Meeting Grandpa Capilano in Vancouver

Grandpa Capilano sounds like a character from The Sopranos — like a menacing patriarch you would not want to show any disrespect. Well, Grandpa Capilano does have an imposing presence and he does deserve your respect. But he’s not going to put a hit out on anyone anytime soon — he’s a Douglas Fir who’s at least 800 years old. His home is in Capilano River Regional Park, which just minutes outside Vancouver.


While Grandpa Capilano’s age is impressive, it’s really all about his size. He’s more than 200 feet tall (as you can see on the left) and 8 feet wide (as you can see above). Even in a temperate rain forest full of big, old trees, this one stands out.

Waterfall_capilano Of course, I didn’t venture to North Vancouver solely to see this one tree. In fact, I hadn’t even heard about Grandpa Capilano until my tour guide told us about him as we walked through the Capilano River Regional Park. I thought it was especially endearing that this this quirky nickname was made official with a sign right by the tree, reminding visitors not to get too close to the roots.

The tour I was on was through Princess Cruises — Vancouver was the final stop on my Alaska cruise. When I found out that they offer excursions even on the final port, I signed up for Capilano Canyon’s Natural Beauty. Since I would be spending the whole weekend in Vancouver, I figured I’d have enough time to see the city on my own but this would be my main chance to explore the area beyond it.

Lyn_canyon_suspensionThe tour started with a stop at Stanley Park, where I was delighted (and surprised) to see the totem poles. Our next stop was the suspension bridge at Lyn Canyon (pictured left) — ironically the Capilano Canyon is the more famous bridge. Lyn Canyon’s bridge was not that long, especially compared to the hanging bridges I walked on in Costa Rica. But it was very springy — you really wanted to hold on to the sides.

The final stop was Capilano River Regional Park, where we walked along the trails of the lush rain forest. The river is very pretty, and later in the summer (I was there at the end of June) it’s pink with salmon. There were hardly any in there at the time, but I still liked the dam and waterfall (pictured above).

At the end of our time, we went into the park’s salmon hatchery. Initially I was excited about the salmon hatchery, as I love salmon and was disappointed that I didn’t have time to go to the one in Ketchikan, where we had been a few days before. Well, I guess I just don’t like salmon as much as I thought i did because I was quite bored by the hatchery portion of the tour. Learning how people can help salmon spawn just doesn’t compete with walking around Vancouver’s rain forest, I suppose.

Comped but never compromised: I went on an Alaska Twitter Press Trip with Princess Cruises, but I’m free to write whatever I want.

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4 Responses to Meeting Grandpa Capilano in Vancouver

  1. Mike's Road Trip August 12, 2010 at 11:46 am #

    It’s been a long time since I’ve been to Vancouver, hope to make it there while up in the Pacific Northwest. I thought the Lyn Canyon Bridge WAS the longest of its kind…didn’t realize there was a longer one in Costa Rica. I recall when I went across it, it seemed pretty long, especially when people start the ripple from the other site. Those afraid of height may want to steer clear. :-)

  2. Mike's Road Trip August 12, 2010 at 11:51 am #

    I hope to make it to Vancouver while up here in the Pacific Northwest, it’s been a while since I’ve been there. Here I thought that Lyn Canyon Bridge WAS the longest in the world. Is the one in Costa Rica new…say in the past ten years or so? For those afraid of heights, may want to steer clear…it’s something else when someone on the other end creates the ripple. :-)

  3. Dina August 14, 2010 at 6:57 am #

    Sounds like an awesoome trip!
    I love checking out giant and old trees! So I hope I will visit Grandpa Capilano one day. In New Zealand, Ryan and I made a big detour special for visiting an ancient giant kauri forest, where the biggest and tallest and oldest kauri tree existed, Tane Mahuta and Te Matua Ngahere. My dream is to see General Sherman, the giant sequoia tree, one day.

  4. Carol @ trekdigest August 14, 2010 at 7:40 pm #

    Lovely pictures. We must go to Vancouver soon. Thanks for posting.

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