A Walk in the Trees

The well-secured Greenheart Canopy Walkway

Now is the perfect time of year to view the budding spring floral displays at the UBC Botanical Garden – from 65 feet up.

You and your family can get up into the trees by taking a 45-minute guided tour of the 308-metre Greenheart Canopy Walkway at the UBC Botanical Garden. The Walkway offers an experience unlike any other walk in the forest.

I have a fear of heights, and the thought of being that high up, walking on very bouncy, see-through metal bridges attached to large Douglas Firs, had me a little worried. However, the assurances of our young and enthusiastic guide won me over and, with eager and willing family in tow, we proceeded to ascend the gentle slope of the walkway.

Learning about the forest

As we rose above the ferns and small trees, the view of the forest was beautiful and illuminating.

Our guide pointed out many special forest features that you don’t notice or see from the ground, such as the special licorice ferns (so-called because they taste like it) that only grow midway up mature Fir trees. Or the bright, chartreuse green seed pods of maple trees that can be boiled to make a tea for drinking.

The bouncy nature of the metal walkway took some getting used to, and for my youngest child, it was a little bumpy for his taste. But with our guide’s encouragement and our group’s patience, he made it to the highest point of the tour, the 65-foot watchtower, where you can just peek through the canopy to catch a glimpse of the mouth of the Fraser River and Georgia Straight.

I think I can. I think I can. I know I can!

The Botanical Garden is beautiful at any time of year, but springtime is especially busy for nature, as it brings out all manner of forest creatures. Evidence of bird activity is audible, and signs of woodpeckers can be found at every dead tree trunk. Field mice, many species of birds and insects, and pollinating bees make for a forest alive with activity and new growth.

Unique flora at UBC Botanical Garden

Unique flora to admire at UBC Botanical Garden

The Garden has many pathways that allow visitors to walk through the Asian and Alpine gardens, as well as the second-growth forest. The trails are all wheelchair and stroller-friendly.

Note: The Canopy Walkway has a specially-designed, modified wheelchair that allows the physically-challenged to rise above the forest floor and experience the joy and sensation of being in the trees as well. (48 hours advanced notice is required.)

Have you had a chance to discover the quiet solitude of the UBC Botanical Garden, or bounced along the Walkway Tour?  I’d love to hear about your favorite things to see and do there.


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