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Have you ever been to a place after seeing dozens of photos online only to find out those pictures don’t really match reality? Well, that’s not the case with Lynn Canyon in Vancouver!
Everywhere you look, Lynn Canyon resembles a postcard. It has one of the most beautiful suspension bridges I’ve ever seen and wandering through the forest here is a complete escape from the bustling feel of the city. You won’t believe it’s only 25 minutes from the center of Vancouver!
You will be able to appreciate the natural beauty of this park on every step of your hike, particularly on top of the amazing bridges that cross the canyon. It’s no wonder visiting Lynn Canyon is one of the best things to do in Vancouver!
The atmosphere of Lynn Canyon welcomes all. Families with children, couples, friends, and even lone hikers and nature enthusiasts. Every path is perfectly placed to not disrupt the views and to impact the ecosystem as little as possible.
As a Vancouver local, whenever my friends and family come to town, I take them to Lynn Canyon; it’s just such a fantastic place located not far from the city. Even if you’re only spending one day in Vancouver, it’s a place to add to your agenda.
Whether you choose to visit on a Vancouver city tour with a guide or by yourself, this unique park will find a way to connect and resonate with you. And you’ll leave wanting to go back.
To help plan your trip, I’ve put together 15 things you need to know before you visit Lynn Canyon!
1. About Lynn Canyon, Vancouver
Lynn Canyon has been open since 1912 and started as a small 12-acre municipal park. Now it’s over 600 acres, and more than a million people visit it every year. It’s one of the most popular spots to go for a hike in Vancouver!
The most famous attraction in the park is the Lynn Canyon Suspension Bridge which is one of the top reasons people visit the park. It’s part of the Baden Powell Trail, a well-known hiking trail that travels from Lynn Canyon all the way to Deep Cove. It’s just one of the many trails that attract visitors from all over the world.
Lynn Canyon is a wonderful alternative to the Capilano Suspension Bridge. One reason is that Lynn Canyon is free, while the Capilano Suspension Bridge is over $69 CAD.
One thing I love about the park is that it’s open all year round, with pretty safe trails and color-changing views after every season. In fact, it’s even one of those fun activities to do even when it’s raining in Vancouver – it’s less busy in the rain and the forest is just as beautiful!
It’s pretty easy to get to the park by car or using public transportation, even if you are staying in the center of Vancouver. Being the most popular park in the area, it can get crowded during the summer, so you’ll have to arrive early if you want to find a parking spot. Avoiding the weekends isn’t a bad idea either.
2. Where is Lynn Canyon?
Lynn Canyon is located in North Vancouver on the east side of the Upper Lynn district. This area is most famous for its many hiking trails with multiple levels of difficulty and stunning forests.
Without traffic, you can get from the center of Vancouver to Lynn Canyon in 25 minutes (but you’ll take longer if there’s traffic). It’s only a 15-kilometer (9-mile) drive!
One of the best things about Vancouver is the fact that within half an hour, you can be deep into the wild, surrounded by nothing but beautiful forests and mountains. That’s something you can’t say about most major cities in the world.
3. How do you get to Lynn Canyon?
The easiest way to get to Lynn Canyon is by car, by either taking the Lions Gate Bridge or Iron Workers Bridge over the Indian Arm to North Vancouver. It’s a good idea to check each route on Google maps before heading out to see which way is quicker, depending on traffic.
Traffic during peak hours is SO bad and paid parking here fills up really fast (especially on weekends), so taking a combination of buses and ferries is becoming a more popular option.
To do so, you need to catch the SeaBus (ferry) from the Waterfront Station in Gastown. You can reach the SeaBus station pretty easily from most areas of Vancouver as buses from both the Canada Line and Expo Line stop there.
The SeaBus leaves every 10 minutes during peak times and about every 15-20 minutes during non-peak times. It’s $4.45 CAD for a ticket or grab a day pass (that’s good for all types of public transport for the day!) for $11 CAD.
Once you’re across the water at the Lonsdale Quay Bus Loop, simply take the #229 or #228 bus. Both will drop you at the Lynn Valley center. Once you’re dropped off, it’s only a 15-minute walk to Lynn Canyon.
Alternatively, you can take the Lynn Canyon photography tour that includes transportation and a professional guide to help you get those amazing pictures for your photo album. We rate this as one of the top tours in Vancouver because you get to venture out on trails that will take you through the forest to waterfalls, natural pools, and other hidden places you wouldn’t normally visit if you were on your own.
