open (by this I mean you take the first free shuttle bus, not the second, not the third, FIRST!) you will be one of the first ones in line. We took the first free shuttle bus at 8:30am from Canada Place. We got to Capilano around 8:55am and we were waiting in line for them to open at 9am.
Even though you won’t be the only one arriving before 9am, you at least have a 20-30 minute window before the next shuttle bus arrive. So you have some time to take the photos on the Capilano Suspension Bridge.
Closing time is great too because most people would’ve left by then to go back to the city for dinner. Also, it is no brainer that weekends will be more busy than weekday (think 9am Tuesday morning) when it comes to touristy attractions.
Another great time to visit Capilano Suspension Bridge for photos is actually during rainy/snowy days. If people had a choice, they would prefer to visit Capilano Suspension Bridge on sunny days. But rainy/snowy days are great because you get better lighting (bright sunlight is bad for photos), you get to use props (more on that later), and the park is quieter.
Even when you pick the “right” time to visit Capilano Suspension Bridge, you can still run into people. Sometimes you just need to be patient and wait for people to pass then you might get a few minutes where the bridge is empty and you have it all to yourself.
Wear bright colored clothes
Sometimes the biggest difference between a great photo and a meh photo is the outfit you wear.
Since Capilano Suspension Bridge is in a forest, the background of your photos will be green/ dark green/ brownish (depends on what time of the year you visit). Therefore if you wear dark colored clothing, you will end up blending into the background.
You want your photos to pop! If you look at Instagram influencers, they wear a lot of bright yellow, red, and white when they are in a forest setting. If you want your photos to pop at Capilano Suspension Bridge, consider wearing these bright colors.
Take advantage of props
I mentioned above that visiting on a rainy or snowy day can help avoid huge crowds. Another benefit of visiting during rainy day is that you can use umbrella as a prop.
The goal is to have your photos “pop”, so consider bringing a light colored umbrella (or clear ones – those are cute) or have a cute backpack if you decide to take photos from behind. These simple “props” will help make your photos look unique and stand out.
Visit During Canyon Lights
A great time to visit Capilano Suspension Bridge is in the winter during “Canyon Lights”. This is when they have fairy lights on the bridge and on the trees, making Capilano Suspension Bridge super magical.
Try to visit around sunset time so you can get photos of both with daylight and with fairy light after dark.
Try Different Angles
One thing I learned over the years is that creativity is essential to take good photos. Most people take photos on Capilano Suspension Bridge straight on (front facing, standing still) but there are actually a lot of different ways to take the photo.
I have seen photos where the photographer is not even standing on the bridge to take the pictures. In addition, try to take photos from different spots on the bridge (front of the bridge vs. middle of the bridge, you being closer to the camera vs. further away from the camera) to see what look the best.
Be creative, experiment, try different angles and poses, do something fun and unique!
Take photos at other attractions besides the bridge
Capilano Suspension Bridge Park is more than just the suspension bridge (more on that so keep reading!). There are many other photo spots at the Capilano Suspension Bridge Park that also have amazing photo opportunities. Spend some time exploring other parts of the park which are much less crowded.
Sharpen your Photoshop skill
If all else fails, Photoshop! Sometimes you just get unlucky and have that one person in bright colored clothes that won’t move! Many Instagrammers do this but not everyone will admit it, sometimes you just gotta Photoshop (or just keep the person in the photos, what’s the big deal?).
There are apps out there besides Photoshop that can help you “erase” unwanted objects from your photos. If you tried everything but still ends up with someone in your photo that you don’t want, leverage technology.
Attractions and best photo spots at Capilano Suspension Bridge Park
Capilano Suspension Bridge is the main attraction at the park and it is the most popular attraction. But there are actually a lot more to the park than just the bridge. All these other attractions also offer great photo opportunities!
Cliffwalk is the newest attraction at Capilano Suspension Bridge. It is actually located BEFORE you reach the suspension bridge and many people miss this activity.
Cliffwalk is a suspended walkway on the side of a granite cliff above Capilano River in the middle of a forest. Usually it is not super crowded since a lot of people don’t know about it.
Since the Cliffwalk is pretty narrow, you are technically not supposed to take photos except at designated photo spots.
Treetops Adventure is the most romantic and fun activity at Capilano Suspension Bridge Park in my opinion. It is a series of seven small suspension bridges built high up in the trees, giving you the birds eye view of the rainforest.
During “Canyon Lights” in the winter, these trees and walkways are also lit up, making it extra magical and beautiful.
Using innovative engineering techniques, no trees are harmed by these platformed suspension bridges.
Nature’s Edge Boardwalk
Nature’s Edge Boardwalk is a family friendly boardwalk through the dense rainforest at the park. During non-covid times, there used to be “Nature Talks” where guests can learn about the history of the land and about the flora and fauna found in the forest ecosystem.
Tthere currently is no “Nature Talks” but you can still walk the boardwalk and explore the forest yourself. It is a very relaxing walk and not a lot of people, making it the perfect photo spot.
First Nations Totem Poles
Situated upon the traditional territory of the indigenous First Nations, Capilano Suspension Bridge Park seeks to celebrate their traditions and capture their history.
The Native Themes were added after 1930s when the Park placed totems (story) poles. These totem poles are beautiful monumental masterpieces that give visitors a glimpse into the stories and lives of the indigenous people. Each of the totem poles tell a different story and you can learn more about them when you visit.
Other things to know before you visit Capilano Suspension Bridge Park
Capilano Suspension Bridge is fun and easy to visit. But there are some things you should know before you visit to avoid disappointment.
Drone & Selfie Stick
Drones and selfie sticks are not allowed at Capilano Suspension Bridge Park. The website does not specifically mention about tripods. But know that you will not be able to use a tripod on the bridge itself
Strollers & Wheelchair
Unfortunately Capilano Suspension Bridge Park is not stroller or wheelchair friendly. There are a lot of stairs at every attraction (except perhaps the Nature Walk).
The bridge is shaky
The suspension bridge moves more than you would expect. When there are a lot of people on the bridge it is actually quite hard to take good photos because the bridge is constantly moving. But despite all the movements, the bridge is safe even when it’s full with people on it.
You need 2-3 hours
Most people finish visiting Capilano Suspension Bridge Park between 2-3 hours, this includes taking photos and videos. If you just want to experience all the attractions and are not taking a ton of photos, then you can finish visiting sooner. [no_toc]
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