My second full day in Canada I did a Landsea Tours day trip – the Peak and Canyon tour – to Capilano Suspension Bridge and Grouse Mountain. I soon discovered that the difference in temperature between sea level and up a mountain can be significant! A beautiful but chilly day on the mountain. (‘Chilly’ may be underselling it – it was FREEZING! When those winds get up – brrrr!)
Canyon: Capilano Suspension Bridge
Our first stop was Capilano Suspension Bridge, the longest suspension bridge in the world. I can tell you with complete honesty that it felt like it too! Let’s just say that this stop is not for those with a fear of heights. Or swing bridges. With the amount of people on it, it had a tendency to feel like a bouncy castle masquerading as a bridge… 😅
Thankfully, I don’t have a problem with heights. Or bouncy castles. 😁 The trip across the canyon was well worth it – the rainforest of the area is stunning and I saw my first squirrel! Two actually. And damn, they are FAST.
The walk through the rainforest, via a series of connected walkways, is really quite spectacular. The views down to the canyon floor and Capilano River are breathtaking. I lost count of how many photos I took. There are also a variety of additional activities and spots of interest, such as Cliffwalk and Raptors Ridge which showcases some of the birds of prey in the rainforest.
Peak: Grouse Mountain
We continued on to Grouse Mountain and took the Skyride, a gondola that ferries visitors further up the mountain. The views from the Skyride were incredible but they only got better the closer to the top we got!
The winds REALLY kicked up once we arrived at the top of the Skyride (close to Grouse Mountain’s peak). I (thankfully) had my puffer jacket but it still felt like the wind was slicing through the material. My poor Australian blood wasn’t quite used to that amount of cold! 🥶
(Reader, if only I’d known what I was in for a few short days later. Oh how naive I was… 😅)
Anyway it was cold but it was kind of… bracing? Invigorating? Or it could be that we felt the need to keep moving and get the blood pumping to stay warm?
There’s a bear in there… two actually
Braving the cold, we headed over to the Endangered Wildlife Refuge, home to Coola and Grinder, the grizzly bears. The bears, orphaned about 18 years ago, were raised together as brothers. Coola is a coastal grizzly and named for Coola Beach, near where he was found. Grinder is a mountain grizzly. The difference between coastal and grizzly bears is evident in their appearance (colour of fur) and size.
Note: When I recently posted the above photo of Grinder on Instagram, one of the Landsea team responded with the following interesting info about his appearance:
Fun little fact… Grinder is from Chase, BC which is a drier region of the province. He has those blonde highlights to naturally camouflage within his environment. 🐻💙Instagram: response from @landseatours
First impression of the grizzlies (the first I’d ever seen) – holy F**K they are HUGE!! What was kind of funny was that we saw Grinder first, and he’s the smaller of the two! My actual comment to our guide was something along the lines of “Are you SERIOUS?! There’s another one BIGGER than this one?!” 😂 Coola comes in at a whopping 900-or-so pounds.
They are really beautiful to watch though. The guides mentioned the bears get on well… unless Grinder tries to nick Coola’s food! 😬 And you can get quite close to them (even though there are two electric fences between them and you)! I’m very grateful they were saved at such a young age (about a month old or so) and raised in a caring environment.
After spending some time with the grizzlies, I took another (open!) chair ride further up the mountain closer to the peak – the views were INSANE!! I was lucky to have beautiful conditions so I could see for miles. I have no idea how far… it could have been all the way to the US border, for all I know. 😜
Finishing the tour
These two spots – Capilano Bridge and Grouse Mountain – are absolutely must visit spots if you’re in Vancouver. It’s quite incredible firstly seeing the stunning coastal rainforest within spitting distance from the city and then the mountain is right behind it!
Have you ever visited the bridge or been up the mountain?