For $139 CAD, your professional guide will make sure you capture the incredible views and a photo shoot of the whole adventure is also included in the price. If you don’t own an SLR camera, the company can lend you one to make the best out of the experience.
The tour takes approximately 3 hours (it’s an easy hike), and it’s a fantastic way to get familiarized with Lynn Canyon if you’ve never been there. The guide will tell you all the dos and don’ts if you ever feel like going again on your own.
Related read: Before you catch the SeaBus from Gastown (or on your way back), stop at one of the best restaurants in Gastown for a meal!
4. Is there parking at Lynn Canyon?
Yes! There’s a large parking lot at Lynn Canyon, where the hourly rate is $3 CAD for a maximum of 4 hours. The paid parking is only in effect between March 1 and October 31. Outside of those months, parking is free.
Depending on your kind of visit, 4 hours should be more than enough to explore and enjoy the park. If you plan on hiking one of the longer trails, such as the Baden Powell Trail, you’ll need to park in the residential area further from the park. There are plenty of signs showing you where you can and cannot park.
You have to keep in mind that this is one of the main attractions in the area, so it gets quite full during the weekends and even more so during the summer in Vancouver.
The park opens early in the morning, but even if you arrive at 9 am, you might have some trouble finding a spot if you are visiting during the summer. This is the busiest time of the year, and even on the Lynn Canyon website, they advise on using public transportation. With that said, we recently visited in mid-August, and there was some parking in the middle of the day. We did visit on a Tuesday, though, so I’m sure on weekends, it would be a different story.
There’s a secondary parking lot on the east side of the park called the Lynn Canyon Park East Parking Lot. It’s located along Lillooet Road and very near to the Lower Seymour Conservation Reserve. This one is free and more frequently visited by locals. If that is full, you can also park at the Lillooet-Clearwells Trailhead Parking Lot.
5. When is Lynn Canyon open?
Lynn Canyon Park is open from 6 am to 10 pm in the summer months. However, the gates do not open until after 7 am and close at 9 pm.
During winter, Lynn Canyon closes at 6 pm, but they advise you to return before dark from your hike (in December, January, and February, it gets dark before 5:30 pm).
Lynn Canyon is open most of the year, they only close in the winter for brief periods due to heavy snow or treefall. This makes it a great option if you’re looking for fun things to do during winter in Vancouver.
The Lynn Canyon Ecology Center (more on that further on in this blog) is open daily from 10 am to 4 pm.
Related read: After Lynn Canyon closes for the day, head to the Richmond Night Market for a fun evening!
6. How much does it cost to go to Lynn Canyon?
One of the things that makes this park so popular is that there’s absolutely no charge to visit. It’s one of the best free things to do in Vancouver!
When the suspension bridge was built back in 1912 it actually cost 10 cents to cross, but it’s totally free now to enjoy the magnificent views and trails.
The entrance to the Lynn Canyon Ecology Center is also free, but they accept donations (the suggested donation is only $2 CAD per person).
If you choose to take public transportation, the SeaBus ride is $4.45 CAD each way or buses are about $3.10 CAD.
If you’re going to be taking multiple trips on the SkyTrain, SeaBus, and HandyDART in a day (like for this trip), I recommend grabbing a day pass that’s good for all of them for $11 CAD.
7. What are the rules for visiting Lynn Canyon?
Just like with any other park: no littering, no fires, and no alcohol. These three are a no-brainer.
However, these next rules you can’t forget: no cliff jumping, no swimming in unmarked areas, stay behind the fence, and if you bring your dog, make sure they are on a leash at all times.
The most important rule is trying not to disturb the ecosystem. This means leaving everything as you found it, do not pick up wild mushrooms, and be kind at all times to your surroundings.
8. Where is the Lynn Canyon Suspension Bridge?
The main parking lot and Lynn Canyon Ecology Center are very close to the bridge. It’s only a 1-minute walk passing the main building (where the cafe and bathrooms are located) and the trail to the left will take you to the famous Lynn Canyon Suspension Bridge.
Since this is the main attraction in the park and it’s quite near the entrance, you don’t need to plan for much of a hike if this is what you’re here to see.
However, you will have to plan for the crowds! We arrived right at 9 am and on our way out, there was literally a line to cross the suspension bridge. So come early if you can to beat the rush.
