Capilano Pacific Trail
Extreme rainfall events increase erosion and slope instability
Updated: December 2, 2021
The extreme rainfall events of November and December 2021 have resulted in increased hazards in this area. Additional slope movement and erosion in the fenced-off area have occurred, making this area even more susceptible to further slides.
For your own safety, it is essential not to go past the safety fencing meant to keep people out of the unstable area. In the event of an emergency situation, first responders will not be able to access this site. Please respect the safety fencing and stay away from this area.
Planning for a Trail Restoration Feasibility Study
Updated: September 14, 2021
A Trail Restoration Feasibility Study and Detailed Design are required before repair of Capilano Pacific Trail can be undertaken; however, there is currently no funding available in the 2021 budget for this unforeseen project.
Council has allocated $122,000 for the study from development cost charge funds, which can only be disbursed by way of a bylaw. Council adopted the bylaw on September 13, 2021.
Updated: March 29, 2021
The Capilano Pacific Trail is closed due to a landslide. Please use the detour.
The slope is still unstable and extremely hazardous. For your own safety, it is essential not to go past the safety fencing meant to keep people out of the unstable area. The trail has been completely obliterated in several sections and the unstable slope measures 30 metres across and 60 metres high. Entering this area is unsafe and it would be very challenging for first responders to attend if another slide were to occur.
A landslide occurred on January 6, 2021, on the Capilano Pacific Trail, near the Capilano Suspension Bridge, in the area of Moyne Drive. Late in the evening of January 12, another, smaller slide occurred in the same area. Fortunately, there were no injuries and no residential properties at risk.
The landslide caused the failure of a section of the trail and also put the sewer infrastructure underneath the trail at risk. The sewer pipe was exposed and left suspended in the air. District crews, working in safety harnesses on the unstable slope, secured the sewer line and were successful in preventing any spillage into Capilano River. A gravity sewer line has temporarily replaced the line damaged by the landslide.
Subsequent heavy rain and strong winds caused the second slide, resulting in further erosion and several trees were seen sliding down the slope towards the sewer line. Several hazardous trees had to be removed or topped to improve the safety of the site.
A smaller landslide occurred at the same location in December 2019, and the trail had been repaired. The cause of the landslide was determined not to be related to the recent repair but is part of a larger slope instability that is now taking place.
What the District is doing
Staff are monitoring the slope and working with geotechnical engineers to reduce the risk from further slides.
The priority is to permanently reinstate the sewer service. Staff are studying the feasibility and preliminary costing of the options, and it could be another six to 12 months before the newly configured sewer system is constructed. The new sewer system is not expected to go in the same area.
Trail users have expressed strong interest in expediting the repair to the trail. To date, the priority has been on securing the sewer service and at this point, the future of the trail is unknown.
Staff will begin preliminary work on the trail in the next few months, pending budget approval. This work will include slope hazard mapping in the area to help determine if a safe and viable trail could be reasonably reinstated. Beyond this, there needs to be detailed design and costing, and then exploration of funding sources. Staff anticipate this will take us into 2022 and very likely beyond.
At this point, people should not expect that reinstatement of the trail alignment as we previously knew it will be possible, although this depends on the investigative geotechnical work to take place.
Capilano Pacific Trail starts at the dog walk area of Ambleside Park and follows a path along the river until signs direct you up to Keith Road. From Keith Road, head east past Klee Wyck Park and then turn north on a roadway until you reach the forest. The trail used to continue on through the Capilano River Regional Park to the Fish Hatchery, Cleveland Dam and Capilano Lake, but that is no longer accessible from West Vancouver as a result of a landslide.
- Difficulty Level: Easy
- Distance: 15 km return not including detour
- Detour: 3 km
- Elevation gain: 236 metres
- Estimated completion time: 5 hours