I’m so pleased to begin a series of 100 Mile (160 km) Day Trips for Vancouver Mom. There is so much to see and do in and around Metro Vancouver within a 100 Mile radius. (Credit to Alisa Smith and J.B. MacKinnon for inspiring the title via their excellent 2007 book, 100 Mile Diet.) I hope that these destinations and ideas will inspire your next family day trip, and put those cries of “I’m so bored” to an end.
Touring Lynn Canyon Park
Lynn Canyon Park in North Vancouver offers easy and accessible access to over 600 acres of forest. Just 20 minutes from downtown Vancouver, Lynn Canyon has a suspension bridge, water holes, an Ecology Centre, and walking trails galore, including a portion of the Baden Powell Trail. The park is free to the public, including access to the suspension bridge. Pack a picnic, and set out for a day’s exploration of this north shore natural gem.
Begin your visit at the Ecology Centre at the park entrance. The centre has offered historical interpretation and educational programming since 1971. The historical exhibit showcases the human settlement of Lynn Valley, and the animal and natural ecosystem galleries highlight the amazing natural world on the north shore. The centre runs a wide variety of day camps for kids of all ages, with programs featuring art, science and natural discovery. It’s open throughout the year, though hours vary. From June to September, the centre is open from 10:00am to 5:00pm, with free entrance (though donations are happily accepted).
Are You Brave Enough to Cross the Bridge?
The Lynn Canyon Suspension Bridge is not far from the Ecology Centre and the park entrance. You may need to summon your courage to cross this 50-metre high, narrow, and somewhat bouncy bridge over the raging waters below, but the views are worth it. Best of all, it’s free of charge, and the best rush you’ll get all day.
Don’t worry if you or the little ones can’t manage to cross the bridge. You can still access a hiking trail before the bridge entrance. Climb down some wooden steps and enjoy a lovely, forested walk along the river on the west side. You can clamber over the rocks and find a nice spot for your picnic by the river, or head north towards the Pipeline Bridge (no scary swaying here) to access the east shore of the river and the 30 Foot Pool. This is also a popular area for picnics and a dip in the cool water. If you choose to continue south along the east side of the river, you can hike past the Suspension Bridge to the beautiful Twin Falls Bridge for a quiet spot to enjoy this magnificent view. This bridge will loop around to the Entrance, where you can end your visit with a cold drink or gelato at the cafe.
Directions: Lynn Canyon Park is accessible via car or bus. There is a large parking lot for cars at the entrance to the park, though it fills quickly in the busy summer months. The Park is pet-friendly for on-leash, four legged friends.
Photo Credits (featured image and creek in shade): C. Laroye