9. What is the Lynn Canyon Ecology Center?
The Lynn Canyon Ecology Center is a small museum operating since 1971, where you can learn about the history of the park, its flora, and its fauna.
There’s no entrance fee (only a suggested donation of $2 CAD) and there’s a cute little gift shop inside. The visiting hours are from 10 am to 4 pm daily.
At the museum, you can also get familiarized with the names of the most common trees and even learn how to spot them. From the famous maple trees to the huge Douglas fir trees (which can grow to over 70 meters or 250 feet), you will have a wide range of choices if you happen to be a tree hugger!
10. What facilities are at Lynn Canyon Park?
Besides the Ecology Center and its souvenir shop, there’s a cafe with private washrooms in the same building.
Other facilities include bathrooms, picnic tables, a water fill station, and informative boards all around. The parking lot is in perfect shape and the ranger station is inside the building.
11. What are the best places to visit at Lynn Canyon Park?
The suspension bridge on the Baden Powell Trail is the first thing you need to check out. It’s 50 meters (164 feet) high – picture as tall as a 15-story building!
The views from the top are truly amazing and make this one of the best places to visit during summer in Vancouver. It’s a really enjoyable experience as long as you aren’t scared of heights!
After this bridge, you will encounter the Twin Falls (it’s a short walk) and you can walk over them on a shorter, more sturdy bridge. Another great spot to take unbelievable pictures of a beautiful waterfall.
Following up that trail, you will eventually come across the 30 Foot Pool with a little pebble beach, perfect for picnics. This is the busiest place in the park during the summer.
At a different entrance to the park, there’s the Pipe Bridge with some phenomenal views too. You can’t go over the Pipe Bridge, but there’s one for pedestrians very near it.
All of these paths are very easy to follow and they are all connected and very well marked, so there’s no chance of getting lost.
12. Is Lynn Canyon suitable for families/children?
Lynn Canyon is 100% suitable for families with children. Just keep in mind that the trails, while very well maintained, are not made for strollers.
It’s a fantastic place for children to learn about nature and really connect with the outdoors. There are also comfortable picnic tables if you want a relaxing day with your family.
For a more adventurous group, there are plenty of places to sit for a while and enjoy the forest deep within the trails, just remember to bring your hiking shoes and enough water for everybody.
Since this is a forest, you may encounter a few animals during your hike including hawks, spotted owls, and deer. When we visited the museum we overheard a couple asking a staff member if there were bears in the area and the answer was “yes, there are bears in the canyon.” The employee then proceeded to explain that they weren’t aggressive and that they were simply drawn by the human food, but rarely came close to us humans.
13. Can you swim in Lynn Canyon?
If you ask someone at the Ecology Center or one of the rangers at the park, they will advise you not to swim in the canyon because of the strong currents present in most areas.
However, there are some swimming spots you can walk down to. These are marked and have stairs so you can get down without difficulty.
There’s a little beach area near the 30 Foot Pool where people love to bathe during the summer. The cold water is perfect for hot days and there’s plenty of shade to sit and relax.
Like most places in Lynn Canyon, these spots are not hard to find and most of them are nearby, including an unofficial beach area near Twin Falls.
14. Is the walk/hike in Lynn Canyon difficult?
Not at all. All the trails are very well maintained and even if you don’t have much hiking experience, you shouldn’t have any troubles. It’s one of the best easy hiking spots in Vancouver!
There are stairs on the steepest parts and maps well distributed around the park to make sure you always know where you are. On the same maps, you will easily find your way to the main attractions like bridges, waterfalls, and swimming spots.
If you arrive early enough, you can make a whole day out of it and take your time to walk through the different trails and go to the best viewpoints and take amazing pictures (the whole park looks like one of those mesmerizing wallpapers you find online!).
Most people spend just a couple of hours at the park and that’s plenty of time to see some popular spots near the entrance (including the famous Lynn Canyon Suspension Bridge).
Related read: If you’re up for more hiking, you’re in the right province! Some of the best places to visit in BC involve hikes through incredible landscapes.
15. Can you take a guided tour of Lynn Canyon?
Yes, there are guided tours you can take to visit Lynn Canyon. We already talked a little bit about the photography tour, but there are a few other options to check out if you want to go this route.
For an action-packed day, this biking and hiking tour starts with a hike through the Baden Powell Trail and its famous suspension bridge. This is the first stop of many to take beautiful pictures over the 6.5-hour tour.
