The Capilano Cliffwalk: Living the High Life

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Courtesy of Capilano Group

Cliff-hanger The Capilano Cliffwalk, which dangles 70 m over the river below, is not for the fainthearted

Think you have a head for heights? The Capilano Cliffwalk will make you think again. Opening on June 2, it's suspended 70 m over a rushing river with some sections projecting 9 m away from a mossy, fern-covered granite cliff.

Located in the forested hills just minutes from downtown Vancouver, the Capilano Suspension Bridge park already boasts the eponymous 137-m-long bridge. But after rappelling down the canyon one day, John Stibbard, third-generation park manager, found inspiration for a newer thrill. The Cliffwalk, a 230-m bridge suspended over the Capilano River, was born. After all, "people don't get to just stand on the edge of a cliff face," Stibbard says. They do at Capilano — at eye level with rock-clinging tree roots while gazing at bald eagles swooping below.

As you tentatively make your way along the 50-cm-wide bridge, between the treetops, slender sidings of stainless-steel mesh leave you feeling awfully exposed and force you to hang on a little tighter to everything you're carrying. So do the bobbing and swaying of the bridge itself. Then come two glass-bottomed decks — the second of which is not for the timid, being cantilevered into midair.

Dotted along the Cliffwalk are informative signs, explaining the importance of water, natural vegetation and salmon — which can be seen in the river below. These serve the function of educating visitors, but more importantly of distracting you from that awful sheer drop.

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