Situated in Vancouver’s forested North Shore, this hatchery was established in 1971 to help boost depleting salmon stocks in the Capilano River. As well as breeding and releasing steelhead, chinook, and coho salmon, the hatchery also serves an educational purpose, chronicling the life cycle of salmon in an on-site interpretive center.
Tours of Vancouver’s North Shore often combine a visit to the salmon hatchery with a trip to the nearby Capilano Suspension Bridge, a swaying crossing strung 230 feet (70 meters) above Capilano Canyon. Some full-day tours include a morning of city sightseeing, viewing key sights such as Stanley Park, Chinatown, and Granville Island, followed by an afternoon exploring the Capilano Suspension Bridge and the hatchery.
Inside the hatchery, visitors take a self-guided tour. Don’t miss the hatchery’s observation gallery, where—depending on the time of year—salmon may be seen climbing up the fish ladder.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Capilano Salmon Hatchery is a must for families and natural-history enthusiasts.
- Wear hiking boots so you can explore trails in the surrounding Capilano River Regional Park.
- The hatchery is wheelchair accessible.
How to Get There
Capilano Salmon Hatchery is in Capilano River Regional Park, about a 20-minute drive from downtown Vancouver. Take Capilano Road north past the suspension bridge, and turn left onto Capilano Park Road. Alternatively, take the SeaBus ferry to Lonsdale Quay in North Vancouver and connect to bus 236.
When to Get There
Though the hatchery is open year-round, the best time to go is during the salmon run, which typically takes place between September and November. During this time, adult salmon can often be observed fighting their way upstream.
Exploring Capilano River Regional Park
While you’re at the hatchery, set aside some time to explore Capilano River Regional Park. Farther upstream from the hatchery, you’ll find the Cleveland Dam, the source of a portion of Vancouver’s drinking water. The dam is also the starting point for several scenic hiking trails, including the 4.3-mile (7-kilometer) Capilano River Walk and the 1.8-mile (3-kilometer) Capilano Dam Loop.