The bike ride along the Trans Canada Trail starts at the Golden Ears Provincial Park and then to the Pinecone Burke Provincial Park. Bottled water and lunch are included along with the equipment (bike and helmet). It’s an incredible experience with an expert and passionate guide. The price is $150 CAD per person and also includes transportation from your hotel.
For the best tour to learn about the history of the park and its ecosystem, this nature walk at Lynn Canyon Park is the way to go. It’s a small group tour (which we love!) so you don’t feel lost in a crowd. It’s especially nice if you’re booking as a couple or family.
The tour starts at 8 a.m. and lasts for about 3 hours, leaving you lots of time for the afternoon and evening to plan other activities. The tour also includes coffee and transportation for the $135 CAD cost per person.
Where to Stay in Vancouver, Canada
Now that you know just how beautiful Lynn Canyon is, you’re going to need a place to stay. We recommend staying a few nights in Vancouver during your trip so you can explore the city – we’ve lived here for months at a time and never run out of things to do!
Vancouver is one of the most popular cities to visit in Canada. So that means accommodations book up super fast – especially in the summer. Make sure you book early to get the best rates and your pick of hotels.
Check out our complete guide on where to stay in Vancouver or grab a room at one of our favorite hotels and hostels in the city.
The Cambie Hostel Gastown – This budget hostel is an overall good budget choice. The location is in the heart of Gastown and close to lots of bars and restaurants and attached to the hostel is a very lively bar too. You’ll also be really close to catch the SeaBus to get to Lynn Canyon! It’s perfect for backpackers on a budget and is considerably cheaper than others offering comparable quality. Easily book a room on Hostelworld.com or Booking.com.
Times Square Suites – For a beautiful hotel close to Stanley Park you can’t go past the Times Square Hotel. It’s very hard to fault this hotel and the location is perfect. It is a good mix between being affordable as well as a very nice hotel.
Hyatt Regency Vancouver – For those wanting the perfect location halfway between Stanley Park and Gastown, the Hyatt Regency is a perfect choice. As you can imagine, it’s a luxury stay in a large hotel chain that is highly reviewed!
Click here to browse all hotels in Vancouver!
Other Things to do while you’re in Vancouver
Vancouver is a city filled with tons of things to do and see. So while you’re here, be sure not to miss some of the top attractions and activities:
- Whale Watching – Without a doubt, the most popular tour in Vancouver is whale watching. Set off from the city on a half-day of on the ocean looking for whales. If you’re lucky, you might even see Orcas (also known as Killer Whales.) This whale-watching tour is a ton of fun, and at only about $200 CAD it is good value too!
- Hiking – There are a ton of amazing hikes in and around Vancouver. Challenge yourself with the famous Grouse Grind or even drive towards Squamish and do The Chief.
- Ride in a Seaplane – One of our favorite memories in Vancouver was riding in a seaplane. Taking off and landing on the ocean is super exciting, and then the views from the air are breathtaking. This seaplane ride lasts for 20 minutes and costs $160 CAD. It departs and returns to Coal Harbour in downtown Vancouver. The best part is that seaplane tours in Vancouver operate all year round, so even if you’re visiting Vancouver in the winter you can take to the sky!
- Eat ALL the food! – Vancouver is a foodie destination. Showcasing cuisine from all around the world in top-rated restaurants, you really need to make an effort to eat out a few times while in Vancouver. For breakfast, Jam Cafe or Medina are our go-to’s. For Asian cuisine, you can’t pass up Minami for sushi or Danbo for Ramen. You can also join this highly-rated food tour that takes you to some of the city’s best restaurants in the area of Gastown.
- Explore Kitsilano – One of our favorite areas in all of Vancouver is Kitsilano. This suburb is super trendy and has many cute stores, cafes, and restaurants that are well worth checking out. On top of that, Kitsilano Beach is one of the best beaches in Vancouver and the perfect place to relax. It’s also our favorite place to watch the sunset.
Thanks for reading!
It’s easy to see why Lynn Canyon is one of our must-visits in Vancouver. The scenery is top-notch and the fact that it’s completely free means you can come more than once or easily bring the whole family.
While you’re planning your trip here, make sure to read our other West Coast blogs for more ideas and in-depth guides. You’ll find lots of tips to discover places in this beautiful part of Canada.
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