Beneath the crystalline water of a lake lies this network of caverns where adventurous visitors can bravely go on long trips underground.
Unleash your adventurous side at Horne Lake Caves Provincial Park. This natural wonder combines a remarkable underground world with stunning aboveground scenery. Experience the park from both above and below in safe and fun activities that are suitable for the whole family.
Local residents and geologists have known about the existence of a few of the caves here since the early 20th century. It wasn’t until 1939, however, when two explorers discovered the full extent of the subterranean passages, which connect multiple caves to each other. Head underground in the park to explore the extensive network of caves.
Join one of the public expeditions into the 72 acres (29 hectares) of caves. For an easy option, participate in the daily walking tour of Riverbend Cave, which requires no training and can be visited without any assistance. Look for fossils embedded in the rock walls and marvel at the strange karst formations.
Try your hand at spelunking, the sport of exploring caves. Longer spelunking trips can take up to 5 hours and go deep into the heart of Vancouver Island. Clamber over cascading waterfalls and disappear into deep darkness. Wear warm clothes as the temperature drops significantly underground.
Back in the fresh air, enjoy more of the on-site activities. Kayak down the rushing waters of the Big Qualicum River or climb up a rock wall in the Horne Lake Caving Centre.
Learn about the geology of the area in the Cave and Karst Education Centre. The museum displays fossils found in the region and features a “cave theater,” where you can watch an interesting presentation about conservation.
Horne Lake Caves Provincial Park is about an hour away from Nanaimo and offers on-site parking. Come outside of summer to kayak along the river, as it dries up in the hottest months. The number of caves you can visit varies depending on the season and weather. Book underground tours in advance.