Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Capilano River Regional Park, December 2011.

Yesterday I needed to find a walk here in North Vancouver that was closeby and I could do a comfortable hour or so without taking up the whole day with a huge hike. Capilano River Regional Park seemed like a good choice as it was also close to shops I needed to get to afterwards.

Capilano River Regional Park is located just off Capilano Road about halfway between the tourist meccas of the Capilano Suspension Bridge and Grouse Mountain.  Therefore this park and the entrance around Cleveland Dam in particular see hoards of visitors as well as locals strolling and walking dogs.  This has eventually led to a few disputes between visitors and dog owners and ultimately to the city having to strike a balance between many people and many dogs.

Until September 2011 this park, like most other parks in British Columbia had been either ‘off-leash allowed’ or ‘officially on-leash but as long as your dog’s under control we’ll turn a blind eye’.  Generally this system seems to work and keeping most people with and without dogs fairly happy.  However in September the Metro Vancouver Parks Department instigated a new Dog Management Pilot Program in Capilano River Regional Park which resulted in typical British Columbia try-and-keep-everybody-happy fashion, in a convoluted and complicated mix of ‘on-leash’ trails, ‘off-leash’ trails,  ‘on-leash during the winter, no-dogs allowed during the summer’ trails and ‘on-leash allowed but not on the grass’ trails.  I was interested to see what if any impact it was having on the users of the park.  Mojo couldn’t care less, he just wanted a walk.

We park as usual at the Cleveland Dam entrance.  There’s some high cloud already approaching from the North West but we still get good views over Capilano Lake.


Goat and Grouse Mountain


The Lions


The skyride to Grouse Mountain will be packed with skiers and snowboarders on a sunny December day like this.


It was a beautiful crisp, cold sunny morning. The overnight temperature had been around –4 so we had to watch out for pockets of ice it was lovely crunching through the frozen fallen leaves.



I guess the parks department realised nobody would understand their new ‘dog management pilot program’ so they put up big and impossible to miss plain English signs at every turn.  Great that you understand, pity that it takes away from the natural forest canyon feel of the park having such a large number of shiny new signs everywhere.


IMG_6486 One of the trails we have taken previously in this park has become ‘on-leash in winter, no dogs allowed in summer’.  We still took this route and met just two other people – both with dogs – both without leashes.  Oh well, this is BC !  In all fairness, there wasn’t exactly anybody else around to complain.

IMG_6511 We pass some giant douglas fir trees, believed to be over 900 years old.  Wow, they’ve seen some changes in their lifetime.

IMG_6497 It’s impossible to photograph them in their entirety, even with the wide angle lens, because they’re so tall.  A quick view clip of the giant douglas fir trees and surrounding forest.

We reach the Capilano River as it snakes it way through the canyon. It is currently around noon but the sun is still so low this time of year much of the park remains in shade.

IMG_6502 Downstream past the waterfalls and salmon hatchery.


More views around the park as the skies continue to cloud up in readiness for a weather front passing over us as we type.

IMG_6507 After a great 1hr15 walk and good workout down into the canyon and back up the other side we return to the parking lot.  Here we have one Aussie + 1hr15 run + a healthy dose of mud & pine needles + a soaking of fresh river water = happy snoozy dog who will not even notice I’ve gone while I continue my errands and head home.


It appears during the winter the new restrictions for park usage are not too restrictive at all but during the summer they would be a little more so.  We usually avoid this park during the summer anyway because of the crowds but it’s good to see Mojo would still get a decent off-leash run here at that time if needed.

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