One of the things I was most excited about when planning my Pacific Northwest trip was the possibility to see the salmon run. Salmon have a remarkable story and they are essential to the food chain. Spoiler alert, I didn’t see the salmon in the wild in Vancouver – but I would a few weeks later in Washington State. However, I was able to learn a whole lot about the different kinds of salmon and their stages of life at the Capilano Salmon Hatchery [4500 Capilano Park Rd, North Vancouver, BC V7R 4L2, Canada], a really phenomenal free attraction.
PS: Don’t confuse this park with nearby Capilano Suspension Bridge Park, which is an unaffiliated paid attraction. I wasn’t kidding in my post about Whistler when I said BC loves suspension bridges, heck – it is the main attraction of a whole park! I decided to skip that popular paid bridge because there is a free one which was secluded and serene on a dreary damp morning – stay tuned to learn about Lynn Canyon.
Anyway! There are posters on how to identify different salmon, a rearing pond, tanks to see what juveniles look like,
and something really cool – a fish ladder! Here you get to see the salmon jump one way or another (note the splash! in the top right picture below).
When you are finished with the interpretation center make sure to hit the glorious trails! This was one of three hikes for the day, so we picked a few short trails to give a good feel for the park. The trails are really well maintained and there is excellent signage.
Our first hike was the Second Canyon Viewpoint Trail which took us to the Cleveland Dam spillway. When humans started damming up rivers serious environmental damages occurred because of the salmons key role to the natural world. What’s really interesting and relevant is that the hatchery was created to rear and release salmon below the dam.
Another great trail is the Coho Loop which gave impressive canyon views.
There was so much to see from the odd growth of the trees, climbing a bit of elevation allowed mountains to peak out behind the trees, and of course the lovely ever present Capilano River.
Oh, and there was plenty of other non-salmon wildlife.
This was a fun and informative addition to the day, just down the road from Grouse Grind!