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Lynn Canyon totally kicked my butt. I imagined the whole adventure to be a leisurely walk through the woods, crossing a suspension bridge and then eating lunch by the water.
No! It was a full on leg workout. What you don’t expect are the hundreds of stairs to get you up and down the canyon. I don’t know what I was thinking. Of course you need to go up and down, it’s a canyon afterall! I need to get my realities in check.
If you’re looking for a leg workout that rivals the Grouse Grind (maybe a slight exaggeration – I haven’t been on the grind for years), all you need to do is go up and down the canyon a couple of times and you’re set. Here I was thinking that I would be okay for a little hiking, afterall I’ve been keeping up on my exercise and playing ultimate frisbee every week. Nope. Lynn Canyon kicked my butt. I was huffing and puffing every single time I needed to climb stairs. And there sure were a lot of them!
We got there shortly before noon on a sunny, warm Sunday afternoon and there were so many people already! I honestly didn’t think that many people would be there. Boy was I wrong. The parking lot is tricky. You think it’s relatively small, but if you go down the wrong route, you end up driving around the whole park. The majority of the parking spaces available are right at the beginning and it’s tempting to skip them. We ended up driving through the whole park and couldn’t find parking until really far down where it was a 2.5 km hike back up to get to the suspension bridge and the main part of the park. We ended up parking in the neighbourhood and walking down. Less than ideal.
Lynn Canyon sits on 617 acres of forest with most of the trees aged approximately 80 to 100 years old. The park was teeming with people making their way across and around the park. The actual suspension bridge isn’t that far from the parking lot which took me by surprise. You go down one set of stairs and then suddenly the whole canyon is below you and a stretch of bridge in front of you. The suspension bridge, built in 1912, is 50 meters above the canyon, but seemed much higher when crossing it.
The bridge itself is relatively short. Thank goodness for that! It wasn’t until I was halfway through the bridge that I remembered my fear of heights and it took everything in me to keep going. The uneven swaying of the bridge beneath my feet as the bridge rocked from side to side from the weight and rhythm of people crossing the bridge was unnerving. The girl behind me (who I didn’t know), really didn’t like it and kept on pushing me onwards.
The bridge isn’t very wide either. Passing people was pretty difficult and it’s hard to stop in the middle. I managed to snap this photo of the boy and my brother in the middle of the bridge as the people behind me tried to get past. Not a very enjoyable experience. I wanted to stay in the middle for a bit – even with the fears!
There are very few signs in the park and the paths are not very well marked. Probably a result of time as more and more people started going off the originally path, making their own route to where they want to go regardless of what stood in their way.
I can see it being relatively easy to get lost within the park. Without maps and very little signage, you could be going the wrong way for a long while before you even realize it. We were asked for directions a couple of times and I overheard plenty of people wondering how to get back to the bridge and the parking lot. We had taken a photo of the one map at the very beginning of the trail and used that as a reference which I would recommend. We were able to make our way to the different points of interest relatively easily.
The trees provide a nice canopy from the sun making the hike through the trees relatively enjoyable in terms of temperature. You can see growth in every direction, and even some trees growing on top of old ones. Very cool.
We watched some swimmers and daredevils jumping into the 30 Foot Pool. The water was so clear you could see all of the rocks beneath the water. The sun glimmered off the top, making everything sparkle and the reflection of the trees and sky off the water gave it a bluish-green tinge. It wasn’t a warm day (even by Vancouver standards) so I don’t know how people were freely swimming around in the cold water.
On one end of the pool, there is a very deep drop (fittingly, 30 feet deep) and many daredevils were climbing up the nearby rocks and jumping into the water. Lynn Canyon’s own version of cliff jumping. You couldn’t pay me to do it. Not here. The area to jump into was very narrow with sharp cliffs on either side and 30 feet just doesn’t seem that deep. Plus there’s the whole heights factor to take into account. We stood and watched awhile as person after person jumped into the water from various rocks in the area.
We made our way to the Twin Falls located on the opposite end of the park. We had to make our way up before heading down again (aka lots of stairs!). The bridge that you view the falls from lies directly above it making it difficult to really appreciate the grandeur and full height of the falls.
You can go further into the canyon, but there are no explicit paths. There are lots of quieter spots to go for a swim in as well. We saw quite a number of people who ventured down, but definitely not as many as in the 30 Foot Pool.
Regardless of which side you decide to leave the Falls from, you have a lot of stairs to get up. Good luck is all I have to say.
Lynn Canyon is a good day trip just outside of Vancouver and it is not as commercialized as the Capilano Suspension Bridge. I would recommend going early especially for parking purposes and to beat the crowds in finding the perfect picnic spot. When we were leaving, the street we had parked on was completely full. The park will be busy, but if you take some of the lesser known routes, you’ll feel like you’re in a world of your own. Oh! And be prepared for stairs and lots of them!
Lynn Canyon Park
3993 Peters Road, North Vancouver
June to September: 10 am to 5 pm
October to May: 12pm to 4 pm