Who Loves the Greenheart Canopy Walk?

Greenheart Canopy Walkway

What do you think when you hear “botanical garden”?  Rosebushes? Flowerbeds? Silver-haired seniors in loafers and khakis strolling by?

One thing you probably don’t think of is adrenalin-pumping attractions.  But, as strange as that may sound, that’s more or less what you’ll find at UBC Botanical Garden’s Greenheart Canopy Walkway.

Nestled deep within the beautiful but otherwise sedate garden on the western edge of UBC is an extensive network of wobbly suspension bridges, platforms and viewing towers suspended high above the forest floor.   The idea is that you ascend high into the trees and get a bird’s-eye view of a West Coast temperate rain forest.

greenheart canopy walkway

I checked out the Greenheart Canopy Walkway over the weekend.  My first surprise was that they let you climb on without any kind of guide or supervision (though guided tours are available, as well).  Considering that these bridges are hung up to 50-feet (five stories) above the ground, that ups the adventure factor quite a bit.

You enter through a wooden gate and ascend steeply along a wobbly ramp hung from wire cables.  The footpath itself is only about a foot or two wide and with each step the entire ramp sways first one direction then another.  If you don’t hold tight to the rope handrail, you’d easily lose your balance.

Greenheart Canopy Walk 2

Then you reach the first of a series of eight tree platforms, built midway up the trunk of the massive Douglas fir, western hemlock and red cedar trees growing in the park.  The tree-hugging platforms are themselves suspended from the trunks by cables, without using any invasive nails, screws or fasteners.

Another bridge leads to the next platform, then a longer bridge to a third platform.  Before you know it, you’re standing on a thin strand of metal, 50-feet above the ground, eye-level with squirrels, birds’ nests and the rich green canvas of the forest canopy.

In total, the canopy walk stretches more than 1,000 feet, with eight separate tree platforms and a free-standing tower that rises 70 feet.  It actually takes a good 20 minutes to navigate the whole thing.  By the end, you’ve finally got your sea legs and can skip across the suspension bridges pretty easily.  But at first, it’s a bit of an adventure.

The Greenheart Canopy is located within the UBC Botanical Garden.  It’s open 10a.m.-4 p.m. daily.  Adult tickets are $20 – not exactly cheap, but discounted tickets are available to teens, students and seniors.

Has anyone else experienced the Greenheart Canopy Walkway?  What did you think?

 

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