The way Lynn Canyon Park is sold by a lot of travel sites, it’s a silent, off the beaten path, diamond in the rough kind of place. We call BS.
Lynn Canyon is busy. It has a nice spot on a lot of tour agendas, so tour buses of visitors roll into the little parking lot every 15-30 minutes. And local portrait photographers use it as a backdrop for their work – which isn’t really conducive to efficiency when you have crowds and crowds of people.
For all that, Lynn Canyon is also beautiful. For East Coasters like us, the ferns and moss and sky-brushing canopies are foreign and breathtaking. The suspension footbridges like this aren’t really something we’ve seen in Virginia either (though if they exist, please tell us in the comments, because we’d love to visit!).
We definitely recommend visiting this place – just make sure you’re smart about it, and know what you’re in for.
What to expect: Lynn Canyon Park
Things to note:
- Google lies about the opening time, guys. Get there as early as you possibly can, because…
- This place gets CROWDED. Despite what everyone says about this being “off the beaten track”, it’s really not. The tough part is that the bridge is a bottleneck, so anyone who wants their shot is going to jam up the whole bridge unless they wait for 20 minutes for a natural break in the crowds (like we did!).
- It’s really, really beautiful. The walk ways are beautifully maintained, and they’re all wooden and raised up, so you have very little opportunity to get muddy or gross, at least along the bottom of the trails. There are ferns, mossy fallen trees, and really unique and lovely forest scenery EVERYWHERE. It’s actually worth dealing with people for.
- Depending on the time of year you go, the cafe may be closed. This was a HUGE bummer for us, because it was early as hell, I was on the brink of getting a cold, and we hadn’t stopped for Starbucks on the way because we’d read about the cafe onsite. But the joke was on us – the cafe is open limited hours in fall and winter! Which meant we could see the coffee machine… but it was so… far… away.
Boyfriend Perspective: Don’t talk about the cafe, Meagan. It’s just too soon for me. Poll for the audience, how many of you have seen an IT guy in the morning without caffeine? Good, good, let the fear flow through you.
- The facilities are actually pretty nice. Unlike many of the hikes we’ve been on in the States, where you’re lucky to finding a composting outhouse (if that), Lynn Canyon has a set of pretty nice, public bathrooms onsite.
Walking the Lynn Canyon Suspension Bridge
If we’re real honest, it’s anticlimactic. And really, really wobbly, especially when people are trying to push/carry double-wide strollers across a single-wide bridge behind you. Good news, you can’t plummet to your death, even though your gut might tell you you can 😉 Also, you can technically run the last leg of the suspension bridge, and make those wobblers feel JUST AS WOBBLY as they made you feel. Not that we’re that petty. Right, Luke?
But in all seriousness, when we were out on the bridge in some of the quiet moments, it was actually worth it. You’re standing in between two canyon walls, essentially, and all you can hear are rustling trees and the waterfall just across from you. If you can’t hear any tour buses, it’s a wonderfully isolating moment. The views are a little clouded by tree leaves, and it’s just – nice.
Boyfriend Perspective: Insta lovers, if you need a fresh spot because you’ve run the “just out of bed” pic into the ground, you can join all the Van City Insta-goers at Lynn Canyon to wait your turn for this amazing shot of you on the suspension bridge. Totes worth it, just look at Meagan in her hat and flannel. SO CUTE!!
I can smell the sarcasm from this one, guys ^^ He’s just salty ’cause I made him wait for a shot 😉
Finding the 90 foot pool
The rest of Lynn Canyon Park is lovely, as well. Those raised wooden walkways make “hiking” through a breeze. There are a few places where the trail becomes actual trail, but even then it’s well-packed and easy to navigate.
Boyfriend Perspective: You could enjoy a very nice run with some headphones and get a bit lost in the greenery or grab some friends and ghille suits for extreme hide and seek.
There are plenty of signs to tell you where to go, and a lot of them point you towards the 60ft and 90ft pools. Well. Either we made a really wrong turn despite the copious signage, or the 60ft pool was kind of dried up and non-existent. It really just looked like we were staring at a somewhat shallow riverbed, and while it was pretty, we were both very confused.
So, we kept walking on to the 90 foot pool, which all that signage keeps mentioning has a LOT of deaths to its name. When we got to the area, there was another family, and a few couples gathered around, enjoying the morning or trying to get shots of the pool. This was pretty anticlimactic, as well, but we got a nice view of the pool’s lovely, crystal-clear water, and got to rock-hop out into the stream a bit for some fun photography of rock formations and such.
There are many more trails you can take through the park, but the crowds were already growing to a level we weren’t strictly comfortable with, so we decided to take off and get that much-needed caffeine hit.
Boyfriend Perspective: The pool area is really nice. Some people brought their dogs to play in the shallows, and this would be an awesome summer hangout spot with the pool to cool off in after you are done being a sun-dried tomato, assuming it’s not too crowded. Though, my gut says it’s always crowded, so who knows.