Like many folks who grew up in Metro Vancouver, I’ve visited the dam and hatchery in Capilano River Regional Park more times than I can count. Nevertheless, until recently, I had never properly explored the trails of this park in North Vancouver.
From the Cleveland Dam, we embarked on an easy, two-hour circuit that covered seven kilometres and involved an elevation gain of 120 metres. First, we hiked south on the Upper Shinglebolt Trail and Capilano Pacific Trail to a viewpoint on the west side of Capilano Canyon. (The Capilano Pacific, part of the National Hiking Trail, runs all the way to Ambleside Park.)
Backtracking, we crossed the river on Pipeline Bridge, and strolled the Pipeline Trail, Chinook Trail, and Coho Loop to the viewpoint at Cable Pool, where we observed a couple of fishers. After recrossing the river, we made our way to the Second Canyon viewpoint, which offers visitors a dramatic look up the gorge to the dam.
Old-growth Douglas-fir trees awaited us on the Giant Fir Trail. After we crossed the Cleveland Dam to conclude our hike, we spotted a bald eagle. The snow looked magnificent on the twin peaks of Ch’ich’iyuy Elxwikn (the Sisters, also known as the Lions).
Capilano River Regional Park — not to be confused with the adjacent and privately owned Capilano Suspension Bridge Park — lies in the territories of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh First Nations. TransLink buses 232 and 236 both stop near the Cleveland Dam on their way to and from Grouse Mountain.