Erik’s Famous Capilano Tour Part One: Cleveland Watershed

After spending my first day in Vancouver trying to acclimatise, I booked myself on a trip to the Capilano Suspension Bridge in North Vancouver for the following day.

It turned out that the bridge itself was merely a small part of the experience.

The mammoth tour was organised through the HI Downtown Hostel where I was staying and was run by a famous 71-year-old guide named Erik Graff.

Erik has built up a solid reputation in his 16 years as a stalwart volunteer for Hostelling International. He is pictured here with the group (I am the pasty looking one in the back with the striped top).

Credit: KT Au-Yang

His Capilano tour is well known for being brilliant and he has even recently won a prestigious Canadian tourism award for his efforts.

Before I had even arrived in Vancouver, somebody had advised me to “go on Erik’s tour”.

And my room mates in the hostel had already booked themselves on it – so with everybody seemingly assured that this was something not to miss I jumped right on the bandwagon.

I am so glad that I did. The day was absolutely amazing and was just what the I needed in order to kick-start my trip and inspire me.

After a long but interesting walk down to the sea terminal to catch a ferry over to North Vancouver, followed by a short bus ride, the first stop was jaw-dropping views over Capilano Watershed in Cleveland Park.

How gorgeous is this view? The scene reminded me of pictures I had seen of the Norwegian Fjords. This is one of three places where Vancouver gets its water supply from.

The mountains in the centre are known as The Lions.

Grouse Mountain – where you can complete a trek known as the Grouse Grind –  is to the right. Because of the heavy snowfall this year, the path has not yet re-opened. It usually opens in April.

I am planning on completing the Grouse Ground in July when my boyfriend Andy visits. Hopefully all of the walking I have been doing will prepare me for this climb.

Once everybody had spent a decent amout of time admiring the scenery and taking lots of photographs, we all took a short walk over to Cleveland Dam where a mighty mass of water could be seen and heard crashing down to the clear waters of the Capilano River.


I thought it looked like a really big water slide. As we crossed over it, there was a refreshing spray of water.

This is the first post in a four-part series about the trip. The next installment will be about the salmon run in Capilano River. The other two will cover the forest of Capilano Park, where productions such as The X-Files and Twilight were filmed, and the Capilano Suspension Bridge and tree-top walks.

Do you like the look of this location? Have you ever been on Erik’s Capilano trip?


  1. May 16, 2012 / 16:46

    Great post. I’m looking forward to reading the rest. And, i’m so glad you enjoyed it. It truely is a great day out.
    Michelle Blake recently posted..My aim and the results so farMy Profile

    • May 17, 2012 / 03:34

      Thank you so much for recommending the tour Michelle. It was absoutely amazing day and Erik is a legend!