Caving 101

 In Blog

Vancouver Island offers an infinite array of “bucket list” activities: surfing, bungee jumping, sky-diving, whale watching, the list goes on. The island also offers quite a few activities that most people wouldn’t ever even think to put on their bucket list – such as caving.

Tucked away inland near Qualicum Bay is Horne Lake, and on it reside Horne Lake Caves, a natural phenomena boasting a labyrinth of caves that beg exploration.  Leery about getting lost? Don’t fret! Horne Lake Caves staffs a plethora of experienced individuals who conduct a multitude of tours through the caves to ensure each caver has a safe yet incredible experience.

Many of the tours are season-dependent and offered mainly in the spring and summer, but off-season cave tours are available, and range in difficulty.

The Main Cave Experience is available all year long and is the perfect introduction to the caving underworld for first-timers. The tour is only an hour long, but challenges participants with tight spaces, ladders, and climbs. The tour culminates with Canada’s only Cave Slide for a perfect end to a bucket list-worthy adventure.

For the brave at heart, Horne Lake Cave’s Wet and Wild Cave Adventure runs from the beginning of October to the end of April and highlights the flow of water that carves the tunnels that lead to crystal-filled caverns. Participants should expect to get wet as they follow underground waterways and even climb a subterranean waterfall!

For those looking for a more private experience, certain portions of Horne Lake Caves are open for self-exploration all year long from 10am to 4pm. All guideless explorers are highly encouraged to wear helmets and carry at least two sources of light. Sturdy footwear and warm layered clothing are also recommended.

For visitors who would rather stay above ground, the area offers a phenomenal alternative to exploring Horne Lake’s subterranean playground. Phil Whitfield’s Fossil Geology Trail is a loop trail that winds through the island’s coastal rainforest in exploration of unique geological features specific to the area. The features have been marked and are accompanied by informational signs. The informational trail takes hikers on a journey that illustrates how marine fossils, river, and volcanic activity carved Horne Lake Caves and Provincial Park into the wonder it is today.

The park also has multiple activities and programs for those with an insatiable desire to learn more. The site has a Cave Theatre and Museum display to educate cavers and non-cavers alike on their surroundings, and for more in-depth group experiences, Horne Lake Caves books both single day and multi-day group tours for schools, corporate retreats, and more!

Sounds like fun?! Reserve your accommodations and let us help you plan your caving getaway.